The euphoria around his selection appeared short-lived as Gautam Gambhir was, as expected, left out of the playing XI for India's second Test at the Eden Gardens that is underway now. Shikhar Dhawan, who instead replaced KL Rahul, walked in and walked out of the field by the 10th ball of the match.
Opener Gautam Gambhir had been recalled into the Test squad after a gap of two years as a replacement for the injured KL Rahul. The 34-year-old was picked on the basis of the form he showed in the recent Duleep Trophy where he scored four half-centuries. In the final, he outscored both Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma put together. However, the southpaw has, as expected, missed out on the spot to Shikhar Dhawan, who opened the innings alongside Murali Vijay.
Shikhar Dhawan, who last played a meaningful innings in the first innings of the first Test of the West Indies tour, has however put himself in an unenviable position with a lightning dismissal already in the morning session at the Eden Gardens.
Dhawan walked alongside Murali Vijay and faced the first ten balls of the innings. Facing the first over from Trent Boult, Dhawan was patient leaving five of the first five ball before taking a run in the final ball with a push to the covers. The pitch appeared to provide sumptuous bounce as Boult gave New Zealand a good start.
After leaving the first three balls of the second over as well, Dhawan moved forward for a ball that veered close to the off-stump and ended up with an inside edge that rattled his stumps.
Dhawan will now be under serious pressure to perform in the second innings as his miserable run and the unending debate on his place in the squad look set to reach a tipping point.
The other change in the squad was on expected lines. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was inexplicaly left out of the first Test at Kanpur despite a five-wicket haul in the last Test at West Indies, has come back. Umesh Yadav who had taken his spot made way for him.
Additionally, New Zealand are without their talismanic captain Kane Williamson who is down with a flu.
India Playing XI : Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma ; Wriddhiman Saha (wk) ; Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami