India’s tour continued to be plagued by ill-luck with opener Gautam Gambhir being a doubtful starter for the second Test. MS Dhoni revealed the team would take a call after assessing how the opener felt during practice on Thursday.
The news from the nets was not good at all. From all indications, Gambhir has not recovered sufficiently from the hit on his elbow and is likely to miss the game. Matt Prior’s full-blooded pull shot had caught Gambhir’s left elbow while he was fielding at short leg on the fourth day of the Lord’s Test.
Gambhir tried to bat in the nets but left in discomfort soon. He came back after a break to face throwdowns but quit after playing around a dozen balls.
“We will give him some time, but as of now Gambhir's in discomfort,” said Dhoni. Meanwhile, pace spearhead Zaheer Khan was confirmed by Dhoni to have been ruled out of the game because of a hamstring injury.
Gambhir's absence may upset the balance of the batting line-up. Rahul Dravid or Suresh Raina will be the likely candidate to open the innings with Abhinav Mukund. Dravid is better equipped for the job, but the Indian team management might not want to risk him as he is being seen as the key man in the batting line-up. It will be a lucky break for Yuvraj Singh, who will bat in the middle-order.
Dhoni is likely to opt for Sreesanth as Zaheer’s replacement as he brings the pace factor and is a better fielder, too, than Munaf Patel. The Indian team will be under pressure but the skipper asked his team to look at the positives. “Injuries are beyond our control… let’s look at it as a chance for someone to become a hero,” said Dhoni.
Dhoni admitted that the team had not had an ideal preparation. “It’s not just about warm-up matches. You want your players to be playing international matches and that can only happen if they are fit and part of the side for a couple of months. You want them to have two or three games before they play a big series.”