India news January 5, 2014

I insisted on playing on green tops - Gambhir

ESPNcricinfo staff

Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir has said he insisted that his team play their home Ranji Trophy fixtures on green pitches at the Roshanara Club, though playing on flatter tracks might have made it easier for him to score runs in a bid for an India comeback.

"I have never played cricket for selfish reasons like scoring 800-900 runs on flat tracks to make a comeback," Gambhir told PTI. "Delhi team needed outright wins and I insisted on playing on green tops at the Roshanara rather than on a flat track. Had I played on a flat track, I could have got close to 900 runs."

Delhi's strategy of playing at the Roshanara brought them their only two outright wins of the season, and helped them move up to second on the table. They lost their next match at the venue to Punjab, though, despite bowling them out for 74 on the first morning. Delhi eventually failed to qualify for the knockouts, finishing fifth in Group A.

Gambhir made 578 runs in seven matches at 48.16, with one hundred and three half-centuries. He didn't find a place in India's squad to South Africa or in the squad that will travel to New Zealand later this month for five ODIs and two Tests.

"It's a reality that I am not in the team to New Zealand," Gambhir said. "I wish all the 16-17 guys best of luck for the tour. As I have maintained, I don't play for comebacks, I play the game because I still have that hunger to perform. I want to be part of the team that wins a Test series in England and Australia. This is what drives me on, as in my 54 Tests we only won a series in New Zealand and drew in South Africa.

"Frankly, I don't know whether I am 1, 2, 3 or last," Gambhir said, when asked about where he thought he stood in the pecking order among present Indian openers. "I know that my job is to score runs and I will continue to do that."