Gaurav Kalra is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo. @gauravkalra75
In an attempt to revive his stalled international career, Gautam Gambhir is in Perth these days, training under the supervision of the former Australia batsman Justin Langer. Langer is the head coach of Western Australia and the city's T20 team Perth Scorchers.
Gambhir returned briefly to international cricket last year, but was discarded after two underwhelming Tests in England, where he made scores of 4, 18, 0 and 3 in his four innings. That recall came after more than a year and a half in the wilderness. He was dropped from the Test team in December 2012 after India lost a home series to England, in which he made 251 runs at an average of 41.83 in the four Tests. He lost his one-day spot a month later, and was not included in India's 30-man list of probables for the World Cup earlier this year.
"I met JL [Langer] during the last Champions League last year when he was touring with Perth Scorchers as their coach," Gambhir said, explaining the decision to train under him. "We spoke about a few things, about my batting, and I realised that he could be my go-to man to work on my game."
With over 10,000 runs from his 56 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20Is so far, Gambhir has had a prolific international career. However, in recent years several experts have pointed at technical flaws that appear to have crept into his batting. The intention behind seeking Langer out, Gambhir says, is not to focus on specific areas of concern but to work on what he calls the "overall development of my game, to take me to the next level."
"I'd read Langer's interviews and his books," Gambhir said. "I could relate to him a lot. He too is an intense character like me and these things pushed me to come here."
Gambhir, who has led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles in the last four years, making strong contributions with the bat himself, leaned heavily on his childhood coach Parthasarathi Sharma for personalised attention. Sharma's death in 2010 led him to first seek out the former India opener WV Raman before turning to Langer now.
The stint in Perth includes not just cricket skills but also gymnastics and martial arts sessions along with the Western Australia players. Gambhir describes the experience as the "first of a kind."
"The entire thing is beautifully married into the cricket programme and there is logic in what these guys do," Gambhir said. "After taking part in these sessions I understood that gymnastics was focused at helping the boys improve their fielding by making them do various stretches and martial arts was trained at bettering the footwork and agility of the players."
The 44-year old Langer has earned his stripes as a coach since retiring from international cricket in 2007. He was contacted by the ECB's director of cricket Andrew Strauss for the England role but ruled himself out citing family reasons. Since taking over as Western Australia coach in 2012, Langer has guided them to two Sheffield Shield finals and this year's domestic state one-day title. Under his wing Perth Scorchers have won the last two Big Bash titles.
Although the 33-year old Gambhir doesn't appear to be in the scheme of things for the national selectors at the moment, he has clearly not given up hopes of a recall. It remains to be seen if this stint with Langer, which ends in the second week of July, will help him rediscover the verve in his game and lead to another opportunity at the highest level.