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

Hand injury puts Gambhir in doubt

45

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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • dubai_cricfan 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..

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • dubai_cricfan 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..

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • rsurya on December 26, 2010, 1:53 GMT

    If pujara is in form why not we utilise the fullest from him, instead of seeing raina play the same way to get out. Indian team relies on a spark sehwag start, steady tendulkar, saving laxman and mainly, a weak opposition who loses all their 20 wickets for a funny bowling. If sreesanth cant bowl even a single delivery which surprises the batsan which morkel and steyn does for every ball, then the only way to get amla and kallis out is they themselves feel pity for sreesanth and ishanth and get out. I dont know how sreesanth become a recognised test bowler for India. Isanth is our fate. srikanth is great.

  • peterss on December 25, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    Vijay will fare better than gautham gambhir since he has got better technique and can pair up with viru better. Vijay should play the game anyways, either in place of Gambhir or raina. Shoudl be selected ahead of pujara and raina.

  • MasterClass on December 25, 2010, 22:11 GMT

    Vijay didn't look all too convincing against Aus in the Bangalore test match (2nd innings) where he shared a match-winning partnership with Pujara, but still had quite a few streaky shots against a 2nd rate Aus attack on a 5th day sub-continent pitch. So while I like Vijay and hope he can perform to this talent, I have my doubts if he will be able to stand-up against Steyn and Co in seaming conditions. If he does play he will need plenty of moral support form Sehwag and his idol Dravid. I sincerely wish best of luck to him. Pujara on the other had looked fluent and forceful. His footwork was assured and shots crisp and superbly placed. In particular the several pull shots he played were immaculate and resembled Ponting in their flare and authority. What can i say, but that I'm dying to see him action again. I believe Dhoni/Kirsten made a big blunder by not playing Pujara in the NZ series, and also deprived Indian fans of a real treat!

  • on December 25, 2010, 21:54 GMT

    shewag ,gauti,dravid,sachin,pujara,laxman,dhoni,harbhajon,ishant,shresant,zaher or shewag,dravid,pujara,sachin,vijay,laxman,dhoni,harbhajon,ishant,sresant,zaher if gauti injured then dravid should open....vijay come after sachin... if zaher not fit..then.... i would prefer nehra,munaf,proveen,rp singh...unfortunately nobody there.... yadav ve much pace then Unadkat....lol

  • on December 25, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    if pujara in y not vijay. Y ppl hate vijay i dunoo . He has an average of 42 in tests and scored a century in his last match. Plz dont say bad about him. He performed well in champions leaugue in south africa also. He is a consistent run getter in domestic. He is the ideal replacement. He has done no harm to the team. He already showed his worth as an back up opener.Vijay is a man of elegance. Superb timing. He is sure to make steyn and morkel wandering. wait and c. India always bounces back,tat is their nature. Beware of zaheer smith. U going to get injured your finger are u will get bowled from him quickly when you enter your crease

  • Leggie1977 on December 25, 2010, 20:44 GMT

    I would really love to see Murali Vijay play tomorrow whether Gambhir plays or not. I guess he will be better than Raina in these conditions. If Gambhir plays, Vijay should be sent in @ #3 pushing Dravid to #6. Although exciting, Shewag should try to curb his attacking instincts intially & should build a big innings. If Gambhir sits out, play Vijay as opener & send Pujara @ #3. I really want to see Dravid @ #6..

  • thrd_man on December 25, 2010, 20:30 GMT

    dude i really feel he vijay can make a difference like how he did in the champions league 20-20.lets just give the lad a chance.who knows he can just come with the odds.lets be a little optimistic abt him.by the way a green top for durban does not sound good for indians,really.forget vijay,can even sachin survive some hostile bowling from steyn and co. on a green top?????thts to be seen.well fingers crossed if not a win india should at the most come out with a draw.i really dont mind india lossing this series 1-0.

