Dhoni support for Gambhir
India captain MS Dhoni expects struggling opener Gautam Gambhir to return to form "sooner rather than later".
Last Updated: 11/11/10 9:09am
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has given his full backing to out-of-form opener Gautam Gambhir ahead of the second Test against New Zealand, starting on Friday.
Gambhir has scored only 86 runs in his last 10 innings in the five-day format but has nevertheless kept his place as Virender Sehwag's partner at the top of the order in Hyderabad.
His position is under pressure from Murali Vijay, who hit 139 against Australia in October when he replaced the injured Gambhir for the Bangalore Test.
"Players do go out of form," said Dhoni. "It happens to everyone in cricket. Gambhir has set the benchmark so high that expectations of him have grown.
"With Gambhir, it is more about the pressure to perform than the fear of failure.
"The kind of innings he has played in the past shows how good a cricketer he is.
"He is returning from an injury and is working hard on his fitness. I am sure he will come good with the bat sooner than later."
Gambhir, with 2,846 runs from 34 Tests at an average of nearly 50, has been pivotal in India's rise to the top of Test rankings.
"Gambhir is our best bet for the opener's slot," added Dhoni. "Vijay has done well whenever he has been given the chance. But I think he will have to wait his turn."
India's captain also had soothing words for another of his top six, Suresh Raina, who made three and nought in the drawn series opener against the Black Caps in Ahmedabad.
"You cannot form an opinion on a player based on one match," said Dhoni. "We must give everyone a chance.
"It is easy to sit outside and make comments. But one must step into the player's shoes to understand how tough it is to go out and perform each time."