South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban December 25, 2010

Hand injury puts Gambhir in doubt

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Gautam Gambhir is not a sure starter for the crucial Boxing Day Test in Durban. He was hit around the knuckles of his left hand in the first Test, and it has swollen a bit. He had batted in the nets all three days of India's training leading into the Test. What is a concerning bit of news for India, though, is that the swelling seems to have grown on the match eve, and Gambhir spent a long time in the nets sitting on an ice box, with an icepack on his left hand.

If Gambhir doesn't make it, M Vijay will be his natural replacement. Looking at the contingency, India chose to give Vijay a long hit in the nets on the eve of the match. Vijay has done well in the past as a back-up opener, even when he has been called up on short notice. His last effort as replacement opener was 139 against Australia in Bangalore, which contributed to India's 2-0 series win. For somebody who always gets called up on short notice, Vijay has a healthy average of 42.41 in eight Tests. If he gets picked, though, this will be Vijay's biggest Test, on a green, rock-solid pitch, with overhead conditions likely to contribute to swing and seam movement.

India trail 1-0, and South Africa are looking to close out this series before they enter the next year.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Percy_Fender on December 26, 2010, 12:04 GMT

    I was never convinced that Vijay was a good opening batsmen against quality fast bowling. He seems hesitant to come in line with the ball or at least as Sunny Gavaskar would say, get beside the line of the ball. This reluctance to get beside the ball by Vijay was very glaringly obvious today as one saw him trying to look the part against Steyn and Morkel. It was pathetic viewing really.There was never any doubt in anyone's mind that he would go any minute. One had to be content with those moments of joy and relief when he used to snick the ball through the slips as he did many times today.I was amused to read someone write derogatorily against Gambhir. He has proved his worth against quality fast bowlers all career long. He is going through a rough patch which seems to have rendered him unfit as well. An opener should have courage like Dravid has. There are some who fall in this category but I think Ajinkya Rahane fits the requirement. He has the skills to match his courage as well.

  • dummy4fb on December 26, 2010, 8:53 GMT

    Gambhir gambhir and gambhir!!!!! gambhir has helped india alot....remember once he played 1 and a half day to draw and save a test...gambhir is far better than vijay nd pujara....he is best partner to viru....so gambhir should play....go gauti win the boxing test... dnt forget hw he played in 2nd innings of 1 test wid full confidence...gauti is da best

  • dummy4fb on December 26, 2010, 8:42 GMT

    @Dubai_CricFan..........dude I cannot agree more to ur comments. Also, to all those who feel M Vijay will be good only for CSK is just being unfair to him. I'm sure he has the temperament for Tests. Its just that I feel Gambhir shud play against SAf in this series instead of Vijay provided he's fit. As for people saying that if Pujara can play why not Vijay. What u guys need to understand is that Pujara is a middle order batman, Vijay is an opener. If u make an opener bat in the middle order, he will not be successful becoz the role of a middle order batsman is to build an innings and forget the fact that most of the batsman before him are back in the pavilion. An opener faces a different set of challenges. So the skill sets required in both the situations are different. So there is no question of playing an opener in the No.6 position. Also, making Pujara bat at No.3 against the Aussie was just a make shift movement and not a permanent one. So guys, plz stop arguing.

  • cyberobe on December 26, 2010, 7:52 GMT

    Fake or real, end result is same, stupid comments dwelling on that make no difference whatsoever.

  • TRUE_INDIAN_101 on December 26, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    Who knows whether it's Gambhir's call or Dhoni's. May be he is being protected so the his technique( if he has any) is not exposed and his chances for world cup remain safe. games these ppl play. Why can't the selectors choose" Horses for courses", take players whose techique suits fast pitches ?

  • adakbapak on December 26, 2010, 6:25 GMT

    @Sethil, no body is being RACIAL here.Why is that whenever someone says something against your people they become RACIAL.Here are some facts about wonderful sounding average of Vijay.

    Played 8 tests .6 in india ,2 in Srilanka. (all in SubContinent)

    India's 1st innings score in all these matches:

    441,726,544,233,643,707,436,495

    Average 1st innings score -528, Average per player : 528/11 = 48

    So his average is below team's average for the matches he played.I am not supporting Raina who is going through bad form now,but Vijay is there just for Srikant.And guess what he gets to play only in easy games.But I do hope Vijay gets to play this match and then after his innings I want to see all your comments again.BTW he is probably in best form of his life.So we cant have that as an excuse after the match :)

  • Vinoth_Ganguly on December 26, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    Pujara should be in the eleven instead of Raina........ If Gauti is not fit then Dravid should open and Pujara should bat at No.3 and this should happen otherwise for god sake nobody can save india with the attacks of Steyn and Morkel

  • Cricinfouser on December 26, 2010, 5:06 GMT

    i read almost all comments supporting vijay and against him....i found most of the persons supporting vijay are from chennai...please dont think like that..we all are indians...the person deserve should play not ur likes...and dudes we are playing against SA in thier conditions not against bangla or kiwis...actually its not fault of vijay or raina..its the selctors ruins india s pride..

  • dummy4fb on December 26, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    It's too simple. Ghambir wants to make sure his position is not lost ahead of worldcup. Taking no chances with this fake injury.

  • dummy4fb on December 26, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    Gautam Gambhir knows he can't take any more blows from Steyn and Morkel. Gambhir is a very smart and cunning cricketer. Against NZ, a very poor bowling attach, he said I want to win 5-0 and did it. Now he is afraid to even face SA. Go home Gambhir and all the useless Indian contigent.

    Without a doubt, Vijay is a better opening batsman than Gambhir and many others in the Indian team. His technique is very similar to Sir Sunny Gavaskar, only thing he needs the patience like our Little Master Sachin. Otherwise there is no point playing for India. Stay just with CSK.

    It is really disheartening to see none of the Indian batsmen sparing Sachin could score a century. Wakeup Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman. Raina please give way for Pujara. Please no more talk about useless Rohit Sharma, or the irritating Judas SIR RAVINDRA JADEJA. Yusuf Pathan should also be tried asap. Dhoni be bold to shuffle up quickly. Otherwise very soon, you will be shuffled out.

    Let us watch India drubbed once more.

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