India, Feb. 17 -- On February 22, if India bat first against Australia, it won't be Gautam Gambhir who'd be walking alongside Virender Sehwag to open the innings.
Even though this isn't going to be the first time that the two men won't go in together in a Test, it will still be a lot different from any such instances in the past.
Previously, it'd been the unavailability of one of them that had led to a change of personnel and the moment they were available, regular business resumed.
This time though, Gambhir has been dropped (first time since he replaced Wasim Jaffer in 2008) and will perhaps be picked up only once he shows signs of returning to form.
While there must be a strong temptation to play Shikhar Dhawan to continue having a left and right hand combination at the top, Vijay is likely to pip Dhawan to the post, for he was the 'reserve opener' for the series against England too.
Vijay has had an indifferent first-class season, in which he started with a big double hundred against Rajasthan in the Irani Cup, scored next to nothing for Tamil Nadu in Ranji but returned to form with a hundred against Mumbai, once again, in Irani.
But since the runs scored for Rest of India are against a Ranji side, you must rate that performance accordingly.
He started the current domestic season with a lot of promise and even though his form dipped a bit for Delhi, he scored enough to stake a strong claim.
He's been on the fringes for a while and even flirted with a few chances at the top (albeit in the shorter formats). This might prove to be the biggest break of his career.
Food for thought
While MS Dhoni is unlikely to think along these lines, having Dhawan and Vijay as openers and Sehwag in the middle order is an idea worth pondering over.
It's not a secret that Sehwag's reflexes are waning and since he's already articulated his desire to go back to the middle order, it might be a good idea to give it a shot.
(The writer is a former India opener)
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.