Its about time both batsmen start proving their worth to the Indian team
Every international team relies on their opening pair to make a solid start, but what happens when both batsmen continuously fail to do so?
Naturally most teams would replace them as a warning that they have to be consistent if they want to regain their spot on the national roster, but in India’s case, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have just stayed where they are with no interference from anybody.
This raises the question of whether the national selectors are overprotective of the opening pair since they seem to look in the other direction as Gambhir and Sehwag continuously fail to get India off to a good start.
The pair have not made a hundred partnership in almost two years, and many cricket pundits are questioning when and if the Indian selectors will put their foots down and say enough is enough.
However, despite their lack of form, Sehwag and Gambhir have been one of the most successful opening pairs India have ever had since they are one of only five opening combinations to have scored more than 4,000 Test runs.
Amongst all the criticism they have received, Gambhir has finally spoken out to defend himself and Sehwag, saying: “We still average 53 as an opening pair, which I think is one of the best when it comes to opening the batting in world cricket, there are not many opening pairs who have played for such a long time and have an average of 53 per innings. And if 53 is not good enough, I don’t know what is good enough. As an opening pair, you average 50 per inning and if you are giving 50 runs start in every innings, you can’t do more and if people talk about not contributing, I will suggest them to look at the stats.”
But, Gambhir and Sehwag were scrutinised the most for their series against Australia at the beginning of the year, where in four Tests, their highest opening partnership was a dismal 26.
Some people believe it is time to bring in younger opening batsmen like Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan or Abhinav Mukund, while others feel that it is only a matter of time before the Sehwag and Gambhir of old resurface.
Whatever the case, the majority of people think that it is high time to put some pressure on both openers to show that they can lose their place in the squad, just like off-spinner Harbhajan Singh did when he was struggling with consistency and injuries.
To make matters worse, Gambhir has not scored a Test century in nearly three years now, and one has to wonder how much longer this can go on for.
But, in response to claims that he has lost his touch, Gambhir noted that batsmen should not be solely judged upon the number of centuries they have scored.
“It’s not about scoring a hundred every time, it’s about contributing when you are opening the batting. It’s not only me, a lot of other people have also not scored tons. People only discuss about scoring a hundred, I don’t know why. I got 93 in South Africa, 85-odd in Australia…15 or seven more and people would not be discussing my hundred,” Gambhir said in an exclusive interview with PTI.
One solution to this ongoing problem could be to make both openers bat for longer periods in the nets so that they regain some form ahead of the upcoming Test series against England.
However, whichever way you look at it, the fact of the matter is Gambhir and Sehwag must both make huge opening partnerships during the series against England, otherwise India might slip further down the Test rankings, on which they have already dropped to fifth.