Even as England stand in a good position to steal India’s no.1 Test ranking, the Indian opener is warning England that the real work is yet to begin.
England are in a terrific position after the third day of the third Test at Edgbaston, Birmingham with a lead of 486, putting India under great duress in their second innings. India are already down by the wicket of Virender Sehwag and a lot will rest on how the stalwarts play with two full days still remaining in the Test match.
If England win the third Test, as they seem they would, England will officially be ranked as the no.1 Test team surpassing India. Even if they draw the match, England will still have beaten India by a two Test margin at this point, which would also put them in that club. The only way England can be prevented from holding onto the no.1 rank is if India can eke out victory which seems like an impossible scenario for the third Test or if they can win the fourth and final Test and thereby, reduce the margin of defeat to one Test.
But England – the England cricket team as well as former England cricketers joining the sundry in the press box – have already been gloating at the start of the India England series that they are the truly deserving team who should be crowned as the no.1 Test team. To their credit, they have managed to outshine India in all departments to prove that they have the wherewithal to edge out the team that has held the title for more than two years.
However, while the Indian cricket team has greatly disappointed, Gautam Gambhir is gracious enough to admit that England were the decidedly better team and perhaps even deserving to take the no.1 Test team title. But the Indian opener also has a warning for England.
Gambhir, who was injured during the first Test at Lord’s and thereafter missed the second Test at Trent Bridge, believes that much of England’s success has come on home turf which means that even if England become no.1 in the world, the hard work lies ahead of them as they prove their mettle outside of England. In Gambhir’s opinion, apart from the Ashes, England have not really had the kind of results that gives them the outright no.1 tag.
Furthermore, Gambhir warns England that unless they continue to perform, holding onto the title will be far harder than gaining it. Even though England could well crown themselves no.1 in the world, the cliché of staying on top is harder than getting there is what Gambhir wants to point out to his opponents.
Gambhir himself would be bitterly disappointed at how things shaped up for team India in England. However, he still believes that India are deserving of dignified respect and rightly so because India have held onto the no.1 Test team title longer than most people gave them credit for. Unfortunately when the pivotal title battle has been upon them, India have been exposed for perhaps not taking without enough seriousness or diligence the contest against England where their reputation would be on the line. Even as India stand on the brink of dethronement, perhaps in Gambhir’s warning lies the message that this could only be a temporary setback for India while England will need to keep pushing the envelope to develop a clear lead over the rest in the world.