The next one year will be crucial for the Indian side: Gautam Gambhir

"Even if they lose the series, Kohli will certainly not be the first captain to lose in those tough conditions," quoted Gambhir.

Gautam Gambhir |
Gautam Gambhir. (Photo by Gurinder Osan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Veteran Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir feels that it is high time for the Indian team to start excelling in the overseas conditions. Over the last couple of seasons, team India has played bulk of their cricket in the home conditions. They have attained supremacy across the three formats of the game. However, Gambhir noted that the real challenge will be the coming season.

Team India is lined up to play in overseas conditions of South Africa, England, and Australia. Gautam Gambhir feels that the upcoming tour of South Africa will be the biggest challenge for the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli. He remarked that many captains have won matches at home. But if a captain succeeds in winning overseas, then he gets in to a whole new bracket.


“In the past two and a half years, Team India has done well, though the biggest challenge will arise when they travel to South Africa, England and Australia. The next one year will be crucial for the Indian side. The progress has been evident in the home season, but they have to perform the same outside as well. Every Indian captain and player will do well at home; the biggest challenge is to perform well away. Now it’s time to deliver and the players have the experience to face the South African team. It’s more about the results than the process,” quoted Gautam Gambhir.

On aggressive mindset

As per the quotes in India TV, Gautam Gambhir further stressed on the importance of having an attacking mindset. He pointed out that no team can succeed if they have the fear of losing. Hence, Kohli’s men should enter the tour being fearless. Even if they lose the series, Kohli will certainly not be the first captain to lose in those tough conditions. He added that he is sure Kohli rightly knows this fact and hence, this tour would be remarkable for his team.

“The players should go with the mindset that they can win the series. If you enter with a scared attitude, then you’ll end up playing safe cricket and that will not hand you a win. If you’re scared of losing, then you will never win.  Even if we lose it wouldn’t be that Kohli will be the first captain to lose in SA, many others have lost. By playing safe cricket, one would never win but by going in with an attacking mindset will offer you results,” said Gambhir.

“Sometimes, a defensive mindset can result into a negative outcome, but aggressiveness can win you matches away from home. I am sure that Kohli knows how an aggressive mindset can help in the series. Taking four batsmen, one all-rounder and four bowlers can contribute to an attacking and aggressive mindset that can help you take 20 wickets,” he added further.

On team combinations

Elucidating his points further, Gautam Gambhir mentioned that the teams should show their aggressive intent with the team combinations. Having an extra bowler in the side will reflect the positive intent of the team. He feels India should field two all-rounders – Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja – in their playing eleven.

Commenting on the opening slots, Gambhir feels that Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan are best suited to open in the series. Both players are richly experienced and hence, they should get the top priority in the team combinations for the first Test.

“Sometimes, the wickets are flat. You may have to go with three seamers and two spinners. Even Jadeja is an all-rounder other than Hardik Pandya. They have to take a gamble by playing five bowlers who can bowl 15 overs a day. And even if we drop a batsman out, it’s important to go in with an attacking mindset before playing six batsmen and four bowlers,” Gautam Gambhir noted.

“The pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay will be good to open with. Dhawan has the experience of playing in the South African conditions. You must start with experienced players who are in a good form at the moment,” he suggested further.

On his personal form

Commenting on his own form in domestic circuit, Gambhir oozed satisfaction. He has mustered 632 runs in this season and has been instrumental in taking Delhi to the finals of the Ranji Trophy. He, however, added that all of this would be in vain if he fails to take Delhi over the line in the final game against Vidarbha.

“My performance has been satisfactory, when you get to score plus 600 runs, its satisfactory. But I don’t think it will be of any use unless you can win the matches in the finals. As a sportsman, it’s of no use unless those runs win you matches. The satisfying moment is that those runs have helped us reaching the Ranji Trophy finals,” Gambhir conceded.