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Will India be flexible & tweak the plan?

In the midst of these ifs and buts, what's almost certain is that Gambhir, whose turn is it to rest after playing two successive games, is set to continue. Amol Karhadkar reports.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2012 00:11 IST

Just before his stint with the bat in the nets on Saturday, Gautam Gambhir rolled his arm over with his dibbly-dobbly leg-spinners. Not that he is averse to bowling, but Gambhir has hardly done that over the last couple of weeks.

Was the opener, who has looked the most promising batsman in the tri-series so far, taking things lightly? Going by India's rotation policy thus far in the series, it is Gambhir's turn to rest on Sunday against Australia.

Or, was the dashing batsman, who has played a pivotal role in India topping the points table at the halfway stage, preparing himself to contribute with the ball tomorrow?

Though there was no official word on this, insiders indicated that Gambhir could explore the latter option. If that turns out to be the case at The Gabba, it would mean that either the rotation policy has been given a "minor change" or it has been "put on hold" at least for Sunday's game.

If the first case turns out to be true, either Virender Sehwag or Sachin Tendulkar could be rested on Sunday.

Raina may miss out
And if the policy is put on hold for a game, either Rohit Sharma or Suresh Raina - both of whom have failed to live up to their expectations - will miss out, ensuring that India's top three batsmen will be in the team.

In the midst of these ifs and buts, what's almost certain is that Gambhir, whose turn is it to rest after playing two successive games, is set to continue. Looking at the form he has struck in the last two games - where he got out in the nineties - it would be foolish to ask him to take a break.

With neither Sharma nor Raina, who have totalled 79 and 74 runs, respectively in four innings, making good use of the opportunities, it would be prudent to have all three openers take on Australia, who will be without skipper Michael Clarke.

Despite their inability to come up with a match-winning knock throughout the Australian summer, the likelihood of Tendulkar or Sehwag coming good is more than that of Rohit or Raina.

Looking at the stage of the tournament, where one bad game could put India in a spot of bother, the World Cup winners should make exceptions to the policy.

Will MS Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher be flexible? Or, will they stick to the mindset of not attempting to deviate from the plan?

Only the Gabba match will tell.