Gambhir shines in Ahmedabad ODI

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> India went into the fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad with what many considered an A team.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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India went into the fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad with what many considered an A team with Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar rested. That meant an opportunity for R P Singh and Gautam Gambhir, who hadn't played in the tournament so far. Despite losing the match, it looks like India's so-called bench strength, which was virtually non-existent till six months back now seems to be overflowing with a bunch of talented youngsters. Gambhir with his maiden ODI ton proved just that with his first opportunity in the shorter version of the game in over 2 years. The Delhi youngster was known for his big hitting since he made his debut in 2000. Exciting player Infact, the current India A Coach Sandeep Patil reckons that the 24-year-old is an even more explosive player than M S Dhoni. Two double hundreds in 2002 made him frontpage news. But his chance with the national team only came after the 2003 World Cup in the TVS Cup Bangladesh where he performed admirably. Having sat out the first four games of the Videocon Cup series against Sri Lanka, he took his chance in Ahmedabad with a scintillating 100, which might just make him a permanent fixture in the one-day team. "I was making a comeback into the one-day team after two and a half years. So it was a very satisfying knock," said Gambhir. "The only thing was that had we won, it would have been so much better. But it was satisfying since I took the opportunity that came to me," he added. It was the failure of Gambhir's Delhi teammate Akash Chopra that opened the doors for him in the Test team against Australia in 2004. Opening pair problems And so far he and Virender Sehwag have given all indication that India's opening problems in Tests have been solved. The pair have managed to average over 60 in the last five tests, the most by any opening pair for India so far. His knock of 103 in the Ahmedabad ODI will definitely give the team management some more selection problems. "The coach has given us all youngsters a lot of confidence and especially the way the team is playing," added Gambhir. "There is a lot of confidence in the team right now and the amount of hard work the coach is putting into the players is all paying off," he said. While India may have lost the match, Gambhir has shown that the team does have a bench strength which can be relied on.

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