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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Cricket

Gambhir relegated from standby to bystander
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, July 06, 2013
First Published: 00:19 IST(6/7/2013)
Last Updated: 09:47 IST(6/7/2013)

It was a double blow of sorts for Gautam Gambhir on Friday. For one, he was not considered for India’s short ODI away series to Zimbabwe, and, the left-handed batsman did not find a place in the India ‘A’ team to tour South Africa.

This came after the selectors had kept him among the standbys for the Champions trophy squad.

Gambhir, who had pinned his hopes on finding a place in one of the teams, if not both, has reasons to be disappointed.

The 31-year-old has not played for India since he was dropped after the one-day series against England in January but showed glimpses of form during the domestic T20 league, in which he was the Kolkata Knight Riders’ best batsman with 406 runs in 16 innings.

Hopes dashed
On the back of these figures and with plenty of cricket still left in him, Gambhir would have harboured hopes of a place in the ‘A’ team, which is seen as a trial for India’s tour to South Africa at the end of the year.

But by choosing to ignore Gambhir, the Sandeep Patil-led selection committee has dropped enough hints that it is looking beyond the left-hander.

The rise of Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan meant that Gambhir could find a place in the team as the third opener, but even that looks unlikely now.

Former medium-pacer Madan Lal felt Gambhir should be given a chance to make a comeback.

"I was surprised not find him in the ‘A’ team. I don’t know what the selectors have in mind, but if they want to take Gambhir to South Africa as the third opener, then he should have found a place in the ‘A’ team," said Lal.

‘Just concentrate’
“But these things happen when you are not performing well and others are doing well at the same time. He should just concentrate on scoring runs now,” he added.

While the selectors on Friday decided to rest injured skipper MS Dhoni along with other regulars - off-spinner R Ashwin and the pace trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav - the decision to not give Virat Kohli a break was baffling.

The Zimbabwe one-dayers will be Virat’s first full stint as captain, but like Dhoni, he too has been on the road for a long time.


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