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Gautam Gambhir: Not using IPL to launch comeback to India side

Abu Dhabi: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Gautam Gambhir may have lost his place in the India national side, but he is not looking at the Indian Premier League as a launchpad to get back into the team.

“Never,” he said, during an interview with Gulf News on Thursday. “I have always said that I don’t look at such platforms for my comeback. My aim as of now is to do well for KKR and their fans. The fans have stuck with us in tough situations and, hopefully, we will do well. I don’t play for comebacks and I always play to see my team win and that’s what I’m looking for. If it has to happen it will happen,” said Gambhir, who attended his first net session at the Shaikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.

The skipper says he is pretty pleased with the squad at his disposal, saying: “It is a new season, new squad and new challenge as well. We have got some really exciting youngsters in the squad, and I’m sure that they will try and express themselves to the fullest and play with lot of freedom. We are going to give the young the environment to go out and express themselves.”

Gambhir had an impressive zonal leg of the Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 Trophy, scoring 162 in five matches with 75 as his highest score. He attributed his success to the batting on green wickets during the Ranji Trophy.

“The domestic season was decent because we played on some difficult tracks. When you have played on difficult tracks and done well, then obviously it makes you more sure about your own game. You start trusting your game because when you play on flat tracks, you always have those doubts. Playing on difficult wickets has helped me tighten my game,” said Gambhir, who played his last One Day International for India against England in January 2013.

The Delhi opener revealed that he has never played in the UAE, but felt that the wickets would suit his batting.

“I’m playing here for the first time. Obviously, the wickets looks very similar to what we get back at home, in Kolkata and other venues. The conditions won’t be very different and it will be very much similar,” said the 32-year-old, adding: “It will be exciting as we have got our bases covered and we have an attack for all conditions. When you have a good team, then they don’t look much into conditions, but try to play to the potential.”

KKR have a tough opening match — the inaugural game of the IPL — against defending champions Mumbai Indians on April 16, but Gambhir insists taking on strong opponents first up is a good thing.

“Mumbai Indians are a quality side and once you get that [game] out of your way, then it will give you a lot of confidence. When we won the tournament in 2012, we played our first game against Chennai Super Kings. Though we lost that match, we played very strongly and then went on to win. We are looking for pluses from the first match.”