It’s not the ideal way to prepare. But thanks to an already crammed international cricket calendar that has become even tighter since the advent of the Indian Premier League and the Champions League Twenty20, many of India’s cricketers have been left with little choice than to prepare for their crucial Australia tour during their home ODI series against West Indies.
Naturally, with one eye on the Boxing Day Test, if there is one man the team management would be hoping to come up with a real big knock, it would undoubtedly be Gautam Gambhir.
No doubt the Delhi left-hander contributed handsomely during India’s triumphant World Cup campaign, with the 97 he scored in the final against Sri Lanka being the highlight. However, since that famous knock on April 2, it has been a topsy-turvy ride for the top-order batsman.
After being involved in a controversy over his shoulder injury that he suffered during the IPL, Gambhir missed India’s tour to West Indies. And when he returned in England, he was injured again on the field and had to return mid-way through the ODI series.As a result, despite featuring in seven Tests and 15 ODIs this year, the run-machine doesn’t have a century to his name this year. And going into a tour as important as the one Down Under, Gambhir would certainly love to get at least one during the remaining four ODIs.
It’s not that he hasn’t been batting badly. While he failed to capitalise on the good starts he got during the three-Test series against West Indies last month, Gambhir edged one behind the stumps early on in the first ODI - a “soft dismissal” according to skipper Virender Sehwag.
In the first week of December last year, Gambhir, leading in the absence MS Dhoni, got back-to-back tons during the home series against New Zealand. He will be more than keen to repeat the same feat by raising his bat in Visakhapatnam on Friday.