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Gautam Gambhir's step in to the unknown with Essex Cricket Club
10:31am Tuesday 20th August 2013 in Sport
GAUTAM Gambhir admits he will be entering unfamiliar territory when he makes his Essex bow at Castle Park today.
But the prolific India batsman has stressed all he is focused on is helping his new side keep their promotion hopes on track.
Gambhir, who is Essex’s new overseas player, will make his debut in their vital County Championship clash with Northamptonshire (11am start).
The division two promotion clash kicks off this year’s Colchester Cricket Festival – and Gambhir cannot wait to get started.
Gambhir said: “There’s not many grounds like Castle Park back home and there’s a completely different feel to things.
“The festival is probably for the crowd but it’s all about the cricket for us and we want to go out there and play quality cricket.
“The crowd can enjoy themselves off the field but on it, it’s going to be competitive cricket and that’s what we’re looking forward to.
“It’s an important game for us and there’s still a lot of important cricket to be played this season.
“Every game is important when you’re playing first-class cricket.
“Being a professional cricketer, you have to get used to that – you have to take every game as seriously as you can.”
Gambhir, 31, who has made 54 Test appearances for India, joined Essex after replacing Hamish Rutherford as their overseas player.
The Delhi-born left-handed batsman says he is looking forward to the challenge of playing cricket in England.
“When you’re growing up as a kid, you hear a lot about county cricket,” said Gambhir, who led the Kolkata Knight Riders to last year’s IPL title.
“People say you should be playing it at least once in a lifetime, so it was a great opportunity for me especially some-where like Essex. I’m really excited.
“They’re a quality side and you want to play for quality sides – I’ll learn a lot from playing with their players.
“It’s going to be a good challenge and good fun, as well.
“There’s not so much cricket back home at the moment and you have to challenge yourself in different conditions.
“England is a completely different challenge to the one you get back home, so it’s going to be good.”