We will be honest. Twenty-five days back, had someone asked us this question, we would be making fun of them. No one expected Gambhir’s meteoric comeback; even the most ardent fan of the former India opener wouldn’t have expected Gambhir to score so prolifically in the ongoing IPL. Such remarkable has Gambhir’s comeback been, that we have mostly watched him bat with our jaws dropped, our breathes taken away by the Southpaw’s astonishing stroke-play.
An impact-making 376 runs off 10 innings have come at a phenomenal average of 62.66 and a tremendous strike-rate of 136.72. It’s not just the stats here that are making us believe Gambhir deserves a call up for the Champions Trophy – it’s more the way he has batted that makes us believe what we do; He has attacked with aplomb, defended with poise, played beautiful strokes off both feet, has hit the ball as hard as any batsmen in the game and has also made important runs. Thus, his Team stares at their competition from the top of the table.
Champions Trophy is still far away. We have just crossed the half-way line in the IPL. There’s a lot still to be played. Moreover, there is this BCCI controversy because of which India’s participation in the league, known as mini-worldcup, is still under cloud. In all probability, the mess will be sorted out and Team India will be on that flight to England – question is – will Gambhir be on the flight? What amount of performance can earn you a recall? If this doesn’t, we are afraid nothing else will.
Rohit Sharma has been the regular opener before he injured himself last year. He’s back now, fit, and in spite of the poor form he is in, he’ll be on that flight, and rightly so. The selectors have reasons to believe Sharma will come good in England. Ajinkya Rahane will be an automatic choice as well. Then there’s Shikhar Dhawan whose batting style is more suited in the English conditions, because of which he might sneak in. KL Rahul has injured himself and won’t certainly be available in the mix. This leaves the selectors with not a lot of options, surely no one better than Gambhir at this point. If these performances don’t earn Gambhir a place ahead of Dhawan in the side, we don’t know what will.