India in New Zealand 2008-09 April 1, 2009

Gambhir has come of age - Srikkanth

Cricinfo staff
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Gautam Gambhir's match-saving 137 in the second Test against New Zealand in Napier has impressed Kris Srikkanth, India's chairman of selectors. Srikkanth said Gambhir showed tremendous patience and maturity in playing according to the situation after India were asked to follow on.

A naturally aggressive player, Gambhir focused on occupying the crease and his innings spanned 643 minutes and 436 deliveries. Srikkanth reflected on the progress Gambhir made since establishing his place in the side.

"Gautam has come of age. He has now become a complete batsman," Srikkanth told the Indian Express. "For the last couple of years he has been pretty consistent. But this Test saw him raise his game several notches.

"I don't think he has made any technical adjustments. But now he watches the ball more closely and till the end. He has tightened his off-side game, especially leaving deliveries outside the off stump. His judgement as far as the corridor of uncertainty goes is a lot better."

Gambhir was the world's leading ODI run-scorer in 2008 with 1119 at 46.62. His form in Tests was just as good, finishing fifth in the run charts with 1134 runs at 70.87. He was also the second-highest run-getter in the IPL with 534 runs at 41.07, rounding off an exemplary year in all three formats.

Srikkanth felt that Gambhir had developed into a fine opener and his association with Virender Sehwag is currently the best in the world. "You don't grow into a job overnight. Everybody matures with time. He was always a very capable strokeplayer, but now he has proved that he can bury his head into the ground and guide the team to safety. He is a great player in the making.

"He [Sehwag] might not have had a very good Test in Napier, but make no mistake, over the years he has contributed immensely to help Gautam develop his game. Together, they are the best opening combination in world cricket at the moment."