Gambhir ban leaves India with tough task in final Test
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India will miss the services of in-form Gautam Gambhir as they go into the fourth and final cricket Test against Australia in Nagpur on Thursday, seeking to wrest the Border-Gavaskar Trophy despite a weakened batting line up and a brand new opening combination.
Gambhir's absence means that India will have a new opening partner for Virender Sehwag for the crucial match with 24-year-old Tamil Nadu opener M Vijay set to make his Test debut.
In a highly controversial decision, the ICC Appeals Commissioner Justice Albie Sachs on Tuesday upheld a one-Test ban on Gambhir without even hearing him which the BCCI refused to accept, saying it violated principles of natural justice.
Gambhir has been the nightmare for the Australian bowlers in the series so far having scored 463 runs, inclusive of a double hundred and a century, for an average in excess of 77.
And Justice Sachs' decision has dealt a huge blow to India's hopes of either winning or drawing the crucial Test on a virgin pitch at the newly constructed Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium at Jamtha.
The Delhi batsman's form in the series has rattled the Australians so much so that their leading scorer in the series, Mike Hussey, said yesterday his team would be happy if Gambhir is unable to play.
The focus will also be on Sourav Ganguly's who will play his last Test and the Indians should be careful not to get distracted by the occasion.
A largely unknown opener M Vijay has been pitch-forked straightaway into the thick of the hard-fought battle against Australia from domestic cricket by the selectors as replacement for Gambhir.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has indicated that Vijay will play the match, which means that the Indian think tank is not to keen to experiment with specialist positions.
The other option for the team is to once again summon the services of Rahul Dravid to bail out the side by opening the innings as he had done in the past with a large degree of success, notably on the tour of Pakistan in 2006 when he led the side.
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