Australia in India 2012-13

Gambhir's chance to stake a claim

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 15, 2013

Comments: 26 | Text size: A | A

Gautam Gambhir plays a ball wide of off stump, India v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Delhi, January 6, 2013
Gautam Gambhir has been caught behind or in the cordon several times in the recent past © BCCI
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Players/Officials: Gautam Gambhir
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
Teams: India

The presence of Gautam Gambhir in the three-day practice match between India A and the Australians is going to be a constant reminder of his absence from the team for the first Test in Chennai starting on February 22.

Over the past few days, Gambhir has received several endorsements but from the Australian side. On Friday, Michael Clarke said he had expected Gambhir to be in the Test team. A few days earlier, Matthew Hayden had told an Indian newspaper that he was surprised Gambhir had been dropped. On the Indian side though, there is no astonishment; a poor run of scores for Gambhir from the start of 2011, coupled with India's dipping results in Test cricket, has led to a situation where he must reestablish public faith in his ability.

The India A coach Lalchand Rajput said before the three-day game that it would be an important match for players like Gambhir. "They won't put pressure on themselves because they have been in this situation earlier as well … These are good players who have performed very well at that level. It's just a matter of getting there and spending more time in the middle and utilising the opportunity. Once he spends more time, everything will fall in place. Gautam knows this."

Of the quick bowlers Australia are most likely to field in the series, Gambhir will have a chance to illustrate his return to assurance against Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc. A solid performance against the quicks would mean much, particularly if the Indian openers have a wobbly start in the first two Tests.

Rajput said it depended on Gambhir being relaxed before the game rather than wound up with the possibilities it presented. It will require a move away from old habits, particularly the similarity in his recent dismissals, caught in the cordon trying what can only be called one-day dabs and steers. "He was playing one-day games the past few days, so he had to change his game a wee bit because you look for runs," Rajput said. "In the longer version, he knows he has been getting out in those areas and is definitely looking forward to curb those shots." As to what Gambhir needed to do in the longer version of the game, Rajput said it came down to playing close to his body.

Gambhir's efforts may not be the sole focus of the match. India-A's role, Rajput said, had to be larger. "It's very important that India A puts a lot of pressure on the Australians. We have done it earlier also, when we played against England in that one-day game. At that level, it's a matter of confidence. If you do well against them, they will have to do a wee bit of thinking. It's also up to the players to look into that aspect and put pressure on the Australians."

When the Australians lost to Mumbai in three days in 1998, Rajput said, "That put pressure on them and forced them to think about how they should plan for the Test series. So that's something we are looking at - to put pressure on them and make it easier for the Indian team." The team Rajput wants India A to help is, however, lined up against an Australian team far removed from the powerful squads that travelled to India for the last 15 years. So for Gambhir, a personal recovery wouldn't be a bad place to start.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (February 17, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

O God !!! Now he got the big score and the chances of Dhawan in the side r slim . It remains to be seen how Aussies bat on the track where he scored Big.

Posted by Rajeshj on (February 16, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

Aussies are quite clever... their first choice bowlers Starc and Siddle bowled 30 overs between them for 60 runs.. and Gambhir scored very few runs from them.. he simply feasted on Lyons, Doherty etc. and now has become a man who has found his form... there will be a lot of media hype if any of new opening batsman fails in one match and surely GG will open in the next test... the cricket experts these days are only looking at the score card and come up with their prophecies.. no logic in any observations...

Posted by SamRoy on (February 16, 2013, 11:02 GMT)

Problem is Indian Test Team has Sehwag and Tendulkar and both are finished as far as test cricket goes! Yet we keep persisting and persisting with them. Especially Tendulkar. I hope both him and Sehwag get a bunch of 0s so that it will bring the selectors to their senses.

Posted by   on (February 16, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

Congrats To Gautam Gambhir!!! He has returned to form and how!!! An amazing century playing well against the fast bowlers and spinners alike, played out a testing new ball spell and then hit out against the spinners, an extremely good news for Indian Cricket

Posted by   on (February 16, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

What now as he has scored 100 nw........... hope its back in form and improvement in technique or jst..... mere bad aus team in past 15 yrs......... as we are looking for SA tour ahead.........

Posted by kc69 on (February 16, 2013, 8:08 GMT)

One simple question...When was the last time Gautam Gambhir won a test match for India single handedly,or atleast with a huge partnership with someone else,Or atleast batted through to save some pride for team in tough conditions?..i can't recollect any,but can anyone please?

Posted by kc69 on (February 16, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

Gautam Gambhir will still be of no use cricketer.Its better if team India give atleast have the chances to S Dhawan compared to what Gautam Gambhir has got.

Posted by SlipsGlance on (February 16, 2013, 5:55 GMT)

@xylo, if talking an opposition player up is mind games, and talking an opposition player down is mind games, what could an Aussie skipper do that wouldn't be mind games? Sit mute at the press conference and refuse to answer questions? Or would that be mind games too?

Could it be that Clarke is basically a polite, honest guy who genuinely rates GG based on his past form? Too simple?

Posted by bipulkumar on (February 16, 2013, 5:16 GMT)

This India A team is far stronger than India team.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 16, 2013, 5:15 GMT)

@TheManID: Exactly, which is why India will NEVER be a strong team in test cricket. We always make selections on short term memory and ignore the bigger picture. To us, an individual batsman scoring a 100 is more important than the nation winning a series. So if Dhawan fails to impress and Gambir comes back for test # 3 and scores a shaky 70 or 80 odd, he will cement his position for the next 3 years without question. Such pathetic mentality will continue to cost India big time in test cricket because the Indian public love individual performances. Speaking of performances, Gambir has done virtually nothing following that world cup knock. I mean, in terms of match winning knocks in all 3 formats of the game.

