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Gambhir hoping to clinch Test berth

cricket Updated: Mar 16, 2008 14:08 IST
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Indian top order batsman Gautam Gambhir is hopeful his solid showing in the tri-series win in Australia would earn a recall into the Test squad for the home series against South Africa.

The diminutive left-hander amassed 440 runs in 10 innings at an average of 55.00 to emerge the highest run-getter for India as they beat the formidable Australia 2-0 in the final series earlier this month.

"It is a great challenge for any cricketer when you go to Australia and come back as the highest run-getter," Gambhir told Reuters during the launch of his Delhi DareDevils team in the Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL) on Saturday.

"It gives you so much of confidence as an individual and you can take your game to another level," he said.

"That is very important."

Indian selectors will name the squad on Monday for the three-test series against South Africa which starts on March 26.

The 26-year-old attacking batsman had remained in the shadow of attacking batsman Virender Sehwag, also his Delhi captain, since his India debut four years ago.

Gambhir's failure to cement his spot was also partly due to his cheap dismissals caused by undue aggression early in his innings.

He grabbed his chance at the Twenty20 World Cup victory last September, top-scoring with 75 in the final against Pakistan.

A shoulder injury saw him omitted for the Australia test series, which India lost 2-1, but he showed excellent touch in guiding Delhi to the domestic Ranji Trophy title.

Once in Australia, skipper Mahendra Dhoni boosted his confidence by asking him to bat freely, assuring him a regular playing spot even if he failed.

Gambhir, who has played just 14 tests since his debut four years ago, is eager for another chance.

"When you are doing well you want to play all form of cricket," he said. "I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

"It (Australian tour) has given me an opportunity. Given my form, what I've done in Australia, that is very important."