Will Gautam Gambhir make the playing XI in the 2nd Test on his 2nd homeground?
Published - Sep 28, 2016 3:22 pm | Updated - Sep 28, 2016 3:22 pm
Form is temporary, but class is permanent. But what when both form and class are present in an individual? Yes, we are talking about none other than the in-form classy and stylish southpaw – Gautam Gambhir. His scores of 77, 90, 59 and 94 in the Duleep Trophy show that he’s ready to return to his battleground, that is, international cricket once again. And what could be a better place than the Eden Gardens at Kolkata, where he has played plenty of cricket leading the Kolkata Knight Riders, thanks to the Indian Premier League.
When KKR won the IPL for the very first time in 2012, he had landed in the City of Joy and said – “Ami Kolkatar Chele (I am the son of Kolkata), and the fans went crazy. The people of Kolkata love him tremendously and in fact, even hail him as their 2nd Dada after Sourav Ganguly. Hence, Gambhir would love to restart in a venue where he likes to play, that is, the Eden Gardens.
After KL Rahul’s injury, the only man, we would say standing in his way is another left-handed opener, Shikhar Dhawan. Even though Dhawan is out of form, the selectors and both the captains, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli have always kept faith in him and included him in the squad, no matter what. But one would think that Dhawan has got enough chances and it’s high time the position goes back to his senior Delhi teammate, Gautam Gambhir.
Dhawan is known for playing rash, unnecessary and callous shots and gifting his wicket. He may be a decent stroke maker and a flamboyant batsman, but Gambhir’s technique is way superior to his, especially after training with someone like Justin Langer. Gautam’s success in the 2016 IPL and the recent Duleep Trophy has had a lot to do with him opening up his stance. His footwork has also improved massively. And who can forget that he is one of the better players of spin around at the moment.
He has the ability to get the better of the Kiwi spinners. However, it is yet to be seen whether the Eden track will be a turner one or not. But no worries for Gambhir as everyone had witnessed how beautifully he had tackled the fast bowlers in the Duleep Trophy and how solid he was in his defense.
Back in 2009, he was the No. 1 ranked Test batsman in the world. He had batted for almost 11 hours at Napier, New Zealand, with a broken elbow, scored a century and saved the match brilliantly. He is the 4th batsman in the world and the only Indian to score 5 consecutive Test centuries. Virender Sehwag had even gone on to say that Gauti was the best opener India ever had since Sunil Gavaskar.
There will undoubtedly be pressure on him to conquer his self-doubt and perform. It is important that the selectors give him enough chances to prove himself like they gave Dhawan. He is a specialist batsman who loves playing under pressure and in tense situations. He was our hero in the 2007 and 2011 World Cup with scores of 75 against Pakistan and 97 against Sri Lanka in the respective finals.
In the IPL, the Kolkata Knight Riders have won twice under his captaincy and he has led from the front. In fact, he was on his way to being the future captain in all 3 formats after MS Dhoni, but suddenly lost his place in the side.
He may be back in the Test squad after 2 years, but it remains to be seen whether he will be included in the playing XI in the second Test by skipper Virat Kohli. Coach Anil Kumble is happy to have him back in the side, but what about Kohli? No one can forget the on-field spat between the two in the 2013 IPL. It would be one’s dream and an ideal script if Kohli and Gambhir patch up and forget their differences. Both are star players who have played together in the past and won numerous matches for India. The biggest irony is that Gambhir even gave away his Man of the Match Award to Kohli at the very same venue in 2009 for his first century.
Will the underrated and dashing left-handed opener who always puts the country first before individual performances get his due on September 30 or will just warm the bench? Will his fans all around India finally get to watch his elegant cover drives after all these years? Well, that only time will tell.
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Written by Shinjini Banerjee