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)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone, semi-final at Mohali Day 4: Naman Ojha out for 40

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4: Pakistan take lead beyond 300

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur: Zimbabwe lose Sibanda in first over

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

India vs Sri Lanka 2014 schedule announced: Cuttack to host 1st ODI

Zimbabwe 179/5 against Bangladesh at Tea, Day 1

West Indies team’s decision to abandon tour needs explanation: Daren Ganga

Pakistan take 267-run lead against Australia at lunch on Day 4 of 1st Test

New Zealand vs South Africa 2014: Dale Steyn senses fear among South Africa batsmen despite good show

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here