A lot has changed in the Indian team since Gautam Gambhir last played for India. The team has gone through a total transformation with a new captain and new players. The southpaw played one of the most important parts in helping India reach the pinnacle of cricket in every format. He starred in the finals of both the World tournaments, World T20 2007 and ICC World Cup 2011 namely, that India won and scored heavily during the end of the last decade when India achieved the number one ranking in Test cricket for the first time.
Gambhir, it seemed, was destined to become another legend from the country which has produced batting demi-gods but his form deserted him after the World Cup in 2011. He was given ample chances to prove himself but he failed and his turbulent relationship with Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni did not help him either. He last played for India at the Oval in 2014 where he only managed three runs in his two innings. And ever since then he has never been considered by the selectors for a spot in the team.
He is currently busy playing the Duleep Trophy and has been one of the best performers in the tournament.
So now the question is that whether the opener should be considered once again for the Indian Test team?
At 34, age is not on Gambhir’s side and with the Indian team looking to build a team of youngsters; this factor can work against Gambhir. The likes of Kohli, Rahane, Rahul is the core of the team and so the team management might give the youngsters an extended run to get accustomed to international cricket.
But in the past, we have seen that every top performing Test team had several senior players who played a vital role for the team. Take the example of Australian batsman Mike Hussey who made his debut at 30. He was one of the star performers for Australia in the last decade and his age was never an issue even when the Australian team were looking to build a new team after the retirements of stalwarts like Glenn McGrath, Mathew Hayden, Justin Langer.
Here we are not saying that Gambhir would be as effective as Hussey but with the Indian team scheduled to play 13 Tests in the coming home season, a seasoned campaigner like Gambhir can always prove beneficial. Gambhir is also one of the best players of spin in the country and with the Indian team expected to prepare spinning pitches, Gambhir can be a vital player.
Now, coming to his current form. The left-handed batsman has starred with the willow for India Blue in the on-going Duleep Trophy. The Delhi batsman has scored an impressive 320 runs in four innings. His scores, in the ongoing Duleep Trophy, reads 90, 59,77 and 94.
While he has been in terrific form, what is worth mentioning is the fact that his craving for more runs!
In order to revive his international career, he has also made some fine adjustments to his technique and is reaping the rewards.
India’s current opener Shikhar Dhawan’s form is not that good and with a long season ahead, Gambhir can be considered at some stage over next 4 months.
Here are the career statistics of Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan:
Shikhar Dhawan Gautam Gambhir
Matches: 22 56
Runs: 1446 4046
Average: 40.16 42.58
100s: 04 09
50s: 03 21
HS: 187 206