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Indian Cricket's Unsung Hero Calls Time On His Playing Career

After making his India debut in 2003, the opener has established himself as a gritty fighter and a true champion.

Indian Cricket's Unsung Hero Calls Time On His Playing Career
Indian Cricket's Unsung Hero Calls Time On His Playing Career
outlookindia.com
2018-12-05T16:00:27+0530

One of India's unsung cricketing heroes called his time on the sport on Tuesday, thus signalling the end of a generation of cricketers who have seen the transition of Indian cricket.

In his 15 years in Indian cricket, the left-hander from Delhi has witnessed it all – the nobility of the 'Fav Five' in Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag to the moulding of a team which today commands both respect and fear. And in Gambhir, the world sees a person who lives by these values – from his magnanimity in charity works to the feistiness on the field and the virtual sphere.

After making his India debut in 2003, the opener has established himself as a gritty fighter and a true champion. Known for his aggression as a player, Gambhir is equally famous for his staunch nationalism, often displayed in his many tweets. The aggression, the sheer helped him to become a successful cricketer despite his many flaws as a batsman.

He was never a gifted stroke-maker like Yuvraj Singh. But he made sure runs come in a plenty with calculated shots, often riddled with fallacies. He didn't also have the power of MS Dhoni, but managed to score runs at a brisk rate. All these attributes helped him become one of India's most important players in a period when the team was shifting through crests and troughs of success and failures.

But he remained an underachiever, overshadowed by more fluent players. Probably that's why he chooses to be more outspoken in other space or may be, it just comes to him naturally – to speak about issues that affect his life. His many tweets confirm the fact that he truly cares about what's happening around him. And that makes him one of the most relevant players, who fans can relate to.

It will be a new start for the cricketer, who once helped India lift two World Cup trophies, top scoring in both the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup finals. It's impossible to think Indian cricket without him. Without him, Dhoni's legacy might not have been there, because it was built around those wins.

Then, there's the Indian Premier League (IPL) chapter. His association with Kolkata Knight Riders will be remembered not only for the two titles he helped the team to win but for giving a distinct identity rivalling the ones carried by the flambouyant owner Shah Rukh Khan. He is also the fourth highest run-getter in the IPL with 4217 runs.

His success was not limited to limited overs cricket only. In the 50-odd matches, he scored more than 4000 runs as probably India's best left-handed Test opener. At one time, after 29 Tests, his aggregate of 2760 runs with the help of nine centuries  was one of the best. And of course, his opening partnership with Sehwag will be remembered. Their tally of 4412 runs is fifth in the all-time list of most runs by an opening pair.

But there were moments of madness during his playing career, driven by passion and will to succeed. If his run-ins with Pakistani players have become part of the Indo-Pak rivalry, then his fights in the domestic and IPL matches will become footnotes to his brilliant career.

He has not been in India shirt for some time, but fans will miss him. He played 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20Is for India, scoring 4154, 5238 and 932 runs respectively. He has 20 international hundreds, nine in Tests and 11 in ODIs.

What next, Gauti? That's the question everyone is asking.

Rumours are rife that the 37-year-old will join politics, and reports of him contesting the next general elections from Delhi on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket have been doing rounds.

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