  • on December 25, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    Murali Vijay - 8 Test,509 Runs ,Avg 42.41 and still he is a Back-up Opener... Suresh Raina - 8 Test,373 Runs , Avg 33.90 and no one has problems when he is in the Playing Eleven's......What is the reason u guys commenting against Vijay??? And Vijay is in not because there is no choice,its bcos he scored load of runs in First Class Cricket.

    A Kind request all those commenting here,Guys the world is watching all your comments,Dont spoil Our Own India's Pride with all your RACIAL words.

  • on December 25, 2010, 19:31 GMT

    So, my question is why Kohli is not given a chance in the tests ???? I am sorry to say but, Raina and Vijay are good players on such surfaces. Kohli is better technically.

  • dubai_cricfan on December 25, 2010, 19:29 GMT

    if gauti is not fit for tmrw please make dravid to open with sehwag...vijay cant make use of steyn and morkel for sure..he even struggle against kiwis in the last one day matches....so its better to go with dravid with sehwag followed by pujara,little master,vvs and dhoni....and make use of 4 fast bowlers instead of raina keeping in mind the bouncy and pace track in durban..i dont think a seventh batsman can do much if six top order fails..any way we cannot expect all players to perform.so just think that raina out for less runs...four fast bowlers and one spin attack can be useful as far as 20 wickets are concerned...

  • MasterClass on December 25, 2010, 17:57 GMT

    If Gauti can't play then Vijay will likely come in. But Dhoni may not opt for Pujara (instead of Raina) because he may not want to make too many changes. That would be very very bad for India because Raina is the WEAK LINK in the batting. I hope Dhoni goes with Pujara regardless of the Gambhir injury. Lets see....of course being a huge Gambhir fan I hope he plays, because he's begun to show some form again!

  • ToTellUTheTruth on December 25, 2010, 17:45 GMT

    "on a green, rock-solid pitch, with overhead conditions likely to contribute to swing and seam movement. " - a.k.a. India's doom spelled. Dang. Come on boys. For once show up and silence all these critics.

  • kishorecv on December 25, 2010, 17:41 GMT

    Murali Vijay came a cropper in the home series vs South Africa. Conveniently everybody has forgotten how he had gotten out. Now at their den, Murali Vijay is bound to hop and jump to no avail. He will be thoroughly exposed just like Raina was. I have no doubts regarding that.

  • on December 25, 2010, 17:36 GMT

    We need to try the Vijay-Pujara duo combination at Durban ,it worked fab against Australia ,who knows it might pull off a win if the bowlers do a decent job .

  • on December 25, 2010, 17:33 GMT

    Sorry, sending Vijay in on a Durban pitch against Steyn and Morkel is not fair to Vijay, his techniques is not good enough for a Durban pitch, Rahul has to open if Gambhir is unfit. Most likely it will not happen but imagine if he fails and India fairs badly then whose career will be on the line...?

  • JustOUT on December 25, 2010, 17:16 GMT

    Vijay against Dale n Morkel. Oh.. I can't stop laughing. Dude your fit only for CSK. Go and jump there.

  • on December 25, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    Dhoni starts playing mind games

  • gargi_vizag on December 25, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    it might be a blessing in disguise for the Indians, i would prefer Pujara in place of Raina, Vijay & Pujara both might be able to handle the short ball better than Gambhir and Raina.

  • on December 25, 2010, 16:16 GMT

    noooooo... not vijay... we need somwone else :( :(

  • slimabh on December 25, 2010, 16:14 GMT

    Vijay is no use. He has not proved in Tests or One Days outside the sub-continent. He will fail miserably in this test if he plays. In the last few one dayers even, his strike has been appalling.. I think he should just stick to playing for Chennai in IPL. Looks like the comments posted here are mainly by Chennai people and obviously they favor him as an opener instead of Gautam Gambhir.

  • Crikee on December 25, 2010, 15:57 GMT

    Bad Luck - Gambhir got injured. But Murali Vijay, I think, is an ample replacement. And he has also made good use of the chances he has got. He has got all the shots in the book, and temperament too. So - if Gambhir misses out - India are still in with a chance. Best of luck, Murali Vijay - and India.

