His form has been dodgy over the past couple of years but Gautam Gambhir's grit has always been unquestionable, something he believes is necessary when batsmen from the sub-continent play on bouncy South African tracks. (Click here for full coverage of India's tour of South Africa)
"When you play on pitches like those in South Africa, you need to show a lot of mental toughness. You have to be gutsy and have the grit to succeed in adverse conditions. One needs to have the ability to go out and hang in there despite all odds," Gambhir, who scored twin 50's in Cape Town (2010-11) with a swollen forearm, told PTI during an interaction. (Also read: Not surprised to see India struggle in South Africa, says Akhtar)
Asked about what will be his advise for statemate Shikhar Dhawan, who will have a big role to play in the upcoming Test series, Gambhir turned diplomatic,"I don't ever make comments about individual performances. It's Indian team that needs to play well collectively. Test matches are won on the basis of collective effort."
Gambhir feels that despite the team's poor show in the ODI series, the Indian side has the talent and ability to make a comeback in the longer version. "I believe that this Indian team has the ability to do well on South African soil. We have done well earlier and there is no reason we can't do it again," Gambhir said. (Related: We're ready for a fight in Test series, says Ashwin)
The 32-year-old veteran of 54 Tests and 147 ODIs feels that it's the bowlers who will win the matches taking 20 wickets as batsmen can only set it up for them. "The batsmen need to score well but they can only set it up for the bowlers. It's the bowlers who need to take wickets in order to win the matches," he said.
Gambhir also came in defence of his out-of-form teammate Virender Sehwag, who has failed to score a single first-class 50 this season having played two first-class games against West Indies followed by eight innings in Ranji Trophy. (Team India denies row with South African broadcasters over Kohli clip)
"Viru is a player who needs just one innings to get back into form. He is a player who will hit a big hundred if he gets going and I am not at all worried about his form," said Gambhir.
Gambhir, who is the Delhi captain, also maintained that it was entirely Sehwag's call to decide on his batting order as he has been batting at No. 3 or No. 4 slot this season.
"It's always been fun opening the batting with Viru as we have got a lot of success together. But it is his call to bat down the order and I have nothing to say about it," Gambir said.
Gambhir recently made 153 against Haryana in a Ranji Trophy encounter on a green-top at the Roshanara Club but the talented left-hander does not want to give much importance to that knock.
"The thing that made me happy is that it got Delhi six points. I have always attached more importance to team's performance than individual performance. As I have always maintained that I never play cricket thinking about comebacks.
If the comeback has to happen, it will happen. Right now, I am the captain of the Delhi team and my endeavour is to win the Ranji Trophy," said Gambhir, who came to attend a promotional event as the brand ambassador of Reebok India.
The out-of-favour India opener came to encourage the Reebok Running Squad unit that is training runners who are taking part in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.