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We need to convert the starts, says Gambhir

- ‘The bowlers are putting in all the hard work’
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, in Kochi, on Monday

Kochi: Opener Gautam Gambhir on Monday backed the under-fire Indian bowlers, saying they alone cannot be blamed for the defeats.

In the first ODI against England, India had conceded 70 runs in the last six overs.

Ahead of the second ODI, here on Tuesday, Gambhir said the responsibility lies upon all the 11 players of the side and it would be wrong to paint the bowlers as villains.

“Only bowlers don’t win the match for you. All the 11 players have to take responsibility. Whenever the batsmen don’t do well, the bowlers cover up for them and vice versa. I don’t believe in blaming one aspect of the game. I think the bowlers are putting in all the hard work, and the way they won the match for us against Pakistan (in Delhi) was commendable,” Gambhir said.

“We have played just one match in this series… Unfortunately, the problem is that we start talking about form after every defeat. That’s not the way to look at it, we have to look at a bigger picture,” the left-handed batsmen said.

Gambhir also said there was no need to criticise paceman Ishant Sharma, arguing that the England bowlers too struggled in the first game.

“I think Ishant has done well in the three matches against Pakistan, especially after making a comeback. It’s just that things didn’t go his way in the last game. But he is working hard and he has been bowling really well and the results are there for you to see.

“If England scored 325, we managed to score 316. So there wasn’t much difference between their bowlers and our bowlers.” Gambhir, who scored 52 in Rajkot, said good starts have to be converted into big ones.

“You can’t say as an opener you have to do this and that, we contribute as a team, we play as a team. I think I started off well… One thing is that once you get a start you need to convert it. If one of us had got a big one, the result would have been different.

“When you are chasing 325, you have to score at a decent rate. It’s not like you have plenty of time and keep playing.

“So ultimately you have to take your chances even in the middle overs. We got four half-centuries in the last match and no one could carry on, if one of us had carried on till 40th over, it could have been different story,” he said.

Gambhir also said that media should restrain itself from putting pressure on youngsters such as Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

“Don’t start tagging him as an all-rounder and people will start talking that he should work on his batting. He is bowling well and if he contributes with the bat as well, it’s going to be a bonus for us.

“You can’t expect Bhuvneshwar coming in at 8 or 9 and score runs, because it’s our job to score runs. It’s not his responsibility. Let’s leave him free and hopefully he will shape up well,” he asserted.

Gambhir said it was important for India to not go 0-2 down in the series. “If we go out there and play up to our potential we are a very dangerous side at our home.”

The opener said the Kochi wicket was almost like Rajkot, but since the outfield is not that quick, it may not be a high scoring game. (PTI)