Indore, Oct 7: Indian opener Gautam Gambhir is all set to play a Test after more than 2 years as captain Virat Kohli confirmed his inclusion in the Playing XI for the 3rd Test against New Zealand starting tomorrow (October 8).
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Having already clinched the series with an unassailable lead of 2-0, India will aim to complete a whitewash at the Holkar Stadium. (Fans blame Kohli for Gambhir omission)
Shikhar Dhawan, who played in the 2nd Test in Kolkata, suffered an injury to his left thumb while batting in the match and was ruled out of 3rd Test. Gambhir came in as a replacement for the injured KL Rahul, before the 2nd Test. (Kohli, Gambhir move on after fights)
Dhawan's injury has now opened the door for the 34-year-old Gambhir. The left-hander last played for India in a five-day game in August 2014, against England.
Speaking on the eve of the Test on Friday (October 7), Kohli said Gambhir was the "natural change" for the injured Dhawan.
"Yes, that is a natural change because of the injury Shikhar (Dhawan) faced. So that is the natural replacement in the team because he is the third opener," Kohli said when asked whether Gambhir will return to the side.
Indore's Holkar Stadium will make its Test debut and Gambhir will be making a comeback into the national team. The venue has hosted 4 One Day Internationals since 2006. India have won all those 4 ODIs (2 against England, 1 each versus West Indies and South Africa).
Gambhir, who was once described by Virender Sehwag as "second wall" of India, has so far played 56 Tests scoring 4,406 runs with 9 centuries and 21 fifties.
Gambhir will partner Murali Vijay at the top of the order. India are favourites to win the Test and make a clean sweep.
After he was selected to the Indian squad for the 2nd Test, Gambhir had tweeted, "Excitement of a debutant, certainty of experienced, nervousness of a novice...am feeling it all. Eden here I come loaded with ambitions."
"Nothing beats playing again for d country. Test cricket, whites, red ball and India cap again. Thanks @BCCI, thanks 2 all for d prayers," the Delhi batsman had written on his Twitter page.
Excitement of a debutant, certainty of experienced, nervousness of a novice...am feeling it all. Eden here I come loaded with ambitions.— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) September 27, 2016
Nothing beats playing again for d country. Test cricket, whites, red ball and India cap again. Thanks @BCCI, thanks 2 all for d prayers.— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) September 27, 2016