Gautam Gambhir is leaving the building.
The 37-year-old, a winner of two world titles for India, announced his decision to retire from all forms of cricket after Delhi’s Ranji Trophy clash with Andhra Pradesh starting on Thursday, 6 December.
Gambhir retires after a professional career spanning nearly two decades, having first played for Delhi in 1999. The left-handed opening batsman scored over 10,000 international runs and 15,000 first-class runs.
Here is the full transcript of Gambhir’s retirement announcement, which came through a special video released on his Facebook page.
The thought has been with me day and night. It has travelled with me on flights, like an irritable excess baggage.
It has accompanied me to practice sessions, mocking at me like a menacing bowler.
On certain other days, it has made my dinner taste horrible.
Grounds, dressing rooms, washrooms – you name it – the thought has really deserted me.
Each time I got out playing for India, or KKR, or Delhi Daredevils, this thought would turn into a sharp, disturbing noise, and walk with me all the way to the dressing room, shouting “It is over, Gauti”.
It slapped me hard when I got those three ducks in a row in 2014 IPL, then again when I had a dreadful tour to England the same year.
In 2016, I was on my knees again. I was dropped after Rajkot Test match against England. I was searching for my confidence in that deep, dark pit, but I could only lay my hands on the same sharp, disturbing noise. It said the same: It is over, Gauti.
But once again, I refused to pay attention. I wanted to beat this noise. Instead of getting knocked down, I punished my body even more.
The sleep became incidental, early morning runs on the Ridge, behind my house, got longer. My personal trainers were instructed to be severe on me. I ate as if I was bankrupt.
In these times, your love and affection worked as steroids. I wanted to win again, I wanted to conquer again.
After a decent 2017 domestic season, I entered this year's IPL with confidence as my best buddy. My feet seemed to have got fresh batteries, my head was still as a pond. And my game roaring as a raging ocean, I thought all those negative noises were dead.
But I was wrong. Six games of IPL for Delhi Daredevils, it was back. And this time, it was louder than before. Perhaps, my time was up. Yes, my time was up.
So, here I am. After more than 15 years of cricket for my country, I want to retire from playing this beautiful game.
Despite all the aches and pains, fears and failures, I wouldn't mind a repeat of this in my next life too. But obviously, with a few more wins for India, a few more hundreds, and in the next life, maybe a few five-wicket hauls as well. This may sound a little wishful, but then I have seen wishes do come true.
Two World Cups, highest run-getter in final of both these games (tournaments), is stuff dreams are made of. And I only had this dream of winning the World Cup for you all.
I think someone up there was writing my script, but looks like now he's run out of his ink. But along the way, he wrote some fascinating chapters. Somewhere on the top, is being part of the number one Test team in the world.
A trophy that I look at very fondly is the one that I got for being awarded ICC Test Batsman of the Year in 2009. For a purist like me, it is a reward of somewhat knowing where my off-stump was.
The historic series win in New Zealand (2009), and CB Series in Australia (2008), will be reflected upon fondly. But I do hope the current Indian team Down Under can overshadow our feats.
I won't say the list is satisfactory, as I feel I was good enough for a lot more.
Along this journey, I have fostered some meaningful partnerships. None more than (the one) with you guys, the supporters of Indian cricket – the most important stakeholders.
I have always disapproved of the terms fans, or crowd. It’s quite demeaning, because I think at the end of the day, it is you guys who make cricket, or cricketers, what they are.
Let me address you all as partners. The partners without which Indian cricket is a body without its soul. A big thanks for supporting me, and the teams that I have played for.
A special thanks to all my partners from Kolkata. We both wear our hearts on our sleeves, we both are very demanding, and play with extreme passion. Maybe that is why my love affair with Kolkata will continue forever.
Next on my thank you list are the curators, groundsmen and numerous dressing room attendants across India. They toiled for little or minimal returns, for what is essentially treated as a thankless job. I hope their life standards improve from what they are now. A big thanks to each one of you.
I'd also like to thank numerous net bowlers who bowled to me, so that I can become a better batsman. They travelled long distances just to help me practice. Thank you very much.
