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November 4, 2008
The India opener Gautam Gambhir, who has appealed his one-Test ban for elbowing Shane Watson, is regularly on the lookout for a confrontation when he is batting, according to Australia's Michael Hussey. Gambhir, who is the leading run-scorer in the series with 463, was punished for his run-in with Watson on the opening day of the third Test in Delhi and also argued heatedly with Simon Katich.
"He looks around for it [chat], to be honest," Hussey said. "It hasn't been a plan of ours to go at him and talk or whatever ... but I must admit he does go around the field looking to engage certain players and looking to get involved and that sort of thing.
"So maybe that is part of his character, looking for a clash to try to pump himself up a bit more. He's always looking to engage, not so much 'g'day how are you going', but an intense look. It's quite funny really."
Hussey said Gambhir reminded him of Justin Langer because he was a "small and punchy little character". "He's a very good player and probably someone who has exceeded our expectations about how well he has played," he said. "We're sort of hoping he'll miss the last Test but I think he'll still play pending his appeal." The South Africa judge Albie Sachs has been appointed to handle Gambhir's case.
India lead the series 1-0 and Hussey has noticed extra confidence in the home side, which has not been afraid to have a dig at the visitors in the three Tests thus far. In Bangalore, Zaheer Khan called the Australians defensive, an accusation supported by VVS Laxman over the past week, while Gambhir successfully stirred his opponents, even before the elbow incident.
"They have got a team that's very, very experienced, a lot of seasoned, hardened international players and they know their games very well," Hussey said. "They are quite confident about their games and perhaps in our team we haven't got the 80-90-100-Test players they have. So they probably see themselves as a bit superior in the experience stakes and maybe aren't scared of giving a little bit back."
Hussey was pleased Australia's younger players had not been intimidated. "The good thing I have seen is the guys who have only played 15 to 20 Tests or less haven't backed down from that," he said. "They haven't just taken it on the chin, they've been willing to bite back. We don't want to go over the top, but if a guy is going to needle you you're not going to back away from it."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi