Gambhir puts his hat in the ring for top job in Tests, says he is ready to take over

New Delhi: No doubt Gautam Gambhir led Kolkata Knight Riders very astutely to a title win in IPL-5 and now after leading the Kolkata franchisee to the coveted title, the Delhi southpaw has shown his willingness to take over the charge of the Indian Test team if given a chance.

Sensing the opportunity and riding high on the momentum post his IPL triumph with KKR, the Delhi batsman, who ended MS Dhoni's reign in the IPL, has put his hat in the ring for the top job in Tests.

Speaking to Headlines Today executive editor Rahul Kanwal on Hot Pursuit, Gambhir spelt his willingness to replace the Indian skipper, Dhoni, if given the responsibility by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“I would relish the opportunity to be Test captain. Who doesn't want to? But captaincy won't change my passion for the game,' said the southpaw in reply to a question.

After four years at the top job, Dhoni's credentials have certainly taken a beating while Gambhir does seem an ideal replacement at the moment. His latest comment is set to spark a major debate.

Gautam Gambhir has led the Kolkata Knight Riders to a famous win and that raises questions that whether he is suitable to replace the captain he beat to win the trophy-MS Dhoni. Dhoni is one of the most successful captains of India and he has virtually achieved everything that a captain could ever hope for.

He won India the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa and made the entire nation proud after their World Cup win last year. Dhoni is an intelligent cricketer and should lead the side in one-dayers and T-20’s. But, when it comes to Test cricket, Dhoni has not been good. India has done well in Tests under his captaincy in home conditions, but when they have travelled outside the sub-continent their performance has been horrendous.

Here lies the question, is Gambhir a better option as a captain than Dhoni in Test matches? Let’s have a look at some of the recent performance by India in Test matches. India won the series in the West Indies, but Dhoni’s captaincy came under scrutiny as he decided to play for a draw when his team was in a winning position.

India then went to England and that proved to be the worst tour for India from the time this nation started playing cricket. India had a good team, but the unthinkable happened and India could not manage to win a single match in England. Yes, they were a bit unlucky in the one-dayers, but were outplayed in Test matches. Dhoni struggled with the bat throughout the series and was criticized severely for his captaincy. English media thrashed his negative captaincy and blamed him for India’s debacle.

India then went to Australia, the place where they have done well the last two times they toured the country. Australia was undergoing a massive change -- their captain was new and everything looked rattled after their Ashes thrashing. India were expected to do well against the inexperienced Aussies but what happened in the series is hard to believe and even harder to explain. India surrendered to Aussies and lost all the four Test matches. Dhoni was once again at his negative best as he waited for the opposition to make mistake, which they didn’t. This time former Indian captains and cricket experts joined the Aussie media and criticized Dhoni for the way he led his side. Dhoni in the series averaged 20 with the bat.

The problem for Dhoni in Test matches is that he has not been a consistent performer. He himself has admitted that he is not equipped for playing in seaming conditions and that approach reflects in his leadership. Gambhir on the other hand is a permanent fixture in Indian Test squad. He is one of the best opening batsmen going around and played some tremendous innings on tough South African and New Zealand pitches.

It is true that a captain is as good as his team, but things go wrong when the captain is not able to match the performance put up by the rest of his players. Dhoni is an inspirational cricketer when it comes to shorter formats, but his struggle is visible when he dawns the white shirt.