Bangalore: Having already clinched the series with an unassailable 3-0 lead, stand-in captain Gautam Gambhir is eyeing a clean sweep as India take on New Zealand in the fourth ODI in Bangalore on Tuesday.
“Our target is to win all five games. The team that plays better cricket in the 100 overs will win. We are looking forward towards performing well and hopefully we will keep the momentum going. We need to maintain the same intensity with which we played the earlier three matches,” Gambhir told the reporters on the eve of the penultimate one-dayer.
Gambhir however refused to divulge about the playing XI and said that he would take a call after consultation with the coach.
The Delhi lad praised his teammates and said that at this point of time there aren’t any such area where improvement is needed.
“We are always tested in international cricket. It is not that we have not got runs at the top of the order. But I must say that the bowlers have done well in all the matches where conditions were different. Be it the flat tracks in Jaipur or the seaming wicket in Vadodara, they have done well for us, Bowlers deserve the maximum credit for us winning the series,” the skipper said.
“In the next two outings, all we need to do is to play to our potential. We should stick to our strengths and hopefully we will win,” he said.
Gambhir also ruled out any chance of complacency and stressed on the fact they needed to field their best side in order to win.
“It is a young side and we have some experienced players in the squad too. It is an international game and we need to field a best team. It is not like that we have won the series and we will be taking things lightly,” he sounded cautious.
“The good thing is that we don’t take any game lightly. In the due course, if youngsters get an opportunity, I think they need to grab it. Right now, we would like to field the best amongst the available lot for the match.”
When asked whether team’s bowling in the slog over is a concern, the southpaw said, “It is difficult for bowlers to contain with the old ball and it applies more so in third Powerplay as well. It is always difficult for bowlers in such situations in one-day games.”
Although it is a known fact that some of the juniors will have to again warm the benches when the senniors like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina come back, Gambhir feels that everyone should get enough opportunities to prove their worth at the international level.
“They have done it in the past and I think they should get enough opportunity to express themselves in international cricket. For example, if you see Ravindra Jadeja or Yusuf Pathan have not got enough opportunities with the bat.”
“Pathan had batted in the last 10 overs only. He has not got enough chance to take on the bowlers. We can still think of giving them the opportunity by putting them in early so that they can use those chances to their advantage.”
“If you have watched the first game, you will find that Yusuf batted with tail-enders. He was in a situation that he had to go after each and every delivery.”
He said, “I may just ensure that Yusuf gets to bat with the top-order so that he can play enough deliveries and use his destructive batsmanship to good effect.”
The skipper termed the Baroda batsman as a match-winner.
“He is a match winner. I would personally see what’s the situation in our tie tomorrow. The top four have really done well and I do not think, Pathan could be brought up in that order. If the situation arises, we might promote him at number five.”
When the skipper was asked about his splendid return to form with back-to-back centuries, he replied, “I think I had always been saying that the “Captain is as good as the team.”
“I have got such quality in the side that I do not need to do much. Bowlers like Zaheer, Ashish and Munaf have played enough international matches and Yuvraj has been of great help to me in the middle. If I need to take any suggestions, I know that there is someone to whom I can walk up to.”
“I have enough players in the side to deliver for me and I must say that I am lucky as to having such a great bunch of guys and I always believed that the Captain is as good as his team. It’s not the captain only who wins you a game but the team effort is the main reason.
“I have enjoyed captaincy. It is a responsibility and to live to the best of my ability and hopefully I can continue in the next two games.”