Gauti: We’ve let the nation down - ‘Why single out Laxman for criticism’

Perth: After Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India’s stand-in ODI captain and opener Gautam Gambhir has accepted responsibility for the debacle Down Under.
The left-handed batsman summed it up in simple words — “We have let the entire nation down…”
At a media conference on Tuesday, Gambhir, however, was also optimistic that “one good session” could be enough for a turnaround.
The following are excerpts
On the team not performing up to the expectations
We have let the entire nation down and I will be the first one to accept it… There is a backlash 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. 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.
His responsibilities as a batsman
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 the No.1, you have to perform well and start winning overseas… Whether in England, or in South Africa, or Australia.
The failure of the Indian openers
Openers do help in negotiating the new ball... It helps the rest of the batting. But they can’t be blamed alone… I’ve already said that I accept that I have failed. But it’s the entire batting unit which has to take the responsibility. It can’t only be the openers or the middle-order.
On talk that VVS Laxman may call it a day
My question is, why blame one person? The top seven batters are equally to blame. We have failed as a unit, why then single out Laxman? He is a legend of Indian cricket. He has served Indian cricket for a very, very long time. It should be him, and him alone, who should decide on his future, not anyone else. Neither the media, nor the fans, nor the former cricketers, would decide if he is to retire… He is still working very hard, it’s a matter of just one innings and his confidence would be back. If there’s criticism, it should not be about one person, but about the entire batting unit which has let the team down.
On Virender Sehwag, who will captain the side in Dhoni’s absence
He will be aggressive… But I have always believed that 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 on the field who make difference. It’s not about MS (Dhoni) — an individual who takes the blame if the entire team haven’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.
Sachin’s 100th hundred, which is yet to come
What makes us happy is winning the series, not Sachin’s 100th hundred… We would be happier if we win the series compared to that if Sachin gets his 100... 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.
The tour so far…
It’s been challenging… Australia is a tough place to tour. But a lot of credit goes to them (the Aussies). I will not be hesitant to accept it. They have played some very good cricket as a unit, have always kept up the pressure and not let us off the hook.
The mood in the dressing room
We’ve been working hard, as you could see at the net session… But it’s not going our way. Our top seven have had fifties, but none of them have been able to convert it. But the mood is completely fine. If you are playing for your country and the next Test is only six days away, you need to be up for it. Things haven’t gone our way, but we still need to be positive and do well in Adelaide, and subsequently in the one-day series. If you are playing for your country, you need to be positive and look at next Test and try to win it.
Chances of a turnaround
One good day and one good session could change it all… There’s still 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 T20s and one-day Internationals). Hopefully we can bring the smiles back on the faces of the people in Adelaide.
On Glenn McGrath claiming that India would be easy to beat in the ODI series as well
In a series, a lot of chit-chat happens… If he thinks so, good luck to him. If we play well and play good cricket, we have the calibre and talent to turn things around.