India news October 25, 2012

'We still average 53 as an opening pair' - Gambhir

ESPNcricinfo staff

Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag haven't put on a century stand in Tests in nearly two years raising questions over the pair's future but Gambhir has insisted they are still the best openers in India.

Gambhir and Sehwag have been among India's most durable Test opening pairs, and one of only five combinations to put on more than 4000 Test runs at the top of the order but their form has dwindled over the past couple of years.

"We still average 53 as an opening pair, which I think is one of the best when it comes to opening the batting in world cricket," Gambhir told PTI. "There are not many opening pairs who have played for such a long time and have an average of 53 per innings. And if 53 is not good enough, I don't know what is good enough.

"As an opening pair, you average 50 per inning and if you are giving 50 runs start in every innings, you can't do more and if people talk about not contributing, I will suggest them to look at the stats."

While their overall figures are still pretty good, the pair are under scrutiny due to their performance on India's abysmal tour of Australia last season, when Gambhir and Sehwag's highest stand in eight innings was 26.

Gambhir also hasn't scored a Test century in nearly three years, though he insisted that shouldn't be the criterion by which a batsman should be judged.

"It's not about scoring a hundred every time, it's about contributing when you are opening the batting. It's not only me, a lot of other people have also not scored tons.

"People only discuss about scoring a hundred, I don't know why. I got 93 in South Africa, 85-odd in Australia...15 or seven more and people would not be discussing my hundred."

Gambhir and Sehwag are expected to be India's openers for the home Test series against England which starts in mid-November.