The selectors dealt Gautam Gambir a poor hand by dropping him, and the opener has sufficient grounds to soak in self pity, or seek redressal for his grievance.
But he is doing neither and his reaction on being sacked was to reject any suggestion of sympathy. I have taken it on the chin, he said with a touch of heroism. This is the time to show steel .
One understands team selection can not always be reduced to reason and players are often picked by a mysterious logic where personal choices/judgements and inspired instinct plays a role.
Still, its difficult to see why Gambhir has been shown the door, rudely evicted from his rightful corner in the Indian dressing room. Yes, he had forgettable tours last year to England and Australia - but so did others. Yes, he has not scored a Test hundred for a while - but has any batsman covered himself with glory during this period?
Hard facts confirm Gambhir made significant contributions in four successive innings against England. So, why has the axe dropped on him?
The word going round is the selectors want to give Gambhir a message to take more responsibility, that he is expected to step up and fill the gap left by Dravid and Laxman. The issue with him, according to this line of reasoning, is not form but attitude.
Which is a but rich considering not long back Gautam was the chosen heir, the Prince Of Wales to King Dhoni. He captained India in one dayers and was later named vice captain of India ahead of Virender Sehwag. And when Gautam led KKR to victory in the IPL it appeared he was in the fast track.
But his fortunes took a nosedive abruptly, the decline coinciding with the rise of his Delhi colleague Virat Kohli. When Dhoni came under fire after losses overseas, and a shock defeat at home, it looked Indian cricket zeroed in on Kohli as the best long term investment.
This according to some is a simplistic understanding of the situation because there are other factors also at play. Whatever the true picture, the hard reality is Gautam will have to work hard to rebuild his career. But nobody has a doubt that he is a fighter and a quality player with a proven track record - it shouldn't be long before his name is back on the Indian team sheet.
Note: The author's views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of NDTV.
Story first published on: Monday, 18 February 2013 20:20 IST