My cricket coach, Mr Sanjay Bhardwaj, stood with me during thick and thin of life. Whenever in trouble, I could count on him. Sir, I don't know if I have made you proud, but I can assure you Sir, I gave it all that I had.
Sanjay Sir introduced me to the other coaching influence of my life – late Mr Parthasarathy Sharma. He was an institution in the art of batting. A lot of credit for my ability to play spin bowling should go to him. I hope I was worth his time.
Former Australia opening batsman Justin Langer was a great help too. I turned to him in 2015 for some advice. I got that in plenty, and some really heavy praises. And tell your wife, Sue, that she does some amazing butter chicken.
Through JL, I met his childhood coach, Noddy Holder. His simple approach, of see the ball and hit it back to where it came from, makes him one of the best I have met. He's a very humble man. He calls himself Noddy 'Nobody' Holder, but for my batting, Noddy was everybody.
I'd also like to thank all my coaches that I have worked with, in the Indian team, KKR, Delhi Daredevils, and of course, Delhi state teams. Each one of them had a huge influence on my career and my personality.
The thing that I will miss the most is the camaraderie of the Indian team’s dressing room. It was a wonderful place to be in.
Yes, there are pressures of international sport. But then, when you have teammates like I had, these pressures look elementary. I learnt heaps from each one of them. I will miss all of that and more. Thank you guys. You all will be my one big family.
In the end, I would like to thank all my family members for their love and support. My parents, grandparents, both the mamas and mamis. My wife, and my two little angels, who took all my tantrums and mood swings.
I'd like to begin with the original talent scout of my family, my mom. It was she who took me to a proper cricket academy at the age of 10, and rest is history. In my tough times, mom was, and is, my favourite punching bag. I'm extremely sorry mom, I have been an absolute jughead.
My dad took more pressure than me whenever I played. He never shared (it) with me, but his colleagues would tell me he would never watch TV when my game was on. Dad, you too can relax now.
My mama, who shaped me as a cricketer, and human being, is my real pillar of support. He's economical in words, but is lavish in actions. What he did for me can never be matched or measured. I hope I have lived up to your expectations. Without seeking your permission, I would like to brag that I'm your biggest achievement. Thanks mama.
My late mami was like a mother, and friend too. I'm sure sitting up there, she would still be worried if I ate properly or not. Once she was assured of my meals, she would ask me about my cricketing exploits.
My late nani was the same. I miss her loads every day, and most of all today. She was my biggest strength when I was going through the lows of my life. I hope I have done her and my nana proud. Whatever I am today, it is because of them.
My other mama and mami, thanks for standing by in pressured times.You pulled me out of a rut, time and again.
To my dear darling sister Ekta, sorry for not being there for most Rakhis. I am also sorry if I was always seeking attention from you. I'm sure I have given you some bragging rights.
To my dear, dear friends Vivek and Dinesh, thanks a lot for being there and praying for me. I'm lucky to have you as friends, especially Dinesh, to have taken all the nonsense.
A special mention to Natasha, my wife. She is the one who has borne the brunt of my mood swings. Unfortunately, she has shared more lows than highs with me. Thanks a lot for being there as my strength. Also babes, you will see a lot more of me now. As someone once said, a retired husband is often a wife's full-time job.So get ready for this new assignment.
At some stage, I would like to shed the retired cricketer’s tag, and would like to recycle myself to be useful for something else, in cricket and beyond. Let’s see.
Currently, my immediate worry is that I have to take my elder daughter Azeen to buy a yellow dress, and the younger one, Aniza, wants to play with her best friends, the dogs.
The next Ranji Trophy game, against Andhra, will be my last day in the sun. It is all coming to an end from where it started, at Feroz Shah Kotla.
I am a big one on loyalty, and I'm glad I could finish with teams that I started my journey with – in this case, ending with both Delhi Daredevils and Delhi domestic side has given me immense satisfaction.
As a batsman, I have always valued timing. I know the time is just right, and I'm sure it's sweet as well. Goodbye, and good luck.
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