Gautam Gambhir: The unsung hero for India

Debjyoti Bhakta

Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir has retired from all forms of cricket on 4th December 2018. He was the unsung hero for India in the World Cups and one of the most underrated batsmen and skippers for India. He has represented India in 58 Tests, 147 One Day Internationals and 37 T20I matches. He has played 154 IPL games for Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders. He has represented Delhi and Essex in domestic tournaments of India and England respectively.

Here's looking at Gautam Gambhir's journey as an unsung hero.

#1 International debut (2003-07)

Gambhir international debut was against Bangladesh in TVS Cup in 2003. His debut half-century came in the third match of this series. His Test debut was against Australia in the last test of Border Gavaskar series in 2004. However, his appearance was unforgettable. His debut Test century was against Bangladesh in 2004.

But due to his decline in form in Tests against Pakistan and Lankans, he was dropped and was replaced by Wasim Jaffer. The selectors, however, ignored him for the 2007 World Cup.

He was selected for the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa. He was the hero in the finals where he scored a 54-ball 75.

#2 Rise and decline in form (2007-13)

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Gauti made his ODI comeback against Bangladesh after the 2007 World Cup. Due to his excellent form, he was selected 2007 Future Cup. He scored the most runs in the 2007-08 CB Series. He scored his first double century in Tests in 2008 Border Gavaskar series.

His first overseas Test series was against New Zealand in 2009, where he scored most runs. He was the ICC Test Player of the Year 2009 and was the No. 1 Test batsman.

He was the captain for the home ODI series against New Zealand in 2010. India whitewashed the visitors by 5-0 and 'Gauti' was the 'player of the series'.

He was selected for the 2011 ICC World Cup. He was the hero in the finals where he scored a 122-ball 97 and brought the team back to the game when the openers struggled to perform.

After the World Cup concluded, Gauti struggled to perform in the Tests. But he continued to impress the selectors in the shorter formats. He was appointed as India's vice-captain for 2012 T20 World Cup.

Since the T20 world cup, his form began to decline. Due to his poor form, he was dropped from India's playing XI and was replaced by Shikhar Dhawan. His last limited overs match was against England on 27 January 2013.

# 3 IPL (2008-18)

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Delhi Daredevils picked Gauti in the inaugural season of IPL. He replaced Virender Sehwag as the captain of the franchise in 2010. He was the first DD players to score more than 1000 IPL runs.

In the 2011 auction, Kolkata Knight Riders picked him, and he was the most expensive player. Under his captaincy, KKR reached the playoffs for the first time. In 2012, KKR lifted the IPL trophy for the first time by defeating the defending champions CSK in the finals. In 2014, his team lifted the trophy for the second time by defeating KXIP in the finals. He was the highest run-scorer for KKR in the IPL history.

The franchise released Gambhir before the 2018 Auction as he wanted to win an IPL trophy for his home team DD. But due to his poor form, he resigned from captaincy on 25 April 2018 and was replaced by Shreyas Iyer. He was dropped from the playing XI.

#4 International Comeback and Retirement (2016-18)

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Gambhir was performing consistently in the domestic circuit. He was rewarded with the comeback to Indian test squad in the third Test against New Zealand in Indore in 2016. He scored a 56-ball 50 in the second innings of that match.

In the first test against England in Rajkot, he failed to perform with the bat. He scored less than 30 runs in both the innings. After that, he was dropped from India's playing XI.

He was a consistent performer for Delhi in domestic formats. He led his team to the finals of 2018-19 Vijay Hazare Trophy but was defeated by Mumbai. He stepped down as Delhi's captain before the start of the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy on 5 November 2018 and was replaced by Nitish Rana.

He announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on 4 December 2018. He scored 10324 runs in 242 international matches with 9 Test centuries and 11 ODI centuries.