One of the most significant players in Indian cricket, Gautam Gambhir, has achieved a lot to keep the fans and cricket followers talking about him long after retirement whenever there’s a discussion about great Indian cricketers. He was a successful opener batsman in all three formats of the game and played many crucial innings, including leading Kolkata Knight Riders to the championship in IPL, in his entire cricket career.
Career in International Cricket with the National Team
Gautam was not particularly an aggressive batsman, but he could play as per the requirement of the team, even if he had to hit the ball a little harder than usual. It could be said that he was more aggressive than Virender Sehwag as a batsman. At the same time, he could be a reliable team member who would hang in there until the finish or for a long enough time to keep the runs coming.
Great Success after an Average Start
Despite being an excellent cricketer, Gautam faced some technical flaws that could not be ignored and affected his career. In the first eight years of his career, he was not the national team’s best bait when facing the international front; however, he did brilliantly on the domestic show.
With some crucial technical adjustments, he returned to the international game as a fruitful asset to the team. The very batsman who dropped out of the 2007 World Cup squad became a complete package in terms of a batsman from 2008 to the 2011 World Cup.
He became the best Indian batsman of that time to face spin ballers outside the Indian soil in international matches. He scored a century in the very 2nd ODI match after returning. Added to that was the score of 75 runs in the final match of the T20I World Cup 2007 to secure the championship for the team.
He returned to the test matches and hit multiple fifties against legendary bowlers in 2008. That sealed his position in the national team. And that’s how he showed how to make a comeback!
Perseverance Got Praised
Hard work for something you’re passionate about never fails you. Gautam’s return to the national team after the 2007 World Cup can easily be a strong testament to success brought by sheer brilliant performances. He scored eight centuries in the period from October 2008 to February 2010. His performances won run-chasing matches, gave sky-high targets to the opponents, and, when the time came, avoided defeats by getting the match to a draw.
He played for 11 hours a stretch in Napier! In the same period, he scored over 50 runs in 11 consecutive test matches- a record previously held by Viv Richards. In 2009, ICC gave him the title of the test player of the year. According to Sehwag, Gautam is the best opening batsman in test matches for India after Sunil Gavaskar.
The country did not forget to recognize his contributions either, for he was given the second-highest sporting honor of India- The Arjuna Award. The year 2011 also brought a new chapter in his personal life when he married Natasha Jain.
But his last glory in international cricket was cut short right after the 2011 World Cup final, where he scored a match-winning 97 runs. After that, it became very difficult for him to keep a place in the team- although he was a captaincy candidate at one point- as well as his form when India lost eight back-to-back test matches. He scored 9 centuries in 58 test matches with 4,154 runs in total and 11 centuries in 147 ODI matches with 5,328 runs in total.
Career in the Indian Premier League (IPL)
Delhi Daredevils to Start the Journey with
In India’s tour of England in 2014, Gambhir got sidelined, especially after Shikhar Dhawan, & M Vijay entered the team; he was merely there as an alternative opener. While he was being dropped out of the national team, he was getting firmer ground in the IPL. In the tournament’s inaugural year, he joined IPL with the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals).
He was the second-highest run-scorer that year, scoring 534 runs in 14 matches. He also got a place in Cricinfo IPL XI. The Delhi team promoted him to the post of captain in the season of 2010. At the end of that year’s tournament, he was the only one from the team to have scored more than 1,000 runs in IPL.
Hero of the Kolkata Knight Riders
He was the most desirable player in the 2011 auction of IPL and was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at a whopping bid of $2.4 million. He was appointed as the Captain of the team as well. Under his leadership, KKR made it to the Champions League T20 tournament for the first time.
The money was all worth it, for he was the team’s top scorer in four seasons, including in 2012, when the team won its first title, beating the defending champions Chennai Super Kings, in their home ground Chennai, by 5 wickets. His performance secured him the place of the Captain of Cricinfo IPL XI.
In his entire IPL career, he has played in 154 matches and has scored 4,217 runs. His highest score in IPL was 93 runs, and he has scored 36 half-centuries too. As for the boundaries, 491 4s and 59 6s were scored in total by Gauntam Gambhir in his IPL career.
Gautam Gambhir officially retired from all types of cricket in 2018, although he has maintained an association with the game as a commentator. In 2019, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and became a member of the parliament at the Lok Sabha. In that very year, he received India’s fourth-highest civilian honor by the government- the Padma Shri.
This legendary cricketer turns 43 on October 14, 2023, and we wish him a very happy, healthy, and prosperous birthday!