New Delhi, Sep 28: Putting an end to speculations over Gautam Gambhir's Test career, the BCCI on Tuesday (Sep 27) recalled the left-handed opener into the Indian side after opener KL Rahul was ruled out of the series against New Zealand.
But Gambhir's entry in the side has also triggered a debate about who is going to open the Indian innings at Kolkata for there are 3 specialist openers in the Indian side.
Vijay has performed well in the previous match against New Zealand in Kanpur. The Tamil Nadu batsman smashed half centuries in both the innings of the first Test, hence there is hardly any threat to his position.
With Vijay being skipper Virat Kohli's first choice for the opener's job, there is a fight between the two Delhi-lads i.e. Gambhir and Dhawan for the second opener's place.
Why BCCI chose Gambhir?
The 34-year-old Gambhir has so far played 56 Tests, scoring over 4,000 runs. He recently impressed in the Duleep Trophy, having compiled four back-to-back half centuries including 2 ninety plus scores. His performance during the IPL was also commendable. The selectors, perhaps, kept his performance in the domestic season in mind to give him another chance.
Also, Gambhir has an enormous experience of playing at Kolkata because he leads the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL and understands the pitch and conditions very well. Thus, he might just get the reward of playing at Eden Gardens, which is his second home to the left-handed-batsman.
Another argument in Gambhir's favour is the fact that Dhawan hasn't really lived up to the expectations in the recent past. On the West Indies tour, Dhawan's highest score was 84 in 4 innings (84, 27, 1, 26) he played. Thus, Dhawan's lean patch might just turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Gambhir.
However, there is still uncertainty over Gambhir's chances of making it to the Playing XI due to following reasons:
Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir haven't had the best of bondings as both the aggressive Delhi-lads were involved in ugly on-field spats during IPL. Thus, Virat's decision over Gambhir will be under tight scrutiny.
Many Gambhir supporters in the past blamed former Test skipper MS Dhoni for the left-handed-batsman's ouster from the squad. They have consistently criticised Dhoni over social media for ignoring Gambhir.
Thus, there won't be an iota of doubt if same people start blaming Kohli for ignoring Gambhir deliberately in Kolkata Test, citing the past relation between the two players posed hurdle in Gambhir's selection.
Kohli might want to give Dhawan, another chance:
Shikhar Dhawan was part of the Indian squad during West Indies tour as well where the left-handed batsman's performance wasn't impressive.
Since, the Delhi-dasher was given a preference over Gambhir during the team's selection in the first place, there is every possibility that skipper Kohli might give Dhawan yet another chance to prove himself.
Thus, it's hard to imagine why Kohli will think about experimenting if Gambhir's form didn't help him win a place in the 15-man squad.
Gambhir's chances of playing in 2nd Test would increase if Dhawan gets injured or sick because Shikhar has been team's first choice as an opener in Rahul's absence.
But there is no denying the fact that a healthy competition between players will only benefit Indian cricket. Thus, even if Gambhir doesn't get a chance at Kolkata, he must not lose hope because India have a long Test season ahead and injuries/sicknesses are part of a player's life.