Though he has been snubbed by India selectors, opening batsman Gautam Gambhir, who will be leading Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 7, is looking to put up a strong performance in the tournament but doesn't feel it is a launchpad for India comeback.
"My aim 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," Gambhir told Gulf News.
Gambhir-led KKR will face defending champions Mumbai Indians in the opening game of IPL 7 on April 16 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Gambhir-led KKR will face defending champions Mumbai Indians in the opening game of the IPL 7 on April 16 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. (BCCI Images)
"Mumbai Indians are a quality side and once you get that out of your way, it will give you a lot of confidence. When we won IPL in 2012, we played our first game against Chennai Super Kings. We lost that match but we played very strongly and went on to win. We are looking for pluses from the first match," he said.
Gambhir had an impressive domestic season this year. Playing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 Trophy, the southpaw scored 162 runs in five matches with 75 as his highest score. He also attributed his success to 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.
KKR have a tough opening match against Mumbai, but Gambhir insists taking on strong opponents first up is a good thing.
"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 a lot of freedom. We are going to give the young the environment to go out and express themselves," he said.
Gambhir played his last one-day international for India against England in January 2013.