County news August 15, 2013

Essex sign Gambhir to aid promotion push

ESPNcricinfo staff

Essex have signed India batsman Gautam Gambhir for the remainder of the season as they look to bring success to a turbulent campaign.

Embarrassed, booed off and publicly criticised by their head coach, Essex are remarkably in a position to make 2013 a year to remember. On Saturday they will take part in Friends Life t20 Finals Day and are handily-placed in both the Yorkshire Bank 40 and County Championship.

Gambhir's wealth of experience will replace the greener Hamish Rutherford, the New Zealand opener, who will be heading home to prepare for New Zealand's domestic and international season. Gambhir is expected to join Essex ahead of their County Championship match against Northamptonshire in Colchester, which begins on August 20.

That fixture is the first of Essex's final six matches. Promotion is firmly in their sights; they currently lie 29 points off second-placed Northamptonshire and have a game in hand on every team in the division. That healthy position is somewhat inconceivable given Essex were bowled out for just 20 against Lancashire earlier in the season.

They were also humbled by Middlesex in the Flt20, bowled out for 74 and booed off by their home fans, yet recovered to qualify for Finals Day with a superb 47-run victory at Nottinghamshire in the quarter-final. Qualification for the semi-finals of the Yorkshire Bank 40 is also a possibility; with two matches to play, Essex sit two points off the top of Group B.

Gambhir's 11,274 first-class runs and 8,815 List A runs could provide consistent performances at the top of the order, an absence of which has hindered Essex thorough the season.

"We are delighted with the signing of Gautam Gambhir," Essex head coach Paul Grayson said. "He is a player with pedigree, which has been showcased on the biggest stages. He will no doubt bring his experience to the squad during an important stage of the season for us."

Gambhir, who had been India's first-choice opener in all forms of cricket over the past few seasons, was dropped from both Test and limited-overs teams earlier this year. He was left out of the squad for the home Tests against Australia and was also not included for the Champions Trophy and the tri-series in the West Indies. He has played 54 Tests and scored 4,021 runs at an average of 44.18.

Gambhir is the first Indian player to sign for a county this season. In 2012, Harbhajan Singh represented Essex for the second half of the season.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    On which channel in India will the Essex vs Norths match be broadcasted on 20th August. I cant wait to see Gambhir scoring a ton ?

  • sam on August 17, 2013, 2:57 GMT

    It is important for Gambhir's confidence. In the long term he must think of playing in the middle order of the test team at 5 or 6. Dhoni gets the left hander he wants in the middle order who is one of the best players of spin in the world. And I still think he will do a better job at opening in ODIs than Rohit. But for test matches he needs to bat at 5 or 6 especially since we have no experience in the middle order except Dhoni who cannot be expected to make too many runs in the bouncier pitches because of his bottom handed technique. And BCCI will do well to ignore Tendulkar for SA. If he goes as a batting consultant fine but not as a player. Don't expect a 41 yr old who has lost most of his reflexes and is out of competitive international cricket for so long to score runs against Philander, Steyn and Morkel. It is going to be much tougher this time as Philander is a better bowler than even Morkel and last time the third seamer India faced was Tsotsobe who is just about decent.

  • Pulkit on August 16, 2013, 21:25 GMT

    Good on him. This experience will only help it and he is sensible enough to realize that. I'm of the view that to really push yourself as an athlete you need to keep addressing your worst nightmares and keep working on your weaknesses. That's what great cricketers do away from sight - Amla, Steyn, Tendulkar, Ponting; they all put in hours of work each day to get their trade right and exceed in all and any circumstances. That's the only way to get better.

    Good on him to realize that!

  • Nikhil on August 16, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    Couldn't they have got Sehwag?

  • sahil on August 16, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    well this is good news for gambhir and essex but viru and yuvi are the players i am looking forward to do same as they are the impact players and would be needed for sa tour

  • Dummy4 on August 16, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    Veeru-Gambhir era is over, for good. Let us accept that fact (with due recognition & gratitude to their great contributions in the past).

    Thanks to the vision and courage of the new selection committee, Indian Cricket is looking towards the future. Even there, they are NOT pre-maturely freezing the opening pair. Instead, they are trying out different pairing from among those openers, who seem to have the potential. Not wasting time just reminiscing about the "Glorious"(?) past!

  • Naman on August 16, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    @WAKE_UP_CALL: The problems begin when the person doesn't get enough recognition. He deserved the MOM in the WC final which went to MS Dhoni. Maybe that disheartened him. I am not against the progress of Indian team. Sandeep Patil is doing a great job. My point is that you don't have to degrade a player on here. One has to support these guys in their good times as well as tough times and I am only doing the same. It is a great decision taken by Gambhir to go and play CC in England which others while out of the side have not. One can only improve themselves by working on their problems and I am sure he must have worked on them and sorted out his mental and technical issues. Also, he needed a long break which he had not got for sometime which will do a world of good for him.

  • Dummy4 on August 16, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    good news for gambhir and for those who think that he is not a good batsman outside the indian conditions ,his average is 47 playing outside india which is a good thing . he just needs to get his form back which has been on a decline after the knock of 97 in wc 2011 final.

  • Dummy4 on August 16, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    Its going to be most cruical moment in his career. Gambhir will have problem in English condition due to his movement and tendency to play on leg side.And since he doesn't wait for ball to come he might struggle.But we have good record of players going to England county teams and then made it success. Ganguly, Srinath, Kumble, Dravid, Zak.Then why not, Gambhir. Once considered to be future Test captain, his career went south.. But do we know who is India's highest scrorer in T20 and World Cup finals.. U know the person..But he needs to deliver it on big series.His luck is not going good.When he is not playing well, somehow India is losing series and we are seeing him.Rem'ber he was Test batsman#1 for sometime and you don't get it often. Good Luck, Gambhir..

  • Sandip on August 16, 2013, 8:58 GMT


    Agree with your honest views. We should have been there this summer rather than present Oz. Its O.k. We will have the best answer in next summer.