India news June 30, 2011

Gambhir says he's fit for England tour

ESPNcricinfo staff

Gautam Gambhir, the India opener, has said he is fit for the upcoming tour of England. He was ruled out of India's ongoing tour of the West Indies after aggravating a shoulder injury that he sustained during the World Cup final.

"I am back at my full fitness and feeling fresh both physically and mentally," Gambhir told PTI. "The pain that I had in my shoulder is gone."

Gambhir captained Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, held immediately after the World Cup, and had rubbished claims that he covered up the injury to play in the tournament. He was advised four to six weeks' rest by Andrew Leipus, the Kolkata Knight Riders trainer, which led him to miss the Caribbean tour.

He recently spent a week at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, where he was monitored by physio Nitin Patel.

"Before returning from Bangalore I batted in the nets against the likes of Sreesanth and I didn't feel any discomfort," he said on his return to Delhi. "I will resume practice in a day or two."

If selected for the tour of England it will be Gambhir's first Test series in the country. Looking ahead to the tour, Gambhir said he had been working on tightening his technique to counter the swing and seam that India are likely to face during the series. "I think it begins with mental adjustment," he said. "One has to see the ball early and play it late. For some time now I'm not playing on the rise. At the top level one has to tighten up his game and I have done that.

"In England, you can't drive on the up till you are very sure. There are other strokes one should avoid. I'll do the rest when I reach there."

Gambhir, who has played 38 Tests averaging 51.33, warned against taking England lightly. "I think England are the team to beat besides South Africa at the moment. They have their tails up and boast a world-class attack, which has really tall fast bowlers and a spinner who is pretty good as well."

India's team for the Test series in England will be picked on July 2.