Gautam Gambhir had played his last international match against England in November 2016. Two years later, while his fans still wished to seem him wear the Indian jersey, the former India captain surprised everyone by announcing retirement from all forms of cricket on 4th December 2018.
A fierce competitor
Gambhir has scored over 10,000 international runs across the three formats of the game. He has various records to his name and will go down among the Indian cricket alumnus as one of the greats. He will also be remembered as one of the fiercest competitors.
He expressed will, defiance and passion for the game, unlike anyone. His on-field battles with rivals such as Shahid Afridi, Shane Watson, and even Virat Kohli will linger long in the memory of all cricket fans.
Indian fans will never forget his batting heroics in the final of 2007 World T20 and the ODI World Cup in 2011. Many will fondly remember his marathon 137 of 436 deliveries at Napier, where he batted for over 10 hours to save the Test. He has many such marvelous innings to cherish in an international career that spanned nearly a decade-and-half. However, his legacy goes way beyond.
The Delhi boy stood as one of the pillars of Indian cricket during a golden period when the team won World Cups and became the best in Tests. He solved India’s consistent opening problems, especially since he never backed down from challenges abroad.
He and Virender Sehwag formed one of the most productive opening partnerships ever. The duo together averaged a phenomenal 63.25 in Tests and 50.54 in ODIs.
Gambhir’s fearlessness at short mid-wicket or silly point has been highly underrated. He always appeared keen to take one for the team.
Gambhir’s stint as captain of Kolkata Knightriders in the IPL proved that he was one of the best minds in cricket. He excelled as a leader, leading with passion. He could set Test match fields in T20s because the situation demands it. He could choose to not accept his entire IPL salary (did so with DD in 2018 when he opted to play for free foregoing his 2.8 crore salary) and subtly succeed in doing things not many would have thought of. Because he did things that he felt was right.
The 'unbeaten' goodbye
The 37-year-old’s farewell may not always be remembered as the end of an era, but it’ll always find a place in the fondest chapters of the Indian cricket books. His goodbye marks the farewell of a man who could dig it out. He has left truly unbeaten. More stories await him and us as we bow down to one of the unsung heroes of Indian Cricket – Gautam Gambhir.