Describing Gautam Gambhir as a 'quality player', India's batting coach Sanjay Bangar has hinted at the possibility of the veteran batsman's inclusion into the Playing XI for the final inconsequential Test of the three-match series against New Zealand, which begins at Holkar Stadium on Saturday.
Having recalled in the Test squad after two-year gap, the 30-year-old grabbed the attention of the selectors with his impressive performances in the recently-concluded Duleep Trophy where he scored 356 runs in five innings, including four half centuries.
"Gautam Gambhir is a quality player; what he has done really for himself, for the time he was out of the Indian team, he kept on performing for his franchise and state side. When he got an opportunity in the Duleep Trophy, he was one of the top scorers there. That too against the pink ball, which certain batsmen found difficult to pick. Yes, he ticked all boxes," Bangar was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
In the absence of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul due to injuries, Gambhir is expected to get a place in the squad at the top of the order.
"Untimely injury to KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan made sure that there is a place for him. He is something of a quality performer. he has proven record against spin bowling. And the number of Test matches we are going to play in India, he becomes an important player right at the top of the order," Bangar added.
Earlier, Dhawan sustained a thumb fracture in his side's 178-run win at Eden Gardens, while KL Rahul ruled out for the last two Tests after suffering a right hamstring injury during the side's 111-run win in the opening match.
India, who have taken a 2-0 lead, will also play a five-match ODI series against the Kane Williamson-led side, starting on October 16 in Dharamsala.