New Delhi: Gautam Gambhir on Wednesday hit back at critics who have raised doubts on the future of his opening combination with Virender Sehwag following their recent form slump, saying with an average of 53 they are still the best in the country.
"We still average 53 as an opening pair, which I think is one of the best when it comes to opening the batting in world cricket. There are not many opening pairs who have played for such a long time and have an average of 53 per innings. And if 53 is not good enough, I don't know what is good enough," Gambhir told PTI in an exclusive interview here.
"As an opening pair, you average 50 per inning and if you are giving 50 runs start in every innings, you can't do more and if people talk about not contributing, I will suggest them to look at the stats. Average of 53 is tremendous, its something a lot of opening pairs have not done in the past and are not doing today," he added.
Sehwag, in the last two years, has scored only one century and has averaged 37.26, which is way below his career average of 50.64 in Tests. Gambhir, in the same period, has not scored any century and averaged just 30.31 as compared to his career average of 44.35 in the longest version of the game.
When asked if he is under pressure not having scored a Test ton in last two years, Gambhir replied in his trademark aggressive style, "It's not about scoring a hundred everytime, it's about contributing when you are opening the batting. It's not only me, a lot of other people have also not scored tons.
"People only discuss about scoring a hundred, I don't know why. I got 93 in South Africa, 85-odd in Australia...15 or seven more and people would not be discussing my hundred.
"It's about how much you can contribute when you open the batting. For me, it is all about contributing to the cause of the team," said Gambhir, whose last hundred came against Bangladesh in January, 2010.
With the Test series against England just round the corner, Gambhir is looking to get back to the basics and work on his game with childhood coach Sanjay Bhardwaj.
He, however, replied in negative when asked if he was seeking his coach's help to iron out any technical flaws ahead of the two tough series against England and Australia at home.
"Had it been a technical error, I would have not scored runs in one-day cricket. I think it is good 1100 runs in last 24 innings in one-day cricket. I was in the ICC ODI team. I know how people start relating your Test form to one-day form and T20 form. Three formats are completely different and ultimately when you are playing the three formats, it's very difficult to have the same consistency.
"Had it been a technical error, I would not have scored runs in both ODI and Test cricket. I would have not got the starts in Test cricket as well."
Gambhir insisted that he is not at all "insecure" about his place in the Test side with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay performing consistently in the domestic circuit.
"Never, I am not at all insecure about my place in the side. I don't know where all these things are coming from.
Ultimately, when you open the batting, you want to contribute and you want to give a good start to the team. Giving a good start is your first job."
Talking about IPL champions, Kolkata Knight Riders' disappointing show in the ongoing Champions League Twenty20, the KKR skipper said, "These things happen. We are the IPL champions. You go into the tournament thinking that you have to win but sometimes you don't end up winning all the tournaments. Sometimes you do well, sometimes you don't but we are a quality side."
Gambhir did not agree with suggestions that the upcoming series against England is a "revenge" series for India. "I don't believe in a word revenge because there is no such word in cricket or any other sport. It's all about doing well and that is more important. Revenge is for media not for a professional cricketer," he said.
Gambhir, who played cricket with Red Bull driver Mark Webber at Noida International University this afternoon, said he won't be attending the second edition of the Indian Grand Prix as it was his first marriage anniversary.
"It's my first marriage anniversary on October 28 and I don't want to make my wife angry," he laughed.
On F1's future in India, Gambhir said, "F1 has a great future in India. There's a lot of excitement and enthusiasm around the race. I don't know whether it would be able to beat the popularity of cricket in India, but it has a future."