Gautam Gambhir disappoints in his return to the Indian Test side

gautam gambhir test“Excitement of a debutant, certainty of experienced, nervousness of a novice…am feeling it all. Eden here I come loaded with ambitions,” Gambhir tweeted when selectors announced him as KL Rahul’s replacement after the Karnataka opener was ruled out of the series due to a hamstring injury.

Gambhir’s return to the Indian side after two years has been dramatic. When the Sandeep Patil-led selection committee sat down for its last assignment, choosing the side for the India-New Zealand Test series, there were speculations that Gambhir would make the cut on basis of his Duleep Trophy form. That did not happen. Gambhir follows an immense fan following and therefore there were disappointments followed by curses but it seemed the approach was clear that India were not looking back.

Rahul suffered a hamstring injury after first Test and Gambhir was drafted in. Ahead of the Eden Gardens’ Test, there were speculations: will it be Gambhir or his fellow Delhiite and southpaw Shikhar Dhawan who will feature in the XI? Kohli revealed the suspense at toss when he said named Dhawan as the “natural replacement”.

Two failures from Dhawan would still not mean that the doors had opened for Gambhir. The uncertainty loomed but in the second innings of the Kolkata Test, Dhawan received two blows on his thumb from Trent Boult that led to a minor fracture. The gates opened. It meant Gambhir would play the 3rd Test. Here he was.

The return

Gambhir’s Test career has two parts to it: one that resembles the legendary Jack Hobbs and the other, promising yet disappointing Martin Guptill. Many will want to kill me for putting these two in the same line in Test cricket but that has been Gambhir’s tale.

He worked with Justin Langer at Perth and altered his technique. He now has a more open stance and it was visible that he was at ease when playing fast bowlers. In style, he got off the mark when he cut a short-and-wide delivery from Matt Henry through the deep point region. He looked sure of his off-stump and New Zealand skipper decided to retort with short-ball technique and eventually removed him. He provided fans ‘moments’; he won them but the larger battle was lost. He failed to make an impact, a big score.