Multiple World Cup winner Gautam Gambhir has called it a day on his cricket career as he bids adieu from all the three formats of the game.
The Delhi born left handed batsman made his international debut in 2003 against Bangladesh at the Bangabandhu National Stadium. Gambhir’s cricket career is a perfect mixture of success, failure and a little bit of drama.
Gautam Gambhir came to the limelight in 2002 while he was selected for the Board President’s XI against a touring Zimbabwean side. He scored 218 runs in that match to steal the eyes of the national selectors. A great start in domestic circuit in 2002 helped him to get his maiden ODI call in 2003 in a triangular series in Bangladesh. However Gambhir’s initial matches in a blue jersey was disappointing. But he was determined to fight for his place in the national side. In 2004 he made his Test debut against Australia. A poor phase from 2003-2006 kept him put of the national side. A resurgent Gambhir made a comeback in 2007 but as destiny would have it he was not selected for the 2007 World Cup. This was a major setback for the southpaw who even considered quitting the game.
He was given another chance in the national squad. This time made into the Indian time which had to visit South Africa to take part in the maiden T20I World Cup. Gambhir welcomed the opportunity with both the arms. He was the second highest run gatter in the tournament with 227 runs which included a gritty 75 against Pakistan in the finals. While other batsmen suffered, Gambhir made sure he helped India reach a defendable target. India went on to the win the World Cup and Gambhir made his spot permanent in the national side across all the three formats.
The Delhi batsman’s form reached its peak in 2009 where he was awarded with ICC Test Player of the Year. Out of the 11 test centuries he had scored, the one at Napier against New Zealand remains his best. He batted for a staggering 643 minutes to save a test match for India, thus scoring 137 runs in the due process.
In 2011 it was his knock in the final of the World Cup that helped India make a comeback in the match. Gambhir’s 97 coupled with MS Dhoni’s flamboyant 91 made sure India ended their 28 years old draught and brought home the elusive trophy. But Gambhir’s form went downhill after 2011 and despite skipper Dhoni’s backing he found it difficult to cement his place in the Indian side. Finally, after a couple of terrible years with the bat, he was axed from the ODI squad and never made a comeback to the team since.
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However, Gambhir remained one of the top buys in the Indian Premier League. In 2011 Shah Rukh Khan and Kolkata Knight Riders showed faith on him amd bagged him for a record 11 crore INR. Gambhir repaid his faith in style as he led the KKR side to two IPL triumphs. He made two comebacks to the test side in 2014 and 2016 but could not fix his position due to poor run of form.
He was picked up by Delhi Daredevils in 2018 auction but after playing 7 matches he dropped himself due to miserable form with the bat. Gautam Gambhir truly remains a champion and his sacrifices for Team India will forever be etched in history.
Photo by little-pete