Gautam Gambhir announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Tuesday, 4 December, signalling the end to a 19-year-long professional career.
The near two-decade-long stint in the game brought with it a plethora of landmarks and achievements. In over 12 years of representing India, the 37-year-old retires with over 15,000 first-class runs, and more than 10,000 runs across international formats .
Here are the stand-out numbers that illustrate cricketing life and times of ‘Gauti’.
“On the offside, first there is God, then Sourav Ganguly,” Rahul Dravid had once famously quipped. In the annals of Indian Test cricket, among all the left-handed batsman to have graced it – of which there have been a few – there is Ganguly, and then there is Gautam Gambhir.
The opening batsman’s 4,154 Test runs, in 58 matches, places him comfortably ahead of third-placed Shikhar Dhawan in terms of runs scored by left-handed batsmen for India in the longest format.
Of all his associations in the big leagues, few were probably sweeter than the one with fellow Delhi dasher, Virender Sehwag. The ‘Gauti-Viru’ train combined to wreak havoc on many a bowling attack across all formats, but none more dangerously so than in Tests.
In fact, Gambhir and Sehwag are well clear as India’s most productive opening pair in Test cricket, with 4412 partnership runs at an average above 52. The only current entrants on the top-4 of that list, Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay, are yet to have reached half that mark.
Gambhir’s finest hour in the oldest format, without much doubt, came in New Zealand in 2009. India’s bid for a first Test series win in the country in over 40 years was on shaky ground after conceding a 314-run first innings lead and being asked to follow on. The visitors, effectively, needed to bat out two whole days to save the game – and the daunting pursuit was helmed by the opener.
Gambhir’s mammoth 643-minute, 436-ball vigil is still the second-longest innings by an Indian batsman in Tests outside Asia.
His finest hour in the limited overs format, without any doubt, came in India’s most treasured ODI outing in the 21st century.
Used at number three during the 2011 World Cup, Gambhir had walked out to the middle at the Wankhede Stadium with India 0/1 chasing 275 to win against Sri Lanka. The rest, as they say, is history.
He may not have been named Player of the Final, with captain MS Dhoni taking that laurel for his unbeaten 91, but Gambhir’s 97 remains the highest score by an Indian batsman in a World Cup final.
When one speaks about Gambhir’s captaincy, thoughts automatically turn towards the IPL, where he oversaw two title wins at Kolkata Knight Riders, in 2012 and 2014. But Gambhir will walk into the sunset holding a truly remarkable piece of trivia as India captain, even if accompanied by the caveat of a small sample size.
In the history of ODIs, Gambhir is the only man to have led his country at least five times with a spotless, 100% record. It wasn’t easy fodder, either. Five of those six wins came in a whitewash of New Zealand in late 2010.
Of course, the basking glory for Gambhir the captain lay in IPL successes with KKR. His tactical acumen was embellished with twin titles for the Knight Riders, a franchise that had floundered in mediocrity before his move to the team in 2011.
Counting all T20 cricket – adding Indian domestic tournaments to the IPL and the now-defunct Champions League T20, that is – Gambhir has played the second-most matches as captain. His 170 games as skipper is second only to MS Dhoni’s 255.
Gambhir bows out as among the most highly-rated batsmen in T20s, on account of a run-laded stint through 11 seasons of the Indian Premier League. With 36 scores of above 50, he is on top of the half-centuries pile in the IPL along with Australia’s David Warner. Gambhir is also the fourth-highest run-scorer in IPL history, with 4217 runs from 154 matches.
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