New Delhi: Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir has announced his retirement from cricket on Tuesday (December 4). The Ranji Trophy game between Delhi and Andhra starting Thursday at the Feroz Shah Kotla will be his last game.
Gambhir, 37, has played 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20Is for India scoring more than 10000 runs combined. He made his debut in 2003 and last played for India in a Test against England in Rajkot in 2016. He retires with nine Test centuries and 11 ODI centuries to his name.
He played key roles in India’s title victories in the 2007 World T20 and the 2011 World Cup, top-scoring for India with 75 and 97 in the respective finals.
Gambhir said in his video statement that he has been contemplating, and dreading, retirement for years, pointing to his failures in the 2014 IPL and being dropped from the Test side in 2016. The poor performance in IPL 2018, when he returned to Delhi Daredevils, made him decide that his time was up.
“After more than 15 years of cricket for my country I want to retire from playing this beautiful game,” he said. “Despite all the aches and pains; fears and failures I won’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 may be 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 finals of both these games is a 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 has ran 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 offstump was.
“The historic series wins in New Zealand and in CB series in Australia 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.”
Among Gambhir’s highest points in his Test career is the marathon 436-ball, 643-minute 137 which helped India save a Test against New Zealand in Napier in 2009. The 206 against Australia in New Delhi in 2008 remains his highest Test score.
After being dropped from the format in 2014, Gambhir earned a recall to Tests in 2016, but was dropped after managing just 108 runs in two Tests, one each against New Zealand and England.
Gambhir formed a successful opening association with Virender Sehwag in times when India were seeking stability at the top. They’re the most successful opening partners for India, having added 4412 runs together from 87 Tests at an average of 52.52.
Gambhir also had a hugely successful IPL career as both batsman and captain. He is the fourth highest run-scorer in IPL with 4217 runs from 154 matches, and also led Kolkata Knight Riders to the title twice.
“The thing that I will miss the most is the camaraderie of an Indian team’s dressing room,” he said. “It was a wonderful place to be in. Yes, there are pressures of international sport but then when you have team-mates 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.
“At some stage I would like to shed the retired cricketers tag and would like to recycle myself to be useful for something else in cricket and beyond. I am big one on loyalty. I am glad that 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. I am sure it’s sweet as well.”