Middle-order berth beckons for Gambhir

India

Former batsman Sanjey Manjrekar has welcomed the return of the recalled Gautam Gambhir, ahead of tough five-Test series against England this month and the next.

Former batsman Sanjey Manjrekar has welcomed the return of the recalled Gautam Gambhir, ahead of tough five-Test series against England this month and the next.

Gambhir has not played the longest form of the international game since December 2012 – and isn't likely to feature in the XI for the opener at Trent Bridge next week.

A sterling record against the English, however, will keep him in the reckoning throughout. The veteran left-hander has scored 714 runs in 16 Test innings at a solid average of 44.62.

"Making a comeback is never easy, but Gambhir can take heart from the fact that he's got hard-earned runs on overseas tours. Judging the length accurately to leave balls outside the off-stump well should help him preserve his wicket and gain confidence as his innings progresses. With his experience as an opener and ability to play spin well, he could get a look-in in the middle order if circumstances prevail," Manjrekar told <i>ESPNcricinfo</i>.

The talented Murali Vijay, meanwhile, is likely to open the batting alongside the attacking Shikhar Dhawan. Vijay was particularly impressive during December's tour of South Africa, narrowly missing a century at Kingsmead in Durban.

"When Vijay plays Test cricket, he becomes more of a defensive opening batsman, which helped him succeed to an extent in South Africa. The willingness to leave balls alone outside the off-stump has been serving him well," added Manjrekar.

"His front-foot movement is circumspect, but avoiding playing the ball on the up at the start of his innings should help him notch a couple of substantial innings on the tour."

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