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Injury to Rahul and Dhawan makes Gautam Gambhir a certain choice to partner Vijay at the top

gautamIndore: At Kolkata, Gautam Gambhir was the last to get into the nets on the eve of the Test, a sure sign that he wasn't going to figure in the match. On Thursday, he was the first man to bat in the nets and that might imply that he's certain to play in the Indore Test. He could miss out only if India decide to promote Cheteshwar Pujara or Ajinkya Rahane to open with Murli Vijay. India batting coach Sanjay Bangar virtually confirmed that Gambhir would open.

"Injuries to KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan have made sure that there is a place for him," Bangar said.

What if Gambhir does very well? Will he be dropped if first choice injured Rahul and Dhawan are back for the rest of the home season? There are 10 Tests to be played this season after the Indore Test. Bangar said Gambhir would continue to be part of the team's plan. "He is something of a quality performer with a proven record against spin bowling and the number of Test matches we are going to play in India, he becomes a very important player at the top of the order," Bangar said.

Gambhir was picked up after showing good form in the Duleep Trophy, the domestic first class tournament featuring the top performing players in the country. He scored 356 runs in the competition from five innings at average of 71.20, and was dismissed only once without getting to a half century.

According to media reports, a BCCI insider said Gambhir was tough to ignore in the current situation given his form and experience. "Gambhir is definitely under consideration because he has been doing extremely well, and even the team management feels that with 12-13 Test matches coming up there needs to be some experience," the official said.

Gambhir (34) played his last Test in August 2014, on India's tour to England. He aggregated 25 runs on that tour, from four innings, as India went from a 1-0 lead to losing the five match series 3-1. That series too was a comeback for him as he was dropped in 2012 and missed all of India's Test matches in 2013 due to sharp decline in form. Before that, he was one half of India's most successful opening partnership with Virender Sehwag. The pair scored 4412 runs, the most by an opening pair for India in Tests.