Posted by glancedream on (February 16, 2013, 4:59 GMT)

those are talking about free wicket of shewag or tendulkar the player of their class will show in this series when they are deadly touch & form (mark my words) and gautam gambhir is class player but little in the air please gambhir get back to earth and gambhir was the highest run maker in both finals in the world cup (t20 2007 & 2011 odi)

Posted by   on (February 16, 2013, 4:12 GMT)

I'm a fan of GG, but I personally feel his run drought dried up. Not that he has a puny technique but he is a street-smart cricketer, he is smart guy & knows his limitations, he works his way out... Not to mention his knocks in both world cup finals.. It is not his past it is his present mindset that is troubling him... He really needs to take rest for some while rather than practicing too much

Posted by ThemanID on (February 16, 2013, 2:50 GMT)

If dhawan fails in his first 2 innings against Australia, gambhir will be back sadly. That's how selection works in India. And really, what have sehwag, zaheer, ishant sachin done in last 2 years. Also ashwin ain't a spinner anymore, against the likes of wi and nz at home he improves his bowling average. However, he can still be in the team because ATM he is the 2nd best Indian batsman in tests

Posted by nyc_missile on (February 16, 2013, 2:38 GMT)

Gambhir in the present situation cannot get into the team and rightfully so.He's been atrocious in tests for the last 3 yrs,although his ODI form has also dipped.But the one good quality I find in him is the leadership.He doesn't make excuses,accepts his failures,takes responsibility whenever he captains India or KKR.Also unlike the sphinx-like worthless Dhoni who doesn't care much about tests or test performances,Gambhir is expressive,pro-active on the ground.This team desperately such captains.

But then he has to do a heck of a lot with the bat to get into the team first.In a way you could say that paranoid Dhoni with help from Srini made sure that there was no way he could get into form in this series and thereby scuttled his chance to stake a claim for captaincy.

Posted by xylo on (February 16, 2013, 1:47 GMT)

I hope Gambhir gets to keep his place in the India A squad at least, rather than poking at a ball that is away from his body in his next 8 innings and being relegated to Pres XI. As for Clarke's statement, I believe this is a new way of "mind games" being employed by teams visiting India - say how awesome the Indian batting line up is... say how Tendulkar is actually God, and give them a huge boost of false confidence, and then see them fall flat on their face.

Posted by Leggie on (February 15, 2013, 20:42 GMT)

Gambhir's problem is not so much on the One days but a surfeit of T20s that he has played recently. Gambhir's physique does not make him a powerful hitter of the cricket ball. he is also not gifted enough with the timing of a Laxman or a Ganguly. So when he got into T20s, he "had" to do something clever to score runs quickly, and that's where the bad habit of dabbing to slip came into play. having used to this shot, it appears that he cannot resist playing this anymore. If Gambhir is to succeed at Tests, he mus give up T20s.

Posted by luvcricket_new_gen on (February 15, 2013, 20:15 GMT)

Dropping Gambhir was correct. Too many chances were given and this could be the last chance for Shewag as well. These 2 should forget tests. Their time is over and they have been a great pair during their times. India need new openers.

Posted by mrmonty on (February 15, 2013, 20:11 GMT)

Gambhir is one of those players that play very well for 2-3 seasons and raise expectations. But, then they are found out and they can't adapt either because they are too one-dimensional.

Posted by CoolCharlie on (February 15, 2013, 19:40 GMT)

Gambhir looks as he has no clue against swing as well as bounce and pace. He has been pathetic . It is the presence of Sehwag at the other end who made him successful. Coz when Sehwag was in flow, he also got runs. And when Sehwag lost his touch, Gambhir had no clue how to go about his innings. He was always a second fiddle to Sehwag. Once sehwag lost his touch, Gambhir faulty technique was all visible as now bowlers had all the time and mind to get him out.They would not need to bother about Sehwag. Gambhir is just an average batsman . Statistics prove my theory. Gambhir is not out of form. He was always Like this. But he is good against spin. That i give it to him.

Posted by basusri133b on (February 15, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

Gautam Gambhir has had three years to get his act together. He should have been canned much earlier. His dismal performance in the last three test series ( in England,Australia and again Vs England in India) is ample evidence of his diminished stature as a Test player. It is time to give other better players a chance. And, there is no indication,that he took the time and effort to correct his deficient technique. Endorsements by Australian players in no yard stick for his selection.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 15, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

Pup wants another free wicket in the form of Gambhir. Don't be so greedy, Pup!! Our selectors already gave you 2 free wickets in the form of Sehwag and Tendulkar. Indian selectors and fans can be very generous sometimes. You can win as long as you let Tendulkar or Sehwag score a 50 here or a century there. Bangladesh must be licking its chops!!

Posted by Angry_Bowler on (February 15, 2013, 18:16 GMT)

I hope the pitch is made for bowlers so that this guy fails to score big, else he will be back into the team and the story will repeat once again at the cost of other deserving players. I also want to see sewhag be dropped, he will play one in a blue moon a good knock and he will be in for the next ten matches without even a half century.

Posted by   on (February 15, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

Not a big fan of GG... but as an Indian Cricket Fan I want he gets back in his best groove and opens at his best in all forms for the country... Best of Luck Gauti...!!! :)

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