Aakash Chopra and Gautam Gambhir share a common goal - making it to the Indian Test team. Gambhir could conceivably have made it Down Under but for a shoulder injury and Chopra could have taken his place. As it is, it's their statemate, Virender Sehwag, who has made the cut.
Yet the Delhi openers are focussed individuals, who know where they are and what to do to get to where they want to be. If the wait for a spot in the team is hurting both of them, they are taking it out on the domestic bowlers: Gambhir has amassed 600 runs from eight innings at 85.71 while Chopra has totalled 648 runs from 14 innings at 49.84.
"I was upset when I wasn't picked for Australia because of the injury but I believe whatever happens is for the best," Gambhir says. He picked up the injury while fielding in the ODI against Pakistan in Mohali and aggravated it in subsequent games.
"The doctors said, 'If you continue to play and get injured again, you could be out for 4-5 months.' With a busy season coming up I chose not to take that risk." How come, then, he was playing for Delhi and scoring a hundred around the same time Wasim Jaffer and Rahul Dravid were struggling in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne? "The problem was my throwing. I experience no problem while batting but I couldn't throw. For Delhi, I field in the slips and perhaps, at silly point. So I played," explains Gambhir. "I am just waiting for my chance to play Test cricket again."