rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » Should Gautam Gambhir be rested?

Should Gautam Gambhir be rested?

Last updated on: November 10, 2010 23:11 IST

Should Gautam Gambhir be rested?

     Next

Next
Bikash Mohapatra
When Gautam Gambhir fell cheaply in both innings in the opening Test against New Zealand at Motera it hardly was a surprise.

The Delhi player has struggled with form and fitness for most parts of the year.

His contribution, or the lack of it, in the Test (21 and 0) that eventually ended in a draw raised a question that has been doing the rounds quite frequently of late:

Should Gambhir be rested?

The duck he registered in the second innings at Motera was his third in his last five innings.

This number assumes significance in the context that there have been just four innings in Gambhir's Test career where he has failed to open his account.

The 29-year-old has aggregated just 86 runs in his last nine innings.

This is in sharp contrast to the last two seasons when his cumulative aggregate was a whopping 1,861 runs in 13 Tests (see table below).

Gambhir's performance in the last three years:

 

 

 

Year M Inns Runs Avg
2008 8 16 1134 70.88
2009 5 9 727 90.88
2010 7 13 293 24.42
Overall 34 61 2846 49.93


Image: Gautam Gambhir
Photographs: Reuters
     Next

Then started the rut...

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
Gambhir started the year on a promising note, carrying on the good work that he had been doing in the last two years.

His aggregate of 207 runs in the two Tests against Bangladesh in January, including a superlative 116 against Bangladesh in the opening Test at the Zohur Ahmed stadium helped India to a comprehensive series win.

Then started the rut.

In the following home series against South Africa, Gambhir averaged a measly 12.66, scoring just 38 runs.

His poor run of form has continued since.

If his performance in the lone Test he played on the tour of Sri Lanka was bad, then it was no better against Australia at home either.

ALSO READ: Dravid's Bangalore jinx continues...


Image: Gautam Gambhir

Prev     Next

Sehwag got motivated when Gambhir got the ICC award

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
The left-hander had been in stupendous form in the last two years, his impressive batting efforts taking him to World No 1 in the Test rankings.

While Gambhir aggregated 1,134 runs (at an average of 70.88) in eight Tests in 2008, the following year he averaged a Bradmanesque 90.88, aggregating 727 runs in just five Tests.

Besides helping India register a number of significant wins, his batting earned Gambhir a lot of accolades.

He was named ICC Test Cricketer of the Year 2009, an honour that opening partner Virender Sehwag admitted, inspired him to improve his performance.

"I got motivated when Gambhir got this award," Sehwag said after being named ICC Test Cricketer of the Year 2010 at Bangalore last month.

ALSO READ: Tendulkar juggernaut rolls on


Image: Gautam Gambhir

Prev     Next

'Injury has definitely affected his performance'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
So what went wrong?

Well, Gautam seems to have lost the battle of wounded knee.

Kiran More, former wicket=keeper and once chairman of the Indian selectors, feels the recurring injury has hampered Gambhir's batting.

"Injury has definitely affected his performance," says More, adding "The tour of New Zealand is the third time that he has tried to make a comeback this year."

Gambhir has been nursing a knee injury for some time now.

He flew home mid-way through the Sri Lanka series in May and has been out of action on a regular basis since.

He returned to play the first Test against Australia at Mohali before the injury resurfaced, ruling him out of the rest of the series.

ALSO SEE: Raina rehearsed, repetitive and restrained


Image: Gautam Gambhir

Prev     Next

Motera did little to justify Gambhir's case

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
As Gambhir spent time recovering at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, his replacement Murali Vijay hit his maiden Test hundred and put on a crucial triple century stand with Sachin Tendulkar to help India recover from a poor start against Australia at Bangalore.

Gambhir's place in the side was not in dispute and he was expectedly named in the Indian squad for the Motera Test.

Vijay's ton has put him under pressure to deliver.

'I am coming back from injury. It's always difficult recovering from a major injury,' Gambhir was quoted as saying ahead of the Motera Test.

'Only when you spend considerable time in the middle do you get to know how it is shaping up for you,' he added.


Image: Gautam Gambhir

Prev     Next

'India's best opener after Gavaskar'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
Many believe Gambhir's poor run is just a passing phase.

"What he has given to the team in the last two years cannot be counted out," says More, adding, "Such a phase comes in the career of every player."

"It is the first time that he is going through such a phase. Others in the team are doing well. It is not that the team is suffering because of his poor run."

Sehwag concurs.

"He has been India's best opener after Gavaskar," Sehwag said during the ICC awards ceremony last month, huge praise for his opening partner.


Image: Gautam Gambhir

Prev     Next

'He will definitely come back very strong'

Prev     More
Prev

More
With the World Cup four months away, Gambhir being dropped from the Indian team is a difficult thing to imagine.

Some rest may just do the trick.

"Before the World Cup we can't take many chances. I would still pick Gambhir in the team despite his recent form," says More.

"Just one bad season and a few innings without runs don't make him a lesser player," argues More, adding, "Team India needs him very badly in the days ahead."

"He will definitely come back very strong."


Image: Gautam Gambhir

Prev     More