Why 'third opener' Gautam Gambhir was recalled to India's Test squad

May 29, 2014, 09:01 IST | Harit N Joshi

Once accidentally referred to as the reserve opener by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, southpaw batsman Gautam Gambhir finally earns a recall to India squad  after 2012, for five-Test series vs England in July

When India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni erroneously referred to Gautam Gambhir as the "third opener" before leaving for South Africa, it was clear that the left-hander is still very much in the scheme of things.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir 

It was finally proven yesterday when the Sandeep Patil-led selection committee, that met at a five-star hotel in Parel yesterday, picked Gambhir for the England Test series.

The 18-member squad will leave for the five-Test series, India's first five-Test tour of England in 55 years, in the last week of June. They will play two warm-up matches against Leicestershire and Derbyshire before the first Test in Nottingham from July 9.

Gambhir earned a recall after finding form in domestic matches and the ongoing Indian Premier League where his Kolkata Knight Riders have reached the final.

Another reason why Gambhir returned to the Test team after a one-and-a-half year gap is because Team India is woefully short of experience. Only skipper Dhoni and pacer Ishant Sharma have played Tests in England.

Gambhir did well to bounce back to form in IPL-7, especially after three consecutive ducks in the beginning.

Gidwani saw it coming
Delhi selector Hari Gidwani, who has watched Gambhir closely this season, said he was expecting a call-up. "I saw it coming with the way he is performing now.

I felt he was ready for India call-up after the innings (153 in second innings) that he played on a green Roshanara Club Ground wicket (against Haryana) in the last Ranji Trophy. It was a very elegant and fine innings.

"I vehemently spoke in favour of his inclusion into the Indian team at that time, but it did not happen. I am happy that he has been included for the England series," Gidwani told mid-day yesterday. 

Gidwani said Gambhir was never worried about his India recall. "He was just too focused on his game. I would say he was over-enthusiastic at times and felt he needed to relax a bit and enjoy his game. He was very keen to score runs wherever he played.

"He never spoke or discussed his India chances with anyone. He was too involved in the games he was playing. His only worry would have been to not stay out of international cricket for a very long time as you tend to get a bit lost then," said Gidwani.

Team India

MS Dhoni (capt), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohd Shami, Ishwar Pandey, Ishant Sharma, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron, W Saha, Pankaj Singh.

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