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'Gambhir needs one good knock to get his confidence back'

February 15, 2013 19:44 IST

Senior batsman Gautam Gambhir was dropped for first two Tests against Australia after a spate of low scores and India A coach Lalchand Rajput believes one good knock will do the left-hander's confidence a world of good.

Sidelined from the senior team, Gambhir will lead the India A side in the three-day warm-up match against Australia, starting in Chennai on Saturday, and Rajput hopes the Delhi batsman will grab the opportunity with both hands.

- No sympathies, time to show some steel: Gambhir

"These are good players who have performed well at that level. It's only a question of one good knock. Yes, when you don't score runs, people write that you are not getting runs, but the same Gautam has got so many runs in the past," he said.

"It's just a matter of getting there and spending more time in the middle and utilising the opportunity. Once he spends more time, everything will fall in place. Gautam knows this and he is very keen and looking forward to this game."

Asked if keeping a relaxed mind would be of any help to Gambhir, Rajput responded in positive.

Gautam Gambhir"Every individual has to relax before a big game, that's the key if you want to perform well. He is relaxed, but if you don't get runs, you start to worry about why you are not getting runs. That is the area where he has to relax and play the game," he said.

"He has performed well earlier so I don't see why he can't do it again. Just a question of getting there, spending more time in the middle; the more time he spends in the middle, the more his shots will automatically come."

Rajput suggested that the Delhi batsman should play close to his body in Test matches.

"He was playing One-Day games the past few days, so he had to change his game a wee bit. In the longer version, he knows he has been getting out in those areas and is definitely looking forward to curb those shots. In the longer version, he must play close to the body.

"I know him since 2007. He must be looking at this game as a very important one for him. He won't put pressure on himself because he has been in this situation earlier as well. It's a good game for him," Rajput said.

The India A coach said his team would look to make things difficult for Australia and try to dent their confidence ahead of the upcoming Test series.

"It's very important that India A puts a lot of pressure on the Australians. We have done it earlier also, when we played against England in a One-Day game. It's also up to the players to look into that aspect and put pressure on the Australians," Rajput said.

"Even if you look at when Steve Waugh had come, Mumbai played the first game and we beat them in three days. That put pressure on them and forced them to think about how they should plan for the Tests. So that's something we are looking at - to put pressure on them and make it easier for the Indian team," he added.

Rajput also spoke about the young prospects in his team and said the warm-up game is important for them as well.

"Jiwanjot (Singh of Punjab) has played well this season as an opener. He plays close to the body and is a good player. We'll see how quickly he adjusts to the pace because from Ranji to international level, there's a bit of extra pace.

"It's an important game for most of the guys, like Manoj Tiwary, R Vinay Kumar, and Rohit Sharma. Everyone knows that good performances against touring teams really get them high up in the order," he said.

About the perception that the current Australian side is not as strong as the ones in the past, Rajput refused to buy the line of thought.
"No team when they come to India is weak. At that level, they are all very strong. It's more important to see how much effort they put in the practice games. If you look at their players, they have done very well at that level. It's crucial to see how quickly they can adjust to the Indian conditions.

"Their pacers -– (Moises) Henriques and (James) Pattinson -– bowled well in the (first) practice game on the slow wicket. It all depends on how they can take it forward," he said.

"In a Test match, it's a different ball game. It gets the best out of the players. So it's important if the players raise their game in the Test matches."

Rajput said a couple of players are yet to join the squad.

"Two players are still to arrive because they were playing a One-Day game -– Ashok Menaria and Jalaj Saxena -– in Indore. There's no direct flight, so they will arrive now. Rohit [Sharma] is here, but he has an upset stomach but should be okay for the game."

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