UNTIL A COUPLE of years ago, Delhi-born Gautam Gambhir was one of the most vital cogs in India's top order across formats. His partnership with the explosive Virender Sehwag worked wonders for the Indian team. The southpaw soon became India's favourite opening batsman. He might not be in contention for an India comeback anytime soon, but Gambhir remains one of the most hardworking cricketers of his era.
It takes a while to recollect, but Gambhir's last ODI innings came two years ago against England, and it was the same side he played against in his last Test appearance earlier this year. His last T20I match was way back in 2012 against the touring Pakistanis.
After a topsy-turvy start to his international career in 2003, Gambhir picked up pace in the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 which India went on to win, where he finished as India's top run-scorer. His crucial knock of 75 in the final helped India post a solid total against Pakistan.
Post that, there was no looking back for the Delhi batsman. 2008 and 2009 were his most prolific years and Gambhir proved his worth in the side with some commendable batting performances. In the 2007-08 CB series in Australia, Gambhir stood out as the leading run-getter of the series. One of his most memorable knocks was the 2009 Test century against New Zealand in the 2nd innings, where Gambhir batted for more than 600 minutes to help India draw the Test.
The southpaw carried his phenomenal form throughout 2009 with success at home as well as away. It didn't take him long to become the No.1 batsman in the ICC Rankings.
Probably Gambhir's most widely remembered innings was the 97 in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. MS Dhoni may have won India the cup, but it was Gambhir who set the tone for the chase with a solid foundation. Post the WC success, Gambhir continued his rich vein of form in ODIs, but struggled in Tests and was eventually left out of the squad.
However, Gambhir found considerable success in the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he first played for the Delhi Daredevils and was later signed by the Kolkata Knight Riders. Under him, KKR won the title twice, in 2012 and 2014.
The fire in his belly continues to grow as Gambhir has got back to the basics, leading Delhi in the Ranji Trophy. With the number of talented batsmen already waiting in the wings, it may be next to impossible for Gambhir to find his way back. But the cricketer hasn't lost hopes yet and if he ever comes back, we can't wait to see that glorious cover drive!
Happy birthday, Gauti! Here are some important birthday wishes, and some from fans!