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    Gautam Gambhir leaves Essex 'for family reasons'

    New Delhi: English county club Essex have announced that batsman Gautam Gambhir has returned home to India. A statement issued on the Essex website on Monday said: "Gautam Gambhir returned to his native India on Sunday for family reasons. At this stage Essex Cricket and Gautam are unable to make any further comment. Essex Cricket is fully supportive of Gautam and very much hope that he will return to Essex before the end of the 2013 English domestic season."

    Gambhir, 31, had signed up with the club last month in an attempt to work his way back into the Indian team. He struggled in his first few outings - 31, 21, 2 and 0 - but in the second innings of Essex's four-day match against Gloucestershire at Bristol Gambhir scored 106 off 149 balls in a draw.

    Gambhir, who has been India's preferred opener in all forms of cricket since for the past few season, was axed from the Test and limited-overs sides earlier in 2013. He was left out of the Test squad against Australia in February and then overlooked for the ICC Champions Trophy and the triangular in the West Indies this past summer, and then for the ODI tour of Zimbabwe. He has played 54 Tests and scored 4,021 runs at an average of 44.18.