Indian Premier League 2013 March 29, 2013

Gambhir ready for title defence

ESPNcricinfo staff

Gautam Gambhir has said that he should be fit in time to play the first match of the Indian Premier League against Delhi Daredevils on April 3. Gambhir, who was dropped from the Test squad against Australia for the first two Tests and then missed out due to a bout of jaundice, had resumed training and was keen on getting back into the groove.

"I started out slowly as I hadn't played for 10 days, and the fatigue is still there," he said in an interview to the Hindustan Times. "But I should be available for the first match (April 3). We have a long break after that, which should give me enough time to recuperate."

Gambir, who captained Kolkata Knight Riders to their first IPL title last year and was the second-highest run-getter in the season, said that he didn't regret not being part of the side that beat Australia by a historic margin of 4-0. "Playing for India is my biggest motivation, but not the only one," he said. "As a sportsperson, I want to keep performing. I hadn't played for Delhi in a long time, so it felt great to be back. That we won the Vijay Hazare Trophy after 17-18 years made it doubly special. I just want to make runs that help my team win. I don't want to complicate things. I want to keep my cricket and my life simple by scoring runs."

His lack of match practice going into the IPL, however, isn't a cause for concern. KKR coach Trevor Bayliss said that Gambhir and Jacques Kallis were players who would prove their experience once the competition begins. "At the same time, we have a squad with highly effective players in the middle order, who can handle the responsibility they have been entrusted with," Bayliss added.

Bayliss also admitted there would be pressure on KKR in the tournament as they seek to defend their title. "In a way, our achievements last season do bring in a bit of extra pressure," Bayliss said in an interview to the Telegraph. "But at the end of the day, it's a good feeling to start a competition as the defending champions. We need to carry on with the momentum we had gained last year."

England batsman Eoin Morgan, Lakshmipathy Balaji and left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla joined the team in Kolkata on Thursday.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lotus on March 31, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    Gambhir still has a few good years left. He should improve his physical strength by muscle building. Otherwise he will always be caught at long-on or long-off.

  • mohammad on March 31, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    KKR, if you want to defend your title, drop Kallis and pick Tendo, that's how you can save the 30-40 deliveries Kallis waste in every match.

  • Dummy4 on March 31, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    Without SHAKIB, Its realy too hard to KKR defence the trophy...he is true allrounder in every format..but he more suite player in t20...last two times BPL man of the series.....this year he also signing for English club Liecestershire CC....J.Kallis more suite for ODI and TEST format....NARINE not good enough now as he showed last IPL...Lots depends on GAMBHIR, TENDO(if they use him), and BALAJI.........PATHAN should come with his natural instincts

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    Ipl always gives every indian player to get away from mates and achieve some game winning runs on there own.

  • Dummy4 on March 30, 2013, 19:14 GMT

    Whao!! Mr. Gautam. I am very pleased to see your commitment for India. You do not regret on missing as a member of Team India, infact you love to play for Delhi. Ok fine then, please keep on playing for Delhi only. We are also happy to see you out of the Indian team.

  • Cricket on March 30, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    Surprise, Surprise! Mr Gautam Gambhir always recovers in time to play for IPL. If I remember correctly last year he was not available for team due to some shoulder issue but recovered in time to manage lead the KKR team. This time around he was suffering from jaundice, and was supposed to be out for 4 weeks, was not available to join the Indian team for the 4th test (due to Shikhar Dhawan's injury) and now again he is available to play for IPL.

  • Ankul Prakash on March 30, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    Gauti ,your presence is an asset for the kkr.take some good decisions and make kkr win the title again.

  • Arijit on March 30, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    Tendo and Morgan should be used more often this time around. Will be interesting to see how Kolkata fares without Shakib for the first half of the season. But we certainly have it in us to win another title. GO KKR !!!!!

  • Dummy4 on March 29, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    Sunil Narine is the key and will lead KKR to another title

  • Dummy4 on March 29, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    My Eleven for KKR(I know this line up is 1 bowler too many but kkr doesnt have any good batsman in middle order to be included) gambhir kallis mcculum/morgan yusuf tiwary Tendescate/Mcclaren bisla/das bhatia/shukla narine balagi abdulla/shami ahmed(depending on track spin or pace)

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