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India vs New Zealand: Gautam Gambhir likely to replace injured KL Rahul in Kolkata Test

India Today logo India Today 27-09-2016

Opener Lokesh Rahul's pain could be Gautam Gambhir's gain. Rahul suffered a right hamstring during India's second innings in the Kanpur Test, which the home team won by a massive 197 runs against New Zealand to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.

Rahul stayed out of the field after he was dismissed for 38 and the 12th man, Shikhar Dhawan, fielded as a substitute.

While the Indian team management is sweating over Rahul's fitness, coach Anil Kumble, according to sources, has asked for in-form Gambhir to be called in a backup opener for the second Test in Kolkata, starting September 30.

Gambhir, who last played for India in 2014 during England tour, is likely to undergo a fitness test at the National Cricket Association (NCA) in Bengaluru today.

BCCI had described Rahul's injury as "slight niggle in hamstring" but it seems the injury could be more serious.

Slideshow: Rare photos of cricketers

Rare photos of cricketers Rare photos of cricketers

GOOD FORM

Gambhir played his last Test for India at the Oval in 2014 where he only managed three runs in his two innings and since then he has been out of the Indian squad.

He was rewarded with the captaincy of the India Blue team for this historic Duleep Trophy. Gambhir opened the innings for the Blue's and scored a 90 and 59 in two innings against the India Green. Gambhir also scored a 77 in the first-innings of the washed out game against the India Red. In the final too, Gambhir continued to flourish, scoring 94 and 36 against Yuvraj Singh-led India Red and guiding his side to the title triumph.

GLORIOUS PAST 

Gambhir and Virender Sehwag were hugely successful for India at the top of the order but once Sehwag left, Gambhir couldn't keep up much longer as well. He has scored 4046 runs with a decent average of 42.58 in 56 Tests and has played some key knocks for India but the emergence of Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan pushed him down the pecking order.

IPL CONSISTENCY

He scored 501 runs in 15 matches for Kolkata Knight Riders in this year's Indian Premier League and guided the team to the play-offs before losing to eventual champions Sunrisers Hyderabad. Gambhir has been the spine of the team along with Robin Uthappa and his performances have been praised as well.

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