Deep within there's a sense of achievement but definitely a bit of despair along whenever champions retire and Gautam Gambhir feels absolutely the same right now, having bid adieu to the beloved sport on December 4.
The strong value-based man played his cricket with a lot of defiance and fortitude but he rues to have to not smiled enough on a cricket field.
"I have enjoyed every bit of it. There were a lot of ups and downs and that’s what makes you a better human being as well. I really enjoyed the entire journey," India's 2011 World Cup winner told CricketNext in an interview, "I would have been satisfied with even one international game because there are individuals who don't even get to play one."
"I have got 147 opportunities (ODIs) to make my country proud, 58 Tests and so many T20s to do well. No regrets that I have done this with complete honesty and done my country proud in the process."
"My childhood dream was so strong to win the World Cup and I got 2 opportunities to do that in T20 World Cup and in 50-over World Cup. The 2011 World Cup was the only (50-overs) World Cup I played and what better script than to become champion in it," he said.
When asked what is still the biggest regret of his career, the 39-year-old termed the twin 4-0 whitewashes in England and Australia as his most painful memories at the highest level.
"My biggest disappointment was not to win Test series abroad. I was part the of a great series win in New Zealand. Test cricket is the pinnacle of cricket, not the IPL or T20 cricket. Another special win was in South Africa," he said, "but the lowest point was when we got thrashed 4-0 in England when we were the No. 1 side in the world. Went to Australia the same and against got thrashed, so those two were my lowest moments."
Queried about plans for the future after his last first-class game against Andhra in this season's Ranji Trophy, Gambhir firmly intimated, "I don’t know yet. I want to go out there and win a game of cricket for Delhi. There’s still one game left."
"I don’t think too far ahead, once I finish I am going to see what are the options and take it on from there. I really want to do something with my foundation and touch as many lives as I can," he signed off.