The ‘wise men’ in BCCI, for a change, took a positive stand of recalling the old ‘workhorse’, Gautam Gambhir into the squad for the second and third Tests in the ongoing series.
Gambhir, 34, who was making a comeback to the Test squad after a hiatus of a little over two years was given the ‘golden opportunity’ based on his recent performance in the Duleep Trophy 2016, in which he had amassed 356 runs at an average of 71.20 from five innings. He also led his team, India Blue, to lift the trophy.
The southpaw, having played in 100 Test innings and having scored at a decent average of 42.58, had the ‘top-order’ experience his side, having played every opposition and almost at every venue, more the Garden of Eden.
Having led Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL, Gambhir was very much a local boy and knew the surface of Eden Gardens, like the ‘back of his hand’.
The ‘think-tank’ of Team India, however, had a different thought process. They coolly disregarded all these factors and picked up Shikhar Dhawan to replace the injured KL Rahul, in the Playing XI.
Dhawan, of late, had a dismal outing in the recently concluded 3-Test series at West Indies, belting out only 138 runs in 4 innings at an average of 34.50 with an innings of 84 runs in the first Test.
Playing the Duleep Trophy, Dhawan had played in just a single game scoring 29 runs in each innings.
It is really difficult to understand how the think-tank of Team India decide on the Playing XI. Let the past records need not be taken into consideration but at least the recent performances should have been given due weightage and importance.
Let alone and career performances, in the spectrum of recent performance also Gambhir is ‘miles ahead’ of Dhawan and the decision not to include him (Gambhir) in the Playing XI is definitely unjustified.
Well, Dhawan has already responded to the decision of the ‘think-tank’ by facing 10 deliveries and scored 1 run, before he was bowled by Henry Nicholls, with a back of a length delivery very close to off-stump, which he tried to cut with an angled bat but ended up chopping the ball on to his stumps, giving the Kiwis their first success. This happened in the 10th ball of the match.
Dhawan returned to the pavilion and would have nothing more to do till India finished their first knock, which could still be a couple of days away.
Ajit Agarkar, the former India speedster, has gone on record to say “It would be unfair to Dhawan, if Gambhir plays”. Maybe Agarkar need to understand the ground realities. Would he now ‘eat his words”?
Did the Indian team Chief Coach, Anil Kumble and the skipper, Virat Kohli, falter in their approach and decision making?
Food for thought…….!