Home > Features >

Gautam Gambhir’s inclusion in India Test squad for England tour adds invaluable experience

Gautam Gambhir has found himself in the wilderness in recent times © Getty Images
Gautam Gambhir has found himself in the wilderness in recent times © Getty Images

Gautam Gambhir brings experience to the Indian side for the tour to England, writes Nishad Pai Vaidya.

Back in December 2013, as India were leaving for the tour to South Africa, skipper MS Dhoni said that Gautam Gambhir remained India’s third opener. Though the Delhi southpaw was axed after the home series against England the previous year, he was very much in Dhoni’s plans. Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan were doing well, but Gambhir had kept himself in the mix by turning up for India A on a few occasions and maintaining consistency in domestic cricket. For the long tour to England, Gambhir gets a lease of life and would hope to make the most of his opportunities.

Gambhir has managed to score runs during the First-Class season. In fact, when he was dropped before the home series against Australia last year, he turned for India A in a tour game and hit a ton. Later that year, he played county cricket with Essex and managed a century in one of those games. Against West Indies A, he scored another ton leading up to the Ranji Trophy, where he amassed 578 runs in seven matches at an average of 48.16. Though he wasn’t among the leading run-scorers in the tournament and other openers such as KL Rahul made more runs, it makes sense to bring Gambhir back.

On a testing tour like England, you need Gambhir’s experience. Apart from skipper MS Dhoni, no other batsman in India’s top seven has played more than 30 Tests. For all of them, it would be their first tour to England and an opportunity to shine. Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara are the most dependable option, but the addition of Gambhir does bring in a lot of value to the side.

That brings us to the question: Whom will Gambhir replace at the top? When you have such a senior player in the side, you normally have to play him. Generally, such players have to be in the main eleven if they are in the squad and not on the bench. Dhawan did well in New Zealand with a ton and a 98. That gave hope that he may perform in overseas conditions. In South Africa, Vijay showed grit and guts against a good bowling attack. He was patient and added sanity to the proceedings. He did struggle a touch in New Zealand.

India may just keep Gambhir on the bench for the first two Tests before taking a call. That may be one option before them instead of axing Vijay first up. However, going by what Australia did during the Ashes 2013, Gambhir could well make it. Darren Lehmann and Michael Clarke summoned the old warrior, Chris Rogers, to open the batting ahead of the younger Ed Cowan and the beleaguered David Warner. The results have been good for them as Rogers went on to settle himself in the side.

Gambhir though, hasn’t played too many Tests in English conditions. His last tour was a struggle in every sense as he hurt his arm at Lord’s and had a terrible concussion at The Oval. Plus, he missed one out of the four Tests. Then he was India’s first choice opener with Virender Sehwag coming in later. How much things have changed since that tour! Gambhir’s fighting spirit and determination may help him with this battle if he gets a chance.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Sep 13, 2014 (19:30 IST)   at Gros Islet, St Lucia

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 55 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Mumbai Indians won by 9 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 72 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 13, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 13, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 7 wkts

Photos

India tour of England 2014: Highlights

Videos

Ajmal addresses media after being suspended

Live Cricket Score Mumbai Indians vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014: Northern Knights in verge of eliminating Mumbai Indians from the Champion’s League

Perth Scorchers in CLT20 2014 Preview: BBL champions start as underdogs

Jonty Rhodes — what if the famous leap to run-out Inzamam-ul-Haq hadn’t come off

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Lahore Lions’ fate mimics that of Pakistan

CLT20 2014 Qualifier Match 6: Mumbai Indians vs Northern Knights — Key battles

Bangladesh Bangladesh tour of West Indies 2014 Bangladesh vs West Indies Bangladesh vs West Indies 2014 Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Lahore Lions Mumbai Indians Northern Knights Southern Express West Indies West Indies vs Bangladesh West Indies vs Bangladesh 2014

ICC World Cup trophy tours Pakistan

CLT20 2014: Mohammad Hafeez pleased with his batting efforts in Lahore Lions win over Southern Express

Mumbai Indians vs Northern Knights 6th CLT20 2014 Qualifier match: Kane Williamson reaches his half century

Jehan Mubarak: Lasith Malinga’s absence hurt us

Mumbai Indians vs Northern Knights 6th CLT20 2014 Qualifier match: Northern Knights propel to 49/0 in 6 overs

Hobart Hurricanes in CLT20 2014, Preview: Underdogs, who have their task cut out

Test Cricket: Then and Now

Dolphins in CLT20 2014 Preview: South African champions can be a surprise package

Perth Scorchers in CLT20 2014 Preview: BBL champions start as underdogs

Jonty Rhodes — what if the famous leap to run-out Inzamam-ul-Haq hadn’t come off

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

635 Posts | 7 Fans

Yuvraj Singh in Anupam Kher show

Bengali-American Woman Files Suit Against NYPD for Arresting her Without Probable Cause

Official Xiaomi Redmi 1S back cover and screen protector now available on Flipkart, priced at Rs 469 and Rs 179 respectively

5 types of heart disease common in type 2 diabetics

Kumkum Bhagya: Will Abhi bring Pragya back home?

Asian immigrants’ vote may swing Scotland referendum

5 natural sources of vitamin B9 you need in your diet

Apple rolls back iPhone 5S price drop in India

Ashutosh Gowariker: Nobody can take the remote from me when I’m watching Bigg Boss

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here