Gambhir fit for England, ready with a batting plan

Published: Thursday, June 30, 2011, 16:18 [IST]
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Gambhir was still fuming about the furore his IPL stint created after it came to light that he was carrying a shoulder injury while captaining the Kolkata Knight Riders before their eliminator match against Mumbai Indians.

The injury, which Gambhir picked up during the World Cup, eventually ruled him out of the ongoing series against the West Indies, where he was initially chosen to lead the side in the ODIs after Dhoni took a break.

Asked whether he could have avoided the controversy by opting out of IPL after first experiencing discomfort in his shoulder, Gambhir said, "I think the whole episode was a bit unnecessary, just a ploy to sell news. The most unfortunate part was that it somewhat took the limelight away from the good work done by Kolkata Knight Riders."

"I feel sad for guys like Iqbal Abdullah, Manoj Tiwary, Shaqib-Al Hasan, Rajat Bhatia and many more who had done so well in IPL but because of this unwanted controversy the focus shifted somewhat. Look, I have always been committed to the team that I represent, that's my upbringing.

"My family values have taught me to be committed and that's what I do for a club team, state team, country or a franchisee. I know how hard I have worked for my India cap and what it means to me. I can't deride the honour of playing for India," he asserted.

But his focus is completely on England, where India is scheduled to play four Tests and five ODIs, and Gambhir said Andrew Strauss' men are the team to beat right now.

"Well, let me get picked first. If I am, like always I'd put my heart and soul into the effort to get my team to a good start. I think England is the team to beat besides South Africa at the moment. They have their tails up boasting a world class bowling attack which has really tall fast bowlers and a spinner who is pretty good as well," he said.


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