It won't take an iota of doubt to assert that India, as a cricketing nation have been more than blessed to have always enjoyed the problem of plenty.
The case with Gautam Gambhir was not too different when he broke fresh into the national scene, As he was one of the many capable contenders of making it to the team. Though he first came into the spotlight in 2002, Gambhir was someone who did not seem as gifted as some of his competitors, Though his unmatched passion for sporting the national jersey and never-ending appetite for runs, kept getting the best out of him handing him a regular place in the national side.
Almost a couple of decades down the lane, Gautam Gambhir has had many qualities that helped him in shaping his cricketing career perfectly. Be it his ability to give back everything thrown over him through aggression or the ton of generous gestures that he has displayed every time and again.
Gambhir, like any other cricketer, has had a career studded with rejoicing flourishes and disheartening downfalls. Despite experiencing a plethora of extremes, His dedication always made him stand out, getting the very best out of him. Passion, fire, zeal he had got everything inside just to bring his best out.
He career has been a beautiful exhibition of exquisite sportsmanship, be it his decision of dropping himself from the DD Team in IPL 2018 or sacrificing his opening position for Sunil Narine in its previous edition or giving over his player of the match title to young Virat Kohli in 2009. His career was one filled with remarkable sacrifices and contribution in the interest of the team.
As Gambhir calls it a day, We look back at some of the beautiful knocks that he played over the course of his almost a couple of decade-long eventful career.
# 150* vs Sri Lanka, Kolkata (2009)
The series was nicely set up with India leading by 2-1, This particular game being the fourth of the five-game series was always going to be an important affair for both the teams. SriLanka got to a respectable total of 317, thanks to a brilliant century from Tharanga and handy contributions of 60 (72) and 31*(14) from Sangakarra and Thisara Perera respectively.
India's star-studded top order got off to a shaky start as the hosts lost both Sachin and Sehwag inside the space of first four overs. That is when Delhi lads, Gambhir and Virat coupled up and steadied the ship, rotating strike effectively and extracting a usual timely boundary.
The duo added a whopping 224 runs off 214 delivery for the third wicket steering India out of the trouble they were in after losing their openers cheaply. Virat though fell at the team score of 247, Gambhir who was still out in middle ensured that Team chases down Srilanka's total, Gambhir finished on a solid 150*(137).
The match, however, is still remembered for Gautam's wonderful gesture of handing over his 'man of the match' trophy to the young Kohli, which pretty much sums up the gem of the person Gautam is, on and off the field.
# 137 vs New Zealand, Napier (2009)
An in-form Indian team was visiting New Zealand with the hope of ending the team's 41-year winning drought in the Kiwi island. Sachin's masterclass and pacer's power-packed performance helped India cruise to victory in the first, The action then shifted to Napier.
Ryder's double century and quick centuries from Taylor and McCullum powered New Zealand to a mammoth total of 619. Indian team in response struggled hard and were wrapped up cheaply by the Kiwi bowlers as they garnered a healthy lead of 314. With more than 180 overs to play, the hosts imposed follow-on on the visitors.
Chances of pulling a draw looked very bleak, leave alone winning it. Gambhir, being a big game player came up with an absolute gem of a knock battling against the strong New Zealand bowling attack, standing firm and defending solidly, everything that was thrown at him. He batted for a whopping 643 minutes, anchoring the Indian innings and holding the grip of the game tightly from an end.
Gambhir carried his bat on the 4th day and got dismissed in the penultimate session on day 5. He was involved in important partnerships with Dravid, Sachin and Laxman, and helped India draw the game. Gautam batted for a total of 436 deliveries scoring 137, an innings that helped Team India assure a draw.
Gambhir delivered another solid performance in the next game, which helped India to draw the game and led India to a series victory.
# 97 vs Sri Lanka, Mumbai (2011)
A quick century from Mahela Jayawardene helped Sri Lanka post a competitive total of 274. India in pursuit of the World champions title got off to a poor start, losing in-form Sehwag on the 2nd delivery of the innings. Tendulkar though was looking good, got dismissed after hitting a couple of fluent boundaries.
Gambhir who came out to bat on the third delivery of the innings got some support from young Kohli as the duo added 83 runs for the third wicket. Gambhir looked solid from the other end as he was middling the ball right from the word go. However, Kohli's dismissal meant that India needed a good partnership to march forward to the title.
That is when MS Dhoni and Gambhir stitched together a wonderful partnership anchoring the team through the tough middle overs. The partnership made sure that it turns the game in Team India's favour. Gambhir missed a truly well deserved century by mere 3 runs, but his partnership with Kohli and Dhoni had ensured that there was no further slipping as Dhoni's brilliant knock of 91* helped India in completing the chase and to be called as the World Champions after 28 long years.
# 75 vs Pakistan, Johannesburg (2007)
The stage was set, the final of the maiden edition of World T20, that too setup between arch rivals; India, Pakistan was always going to be a cracker of the contest. Gambhir got India off to a great start, getting most of the runs, as the Indian team crossed the 100 run mark in the 13th over, with Gambhir and Yuvraj at the crease.
A flurry of quick wickets put India in a spot of bother, towards the back end of the innings. However, Gambhir stood still from an end after falling in the 18th over, scoring 75 off just 54 deliveries. A quick cameo from Rohit powered India to a respectable total of 157.
A disciplined bowling display from the Indian bowlers made the life tough for Pakistani batsmen, as they fell marginally short of the target, that helped India claim the maiden World T20 Champions title.