When Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman retired one after the other, it created a void in India’s famed batting line-up in Test cricket. But the average Indian fan did not fret much as he knew the likes of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag are there to lead the next generation of Indian batsmen. But unfortunately, India’s two very best openers lost form almost immediately after Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar’s retirement. Both Gambhir and Sehwag became irregular in the side and eventually lost out their places to Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan in Test cricket and Rohit Sharma in ODI cricket. Gambhir did make a comeback for a couple of Test matches in 2016 but was again dropped from the side.
Former India chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar, who had the seen the best of Sehwag and the rise of Gambhir, said the left-hander should have played for India much more than actually did. Terming Gambhir an underrated player, Vengsarkar said Gambhir’s anger was one of the main reasons behind his not so long career.
“Underrated player. Had a lot of talent but couldn’t control his anger and emotions. I feel that for the kind of ability he had, he should have played much more for India,” Vengsarkar told Times of India.
Gambhir, who made his debut for India in Bangladesh in 2003, last played for India in a Test match against India in 2016. The left-hander announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in 2018.
Gambhir represented India in 54 Tests. Scoring 4154 runs with 9 hundreds at an average of 41.95. He was also awarded ICC Test Player of the Year in 2009. Gambhir had scored 1269 runs at an impressive average of 84.60 in the eight Tests he played. He scored five centuries and four half-centuries during the period.
But the left-hander will always be remembered for his stellar shows in India’s two World Cup victories. Gambhir was India’s top-scorer with 75 off 54 balls in the 2007 World Cup final against Pakistan at Johannesburg.
The left-hander had scored a 97 in the 2011 ODI World Cup final against Sri Lanka, which rated by many as one of the best ODI innings played by an Indian batsman.
Gambhir retired with 5238 runs in 147 ODIs with 11 hundreds. In T20Is, he scored 932 runs in 37 matches.