As India once again got reinstated as No.1 Test team, one feels they can maintain this position if they are able to post big score regularly. This can happen if their openers bat with intent !.
Hence one feels that in near future pairing of Gautam Gambhir and Lokesh Rahul as openers might work wonders for India in test cricket. They are affluent to role-play when opening the batting. They both prospered in last year’s domestic cricket including IPL.
Rahul has been in sublime form in recent outings. He adopted his opening position in T20(IPL) and adapted it to Test cricket.
Gambhir on the other hand with wealth of experience is in cracking form (see table below)and he will be a great foil to Rahul, as he can guide him to play big innings(a la Sehwag).
The key is rotating the strike in first 10-overs of a Test innings. With Sehwag as his opening partner, Gambhir gave Indian a solid start. In between flurry of boundaries they took a lot of singles. During their career opening partnership, they hardly were run-out. This was not the case when Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan opened for India.
Below table is stats analysis of opening stand in last 6 Test matches played by India. I have highlighted those games in where Rahul was playing, and most times the scoring rate was every 3/4 balls.
|Test/ Inns||Opening pair||1st wkt partnership|
|Test Inn||Runs||Balls||Scoring shots||1s||2s||3s||4/6s||Frequency of scoring shots|
|1st Test/1ST inn v WI||Vijay – S Dhawan||14||37||8||6||0||0||2||4.63|
|1st Test/2nd inn v WI||DNB||DNB||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|2nd Test/1st inn v WI||K Rahul – S Dhawan||87||117||32||12||4||2||14||3.66|
|2nd Test2nd inn v WI||DNB||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|3rd Test/1st inn v WI||K Rahul – S Dhawan||9||14||5||1||4||0||0||2.80|
|3rd Test/2nd inn v WI||K Rahul – S Dhawan||49||49||19||4||8||4||3||2.58|
|4th Test1st inn v WI||K Rahul – Vijay||DNB||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|4th Test/2nd inn v WI||K Rahul – Vijay||DNB||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|1st Test/1ST inn v NZ||K Rahul – Vijay||42||65||19||10||3||0||5-1||3.42|
|1st Test/2nd inn v NZ||K Rahul – Vijay||52||108||24||14||1||0||9-0||4.50|
|2nd Test/1st inn v NZ||Vijay – S Dhawan||1||13||1||1||0||0||0||13.00|
|2nd Test2nd inn v NZ||Vijay – S Dhawan||12||53||4||1||1||0||2||13.25|
The new ball.
Gambhir is not old at 34. He is fit and in form. In test cricket we have noticed openers usually tend to get trapped LBW for low scores as it is not easy to face the new ball while it is swinging/seaming on any surface…especially for left-handed batsmen.
Gambhir unlike Dhawan and Vijay does not get trapped regularly for low scores. Will Indian selectors bite the bullet and re-instate Gautam in Test XI….and will Rahul once fit will get his place back ?.
Below table features Gambhir’s(as opener) Duleep Trophy performance last month(Sept 2016).
|Duleep Trophy||Runs||Role-play/overs||Balls||Scoring shots||boundaries||Scoring rate||Boundary rate|