Gambhir, Laxman fit for NZ Test opener: Dhoni | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Gambhir, Laxman fit for NZ Test opener: Dhoni

The Indian team's injury crisis seems to be finally ending with skipper MS Dhoni today announcing the return of batsmen Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman for the opening cricket Test against New Zealand starting on Thursday.

cricket Updated: Nov 03, 2010 16:33 IST
PTI
Test series

The Indian team's injury crisis seems to be finally ending with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday announcing the return of first-choice batsmen Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman for the opening cricket Test against New Zealand starting on Thursday.

Their return has forced the team to drop Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara but Dhoni feels the move would not be a de-motivating factor for the duo.

"As far as Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara are concerned, they replaced Gautam Gambhir and V V S Laxman. And when you have players like that, when they come back into the team they will find a place in the final eleven. I don't think it's very de-motivating (for Vijay and Pujara)," Dhoni said at the pre-match media conference.

Vijay utilised the opportunity he got in Gambhir's absence and slammed his maiden Test hundred (139) and also put on a crucial triple century stand with Sachin Tendulkar to help India recover from a poor start and win over Australia in their previous Test at Bangalore last month.

Pujara too played in an attacking fashion to score a dazzling 72 in the same game when India chased a tricky 200-plus fourth innings target and achieved it with plenty to spare to complete a 2-0 whitewash over Australia.

Dhoni said both the youngsters knew they will have to sit out with the main players back and available for selection in the final eleven for the clash at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera.

"What's important is they have also realized the fact once these players are back they will be in the playing eleven and they will have to miss out the game. At the same time it's good that they got the chance to play at the international level.

"Good thing is that Vijay has always done well whenever he's played for the Indian team. And Pujara also, in the last game he batted really well in the second innings," the India skipper said.

He also advised the duo to utilise the free time away from action to work on their strengths and iron out any weaknesses.

"They can work on their strengths as well as their weaknesses, which they think will affect them in performing very well. It's a good exposure and I don't think it's de-motivating they won't be playing in this game," he added.

For Dhoni, it was not the inconsistent displays of the seamers bowling in tandem with spearhead Zaheer Khan which is the worrying factor, but the injuries that have forced the team to constantly shuffle the pace pack.

"For me the major concern is about injuries because we have important series coming up. After this series we are going to South Africa and the World Cup is also coming up. If you see the last few series we have played, we have missed key players, especially the bowlers.