Gautam Gambhir was the star in India’s twin World Cup wins in this century but he had a tough road early in his career. The former India opener recently revealed that he had given up on cricket after being ignored for a place in 2007 50-over World Cup squad. Gambhir was close to selection but in the end, did not make the cut.
In the year 2000 as well, he had missed out on a place in the U-19 World Cup squad. The selectors had mentioned his name but he did not make the final cut.
Terming the 2007 WC snub as the lowest point in his career, Gambhir said: “In 2007, when I missed the 50-over World Cup, that was the lowest moment in my cricketing career. I had given up on cricket. Before that, I had missed both U-14 and U-19 World Cups. In 2007 I thought I was the closest to play the World Cup, but when they did not include me in the squad, I had given up on cricket.”
The same year, he starred for India in the inaugural T20 World Cup that they won under MS Dhoni. Gambhir played an inning of 75 in the final to lead India to a score of 157/5, that was a defendable total in the early days of T20s.
Four years later, Gambhir would again step up. Chasing 275 in the final of 2011 World Cup, India had lost the wicket of Virender Sehwag on the second ball of the match. Gambhir again stepped up and put India on brink of the World Cup win with an innings of 97.
He was assisted by skipper Dhoni, who remained unbeaten on 91*. After World Cup, the team underwent a major revamp and Gambhir did not play an ODI after January 2013. He made his last Test appearance against England in November 2016.
Gambhir announced his retirement from the game in December 2018, playing his retirement match in Ranji Trophy at his home ground, Delhi against Andhra Pradesh.
The left-handed batsman bid adieu to the game with a century and retired as one of the best openers for India.
His IPL record also speaks of his volume. Under Gambhir, Kolkata Knight Riders just didn’t see their performance go up but they also won the titles in 2012 and 2014.