On the same day the Kolkata Knight Riders secured a spot in the Indian Premier League (IPL) final, India brought back opening bastsman Gautam Gambhir as they dismissed bowler Zaheer Khan for the team’s first five-Test tour of England since 1959. The tour starts in July.
Gambhir, a left-handed batsman, finds himself back in the Test structure for the first time in nearly two years. He was left off the rosters for the home series against Australia and the West Indies in 2013, in addition to the tour of New Zealand in January 2014.
Gambhir’s production and history, however, prove he not only deserves a spot on the squad, but also that he must be one of the opening batsmen. With 4,021 runs and nine centuries from 54 Tests, Gambhir is expected to be one of the three openers; the others are Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay.
Hardcore cricket fans will remember Gambhir was one of the more well-rounded batsmen between 2008 and 2011. He opened in all three parts of the game and worked to cement his legacy amongst the likes of Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and even Sachin Tendulkar at times. His ability to be aggressive, play back-to-the-wall innings, and succeed while taking risks were nothing short of exemplary. Expect his versatility to be an asset against England.
India has not played a five-Test series since 1997, when they lost 1-0 in the Caribbean.
India’s Test squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Ishwar Pandey, Ishant Sharma, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron, Wriddhiman Saha, Pankaj Singh.