  • on December 25, 2010, 14:59 GMT

    India is No.1.... we can prove it tomo.... Go india go viru go

  • kris_mg on December 25, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    if that happens then it will be a really big blow for India even before the match starts.. Gambhir is known for his tenaciousness and he is always a better option than Vijay. I like Vijay but he is pretty shacky against the short stuff and Stein and Morkel are not going to give him any second to settle down..

  • Raju_Iyer on December 25, 2010, 14:43 GMT

    Hope Gauti is fit to resume his battles with Morkel, on the other hand great opportunity for Vijay too. Best wishes to the final XI. Go India, go!

  • Tim40621 on December 25, 2010, 14:36 GMT

    Hopefully he will be fine to play because 1 vs 2 in the world you want the best of each against each other. But if he doesnt make it what great chance for the talent that is Murli Vijay!

  • hear on December 25, 2010, 13:57 GMT

    Murali Vijay is an elegant batsman who is loves to play on the backfoot, more like Ricky Ponting........

    He SHOULD enjoy the bouncy conditions in South Africa, but since the pitch is green,the ball will swing too and he might not have a good time.....

  • on December 25, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    Doesn't matter. India has a decent replacement in M Vijay to replace Gambhir. I would like to see Pujara repalcing Rain too at Durban

  • on December 25, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    Vijay can make a difference-lets see.

  • on December 25, 2010, 12:48 GMT

    No Problems. Vijay is a technically a good batsman with a very good temperament. So it wont be a big miss.

  • timelord24 on December 25, 2010, 12:41 GMT

    gautam seems to perennially on the injured list just like zaheer khan. lets hope we drop raina tomorrow and go with 5 bowlers.

  • on December 25, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    This will be ACID TEST for Murali Vijay.. Hope He will succeed with flying colors.. All the Best Murali Vijay..

  • sankar800 on December 25, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    Gambhir's injury is a blow to India! Vijay must use this oppurtunity and prove his worth! Sehwag's role now has become more and more important!

  • on December 25, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    may be a blessing in disguise

  • Srini.M on December 25, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    Nothing is going in indian way..... May santa claus do some wonders in Durban....

  • on December 25, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    its gonna be a huge loss if gambhir sits out...he showed real positive signs in d last test..his footwork was gud..he was nt scared of stepping out..this showed his confidence..m nt sure if m vijay can perform in dese conditions..he takes time to adjust..n hes not gud in early part of his innings..he is gud contender to be caught out in slips..!!

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  • on December 25, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    its gonna be a huge loss if gambhir sits out...he showed real positive signs in d last test..his footwork was gud..he was nt scared of stepping out..this showed his confidence..m nt sure if m vijay can perform in dese conditions..he takes time to adjust..n hes not gud in early part of his innings..he is gud contender to be caught out in slips..!!

  • Srini.M on December 25, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    Nothing is going in indian way..... May santa claus do some wonders in Durban....

  • on December 25, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    may be a blessing in disguise

  • sankar800 on December 25, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    Gambhir's injury is a blow to India! Vijay must use this oppurtunity and prove his worth! Sehwag's role now has become more and more important!

  • on December 25, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    This will be ACID TEST for Murali Vijay.. Hope He will succeed with flying colors.. All the Best Murali Vijay..

  • timelord24 on December 25, 2010, 12:41 GMT

    gautam seems to perennially on the injured list just like zaheer khan. lets hope we drop raina tomorrow and go with 5 bowlers.

  • on December 25, 2010, 12:48 GMT

    No Problems. Vijay is a technically a good batsman with a very good temperament. So it wont be a big miss.

  • on December 25, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    Vijay can make a difference-lets see.

  • on December 25, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    Doesn't matter. India has a decent replacement in M Vijay to replace Gambhir. I would like to see Pujara repalcing Rain too at Durban

  • hear on December 25, 2010, 13:57 GMT

    Murali Vijay is an elegant batsman who is loves to play on the backfoot, more like Ricky Ponting........

    He SHOULD enjoy the bouncy conditions in South Africa, but since the pitch is green,the ball will swing too and he might not have a good time.....