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Gambhir's exclusion sparks Sehwag's opening partner debate
The squad of Indian cricket team announced for the first two Test matches against Australia has thrown some surprises, with people questioning the exclusion of Gautam Gambhir. The announcement has left them wondering who will partner Virender Sehwag.

Karsan Ghavri, former Indian cricketer said, “I am a bit disappointed. Gautam Gambhir should have been included. He is an experienced player. He may not have scored well but experience counts when playing against good teams.”

But, not everyone thinks on the same lines, as Sumodip Sinha, an ardent cricket fan, said, “Dropping Gambhir is not surprsing for me. In fact, it should have come a long time back, as he has not been in good touch for some time now.”

Gambhir has had a string of below par performances as his recent scores would suggest so. In his last eight Test matches, he scored 291 runs. This is not the Gambhir that Indian cricket fans know about.

Sehwag has also not been in the best of form, but has been performing better than his partner, Gambhir, which has helped him get a slot. He has scored 471 runs in his last eight test matches. Ghavri adds, “Sehwag has a lot of experience and while playing against good teams, experienced players are required. When Sehwag gets going, he is a match winner on his own. If Sehwag settles in the game, India normally put up a good score.”

So, Gambhir’s exclusion means Sehwag would be walking out with a new opening partner for the Test series. There are three players, who could get that elusive spot namely, Murli Vijay, Shikhar Dhiwan or Ajinkya Rahane. Neither of these players has played enough for India and they also have not impressed with the number of chances that they have got to represent India. These players have been brought into the scene with their impressive record on the domestic circuit alone.

“For the opening slot, it is going to be a fight between Murli Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane. Both these players have been in good domestic form,” said Ghavri. There is no doubt about the class of these players, but their lack of experience playing tough opposition might catch the Indian team on the back-foot.

Pravin, another cricket fan is critical of the Indian batsmen. “The batting strength of the Indian team looks a little weak. We might not get the kind of opening stand that Gambhir and Sehwag could have given. Murli Vijay is a good batsman so he seems to be the best partner for Sehwag for the first two matches,” Pravin told this citizen journalist .

Shikhar Dhawan, in spite of being in good form recently “would be under tremendous pressure”, if selected to open the innings, felt Ghavri.

Sinha thinks out of the box and talks about a player who may have grown little old, but is still one of the contracted players of the BCCI, Wasim Jaffer. Jaffer is still scoring prolific runs for Mumbai. He said, “I would have loved Wasim Jaffer instead of the other openers that have been included in the squad. He has the much needed experience to deal with Australians and is also a very consistent cricketer.”

Overall, the team looks finely balanced in the bowling department. Ghavri said, “The bowling looks reasonably good. The spin attack of Ojha, Harbhajan and Ashwin is good. May be one of the spinners have to sit out.”

The Indian middle order comprises Pujara, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni, who are going to play an important role if India is to win the series.

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