Gautam Gambhir is a former Indian cricketer who is a politician nowadays. He was a left-handed opening batsman and an occasional right-arm leg break bowler. He played for India from 2003 to 2016.
In 2000, Gambhir was selected for the first intake of the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. In domestic cricket, Gambhir had an average score of above 50 and his two consecutive double-hundreds in 2002, making him a strong contender for the opening slot in the Indian cricket team.
In 2003, Gambhir made his ODI debut against Bangladesh in the TVS Cup. In his third match, he was named ‘Man of the Match’ for scoring 71. In 2005, he scored his first century against Sri Lanka, during which he scored 103 runs in only 97 deliveries.
Gambhir’s test debut came in 2004 in the fourth match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. In the second test against South Africa he scored 96. His first test century was against Bangladesh in December 2004. However, as he repeatedly struggled against Chaminda Vaas at home, he was dropped from the Test team. Gambhir is often blamed for not converting his starts of 20 or 30 into larger scores.
When Gambhir was out of the Test team, he played several ODIs for India from 2005 to 2007 but was not included in the 2007 Word Cup squad. However, for the Bangladesh tour of 2007, Gambhir scored his second century and was selected for the Ireland tour. In the very first match, he was awarded ‘Man of the Match’ for an unbeaten 80.
In the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, Gambhir performed exceedingly well and was the top scorer for India scorinng 227, with an average score of 37.83 including three half-centuries. In the final against Pakistan, he scored 75 runs from just 54 deliveries.
In 2008, Gambhir solidified his spot in the Indian Test team as an opener, scoring a double hundred against Australia. He starred in corresponding series against England and New Zealand was named in the 2008 World Test XI and ODI XI according to ESPN Cricinfo. He went on to win the 2009 ICC Test Player of the Year and was the top-ranked Test batsman at one point. This marked a prolific period in his career where he scored eight Test centuries in 15 months. He scored his career-best 206 against Australia in November 2008 in Delhi.
He was part of India’s 2011 World Cup squad, as they claimed a breakthrough six-wicket victory in the final in Mumbai to lift the trophy for the first time. Gambhir made 97 in the final but missed out on Player of the Match honours to MS Dhoni who made an unbeaten 91 in the run chase.
Gambhir lost his spot in the Test side but re-emerged in 2016, eventually retiring from all forms of cricket in December 2018. He became a member of parliament later that year.
Gambhir played for only two IPL franchises, the Delhi Daredevils from 2008 to 2010 and then for a one-year stint in 2018. He was the IPL’s second top run scorer in the inaugural season and would captain Delhi.
From 2011 to 2017 he was part of a successful Kolkata Knight Riders side, joining for a staggering $2.4million at the 2011 IPL Auction. He led KKR to their first and second titles in 2012 and 2014.
He finished his IPL career with 4,217 runs in 154 matches, ranked 13th overall. He is KKR’s all-time top scorer, with 3,035 runs.
He played 58 Test matches, scoring 4,154 runs at an average of 41.95 with nine centuries and 22 half-centuries. He also played 147 ODIs, scoring 5,238 runs at 39.68 with 11 centuries.