Gambhir says get off Laxman’s back
India opener Gautam Gambhir says the players have let the nation down with their performances in Australia, however critics need to get off VVS Laxman’s back.
Gambhir says India’s specialist batsmen need to accept the blame for the touring team’s defeats in the first three matches of the four-Test series.
“Why criticise one person? He (Laxman) has been a legend of the game,” Gambhir said on Tuesday.
“The top six or the top seven should be criticised equally. We have failed as a unit.
“The top seven, everyone has got a half-century but they’re not able to convert it into a big hundred.
“So why only about VVS Laxman?
“There should not be anyone (else) who should be deciding about his retirement. It should be him.
“The entire team is behind and we will always support him.
“Whether it’s media or whether it’s people back home or whether it be ex-cricketers, no one has any right to force anyone to take retirement. It should be his personal decision.
“He plays one good innings, he’ll be batting with confidence.”
Rohit Sharma is pushing for a debut in Adelaide on January 24 at Laxman’s expense, although skipper MS Dhoni and chairman of selectors Kris Srikkanth have indicated the time for generational change is not mid-series.
Dhoni will miss the Test through suspension following his side’s slow over-rate in Perth. Gambhir confirmed vice-captain Virender Sehwag would lead the side.
Gambhir also said reserve wicketkeeper/batsman Wriddhiman Saha, who has played one Test, will replace Dhoni.
Gambhir was also forced to explain his own form after failing to score a century in the past two years.
The opener’s average has dropped from 57.50 in January 2010 to 45.93 after scoring 144 runs at 24.00 in the series in Australia.
“There has been a lot of people saying that,” Gambhir said.
“If I read everything, I don’t think that’s a great thing.
“Today if I scored a hundred and I have four or five low scores, I won’t be satisfied.
“If I score consistently and give good starts to the team, that’s what matters.”
Sehwag and Gambhir have failed to post an opening stand of 25 so far in the series.
No.2-ranked India’s 3-0 deficit in Australia follows a 4-0 thumping in England last year, forming a pattern of poor performances away from home.
“Whatever backlash is happening in India, we have to accept it,” Gambhir said.
“There was a lot of expectations from us that we should have done well with the kind of batting we have. We have let the entire nation down.”
Despite criticism from ex-skipper Sunil Gavaskar that a losing team needs to work even harder in the nets, India’s players will travel to Adelaide on Wednesday and not resume training until Saturday.© AAP 2013
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