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All eyes were on the Indian youngsters as India were getting ready to face New Zealand for a two match Test series at home. Indian team, which have always been reluctant to drop their senior players, saw two of their seasoned campaigners -- Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman -- retire after the Australia series, with the later retiring just a few days ahead of the New Zealand series.
Two innings into the series, all the youngsters have shown their worth. Pujara scored a terrific hundred in Hyderabad supported beautifully by Virat Kohli. One innings into the Bangalore Test and it is once again the young players who have saved the day for the home team. Kohli once again showed why he is one of the best batting talents going around with a brilliant hundred.
Suresh Raina, who was a bit unfortunate in Hyderabad, scored a very important fifty to take India out of a precarious situation.
The series which was expected to be a run feat for Indian batsmen is turning out to be something else, and the batsman who is suffering the most is Gautam Gambhir. Gambhir whose last Test century came against Bangladesh way back in January 2010, is struggling to find his feet.
In India the focus of the people is always on the senior players and both Gambhir and Sehwag had benefitted from that fact. Gambhir is struggling big time in Test cricket, Gambhir who once scored five consecutive Test centuries has struggled to make one in more than two years.
His career average has gone down dramatically. The average that was once in the 50s is now at 45. The last 1000 runs has been particularly difficult for Gambhir as he scored at an average of 29.
The man who played a an epic match saving knock in Napier, New Zealand surrendered in the testing conditions of England and Australia. In England, he scored at an average of 17 and in Australia his average was 22.62.
He has got two chances against a relatively easy Kiwi attack on home soil and his score has been 22 and 2. For a man who takes pride in whatever he does will be mighty disappointed with his performance.
The one problem which Gambhir just can’t get rid off is fending at the deliveries outside off-stump. Gambhir lost his place in the Indian team because of this habit and it can once again prove fatal for this talented Delhi batsman.
In England and in Australia, he struggled to negotiate moving deliveries outside off stump and bowlers like Stuart Broad and Ben Hilfenhaus exploited that.
Even against the Kiwis, he lost his wicket trying to dab the ball to third-man in Hyderabad. In the first innings of the Bangalore Test, he was far too cautious and was focused on leaving and that cost him his wicket.
Gambhir has always been a fighter, his leadership in IPL recently proved that, he is a gritty character and will be looking to make a strong comeback.
His one-day form has been brilliant and one substantial innings in ‘Whites’ may change the course for this very important batsman for India.
By Gaurav Jha
Indian Sports News