Gautam Gambhir called it quits from all forms of the game after a career spanning 15 years of international, 20 years of first-class and 25 years of all forms. Gambhir will play his last competitive game when he plays the Delhi vs Andhra Ranji Trophy match from Thursday.
In a chat with Hindustan Times, Gambhir opened up on various issues and his journey in cricket.
Gambhir explained how he wished to be remembered and said, “As an honest and committed man because these qualities are more important than numbers. What I stood for and the commitment I played with. I never played for numbers, for 10,000 or 15000 runs, but only for commitment and stood for what was right. I can keep my head high and say I fought and stood for the right people and things.”
Gambhir also revealed the reasons behind his retirement, saying, “Runs are like money, depends on how you use them. I wanted to score to get into India team. When I couldn’t, I decided my time was up.”
When asked to comment about the current Indian captain Kohli, he said, “I admire his batting, the way he is scoring runs. He is the key to India’s chances in the World Cup. He is a fantastic batsman.”
He also had some advice for Kohli, “I don’t want to advise anybody but leadership is different from captaincy. Aggression suits him, let him do that within rules. If it doesn’t suit Rahane or Rohit, let them be the way they are. Leadership is not about making people the way you are but finding out how the other 14 want to play and carry them along as well.”
He added, “There are different ways of being aggressive; people who show emotions, people who don’t. You don’t expect Pujara to be as expressive but he won’t be less aggressive. He’ll be fighting till the last drop of blood. Those guys are important, who don’t show emotions and are willing to fight.”
He said about Kohli, “One failure can shatter him, panic him, change his personality. He’ll doubt himself, go into depression or into shell. As a leader, you need to give them security as brother, friend or father figure. Captains are on the cricket field, leaders are off the field too. Security can help players and you bigger goals. “
He also spoke about whether he had the desire to captain Indian side when Dhoni was the leader. Gambhir said, “MS was doing a great job back then but, yeah, everyone dreams of becoming India captain, especially Tests. But it wasn’t my ultimate ambition. Captaincy is a byproduct of your game.”
Gambhir also spoke about some regrets, “You always have regrets that you could have played more, especially two years back when I scored about 500 in two successive IPL seasons. All those who have played for a substantial period, like Yuvraj, Harbhajan, and Zaheer, got to play two (50-over) World Cups. I got just one and I am happy I helped India win the final (Man of the Match in 2011 final).”
On asked about his future plans in commentary or politics, Gambhir said, “Can’t say. At the moment, I am focussing on tomorrow’s game against Andhra. People say that I want to get into politics. They can say. I accompanied Arun Jaitley for campaigning because of my personal rapport of 25 years.“
He also revealed that he will gorge on butter chicken and dal makhni after his last Ranji game, as those are the things he has missed thanks to his fitness regimen.
(With Hindustan Times Inputs)