Perth, Jan 17: India's opening batsmen Gautam Gambhir said Tuesday the whole batting line-up must be blamed and it was unfair to single out individuals for the team's debacle in the Test series against Australia.
"We have let the entire nation down and I will be the first one to accept it. There is a backlash which is happening back home and we are ready to accept it. We have given the opportunity to people (to criticise us). We haven't played good cricket and not lived up to the expectations, given the batting we have," said Gambhir. "We have let the common man down who expects us to perform and I accept it. We need to turn it around as quickly as possible," he added. On his own performance, Gambhir said: "I am not someone who would be hesitant to take the responsibility. I will be the first one to accept it. If you want to be number one, you have to perform well and start winning overseas, whether England, South Africa or Australia."
When pointed out that he hasn't hit a century for more than two years, Gambhir said: "If hundred is everything and I score one followed by four or five low scores, I don't think I would be satisfied. You want consistency. If a hundred is followed by innings when I don't reach double figures, I wouldn't be happy.
"You want to be consistent. If a 100 comes your way, well and good. It's a long journey from zero to hundred and as we all know, it's a one ball game for a batsman. But I am not thinking of putting together a hundred, rather consistent 50s will make me happy."
Terming India's debacle as a collective failure, Gambhir said: "What make us happy is winning the series not Sachin's 100th hundred. We would be far more happy if we win the series compared to if Sachin has got his 100. Conversely, if Sachin gets his hundred and we don't win, it isn't satisfying. It's all about winning the series rather than any individual performance." Asked if Virender Sehwag, who will be leading the team in the fourth and the final Test, can bring something new in the team, Gambhir said: "He will be aggressive. But I have always believed a captain is as good as the team. There has been no great captain, it's not the captain who makes the difference. "It's the eleven in the field who make difference. It's not MS (Dhoni), an individual who takes the blame if the entire team hasn't performed. Same would be with Sehwag. It's the eleven who have to perform, it's not just him. We need to play well as a unit."
On the failure of the openers to give India a good start, Gambhir said: "Openers do help if they negotiate the new ball. It helps the rest of the batting. But they can't be blamed alone. I've already said I accept to have failed. But it's the entire batting unit, which has to take the responsibility. It can't only be openers or middle orders." Gambhir, gave full credit to the Australians. "It's been challenging. Australia is a tough place to tour. But a lot of credit goes to them. I will not be hesitant to accept it. They have played some very good cricket as a unit overall. They have always kept the pressure and not let us off the hook." "But one good day and one good session could change it all. There's a lot of cricket left in this series. We are not even midway through. If we do well in Adelaide and take the momentum forward, we could make the difference (in the T20 and One-day Internationals)," Gambhir said. "There's a lot of cricket yet to be played. In Adelaide, hopefully we could bring the smiles back on the faces of the people," he stressed.