Gambhir doubtful for second Test, Zaheer ruled out

Gautam Gambhir is likely to miss the second Test at Trent Bridge that starts today, adding to India’s injury woes after Zaheer Khan was already ruled out with a hamstring injury. Gambhir was hit on the left arm while fielding at short leg during the Lord’s Test and did not train on Wednesday. He did show up at the nets yesterday with his elbow strapped and batted for ten minutes, repeatedly flexing his arm and being stretched by the physio.

If Gambhir does not recover in time, India will be left with only one fit opening batsman in the squad, since Virender Sehwag is not expected to be match fit until the third Test. That will mean either Rahul Dravid or Suresh Raina will probably have to play the role of makeshift opener to partner Abhinav Mukund, while Yuvraj Singh could return to the middle order.

There had been doubts about Zaheer’s availability for the match after he pulled up while bowling on the first day of the Lord’s Test. “It’s always good to have him in the side because he is our most experienced bowler,” Dhoni said. “Especially when it comes to England, he has played a lot of cricket over here for counties and the last time India were here he bowled really well.”

Dhoni said that while not having Zaheer was disappointing, it gave the other bowlers a chance to prove their mettle in international cricket. “Overall it’s a win-win situation for us because we can’t really sit and say Zaheer is not there. We have to look at the positives, which is that some of the other bowlers will get to have a look at international cricket.” India have Munaf Patel and Sreesanth as seam options along with Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma who played in the Lord’s Test.

Dhoni was optimistic when asked whether Zaheer would recover before the third Test which begins in Birmingham on August 10. “We are expecting that. He started light training yesterday but again it is something we can’t be 100% sure about; but most likely it seems he will [be fit].”

India go into the Trent Bridge Test 1-0 down in the four-match series; England will go to No 1 in the Test rankings if they win the series by a two-game margin.

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