Gautam Gambhir led side won the Duleep Trophy 2016-17    Getty Images
Gautam Gambhir led side won the Duleep Trophy 2016-17 Getty Images

We have witnessed a number of comebacks across formats in the past half a decade. And Gautam Gambhir is one of them, after Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra. But, like others, Gambhir could not capitalise the limited chances he got. Of course, making a comeback is more difficult than making a debut, and Gambhir had to face the same. Meanwhile, he continued performing in cash-rich IPL but failed to emulate the same in domestic cricket. However, the turnaround happened for Gambhir when he batted impressively during the 2016-17 season of Duleep Trophy, scoring 356 runs at 71.20. READ: No, I am not qualified to write on Virat Kohli

There was a bit of luck involved as well, as two Indian openers were injured during the India-New Zealand Test series, which eventually led to Gambhir’s selection for the third match. Gambhir looked comfortable but fell for 29 in the first innings. Nonetheless, he played a selfless knock in the second innings, scoring 56-ball 50, which was the need of the hour for his team. That innings, though, ensured his place in the squad for the ongoing Test series against England as well. And yet again, luck played a part, as KL Rahul was declared unfit for the first Test.

Gambhir was an obvious choice for Rahul s replacement for the first Test against England. He repeated the same score (29) in the first innings like he did against New Zealand. But in the second innings, he fell for a duck. After his dismissal, there was a huge disappointment among the Gambhir fans, suggesting one more opportunity for him.

On the other hand, Rahul scored a stunning century in a First-Class match, making him an obvious choice for the second Test. As a result, Gambhir was asked to get back to Ranji Trophy. With this failure, few cricketing pundits were not happy with the decision and for obvious reasons.

One of the biggest questions was why was Gambhir called back on the basis of his performance in only three First-Class games. There was another opening batsman in the domestic circuit who were performing consistently as well. Then, why go for Gambhir?

And, if he is such a good batsman, should not the selectors let him play more? If yes, why send him back to domestic circuit and test his hunger for a comeback?

On the other hand, had he been successful in the comeback Tests, how long Gambhir could have played for India?

There are two other openers: Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan. to put things into perspective, they will leave no stone unturned to book their place in the side. Besides, Rahul has relatively done well in whatever chances he has been offered.

On the other hand, there is Dhawan, who has been a regular opener since 2013 but is currently injured. Dhawan has not scored anything impactful or big this year but has contributed decently with few 50-plus scores.

There have always been high expectations from Dhawan, given the way he announced himself to Test cricket on his debut. Dhawan has almost similar experience in Tests as compared to Murali Vijay, who is the currently the only permanent opener in the team. Be it the number of matches or playing in different conditions, Dhawan has been through thick and thin. Hence, the moment he gets fit, it will be a difficult call for captain Kohli.

With such competition for the opening slot, Gambhir’s chance to make a comeback seems remote, given the fact that he is 35. As a result, the selectors must look for someone who can don India’s jersey in the long run instead of calling an experienced and reputed batsman on the basis of only three First-Class matches.

 

 

 

The eagerness to make it big once again at international level can be easily seen in Gambhir s eye. And to do that once again, he should not let his moral down. He should rather let his bat do all the talking. All the same, even if he does so in the domestic circuit, his comeback will be unlikely. But after looking at the rate at which the Indian players get injured, Gambhir might as well be seen representing the Indian side.

Till then, one can expect placards such as Bring back, Gambhir , as a sign of support and admiration.

(Abhishek Kumar is a cricket devotee currently staffing with CricLife and CricketCountry.com. He can be followed at @abhik2593)