Successful career overall
Gautam has nine 100’s and 22 50’s in his 58 test career. He has scored over 4000 runs at a creditable average of 42. He has a 200 in test cricket. 4 of his test tons were abroad and 5 were at home. India has never lost a match in which Gautam hit a test hundred. We had 4 wins and 5 draws.
He also played almost 150 ODI for over 5000 runs at a terrific average of almost 40. He has 11 ODI hundreds ( 8 matchwinning ones) and 34 50’s. His highest ODI score was 150.
Gautam had another test record to his credit, having 50’s in consecutive 11 test matches, to equal records of Viv Richards and Virendra Sehwag. Subsequently Mominul-ul-Haq of Bangladesh too scored 50’s in 11 consecutive tests and AB De Villiers and Joe Root broke Gautam’s record by scoring 50 in 12 consecutive tests.
Gautam is one of only 4 Indian cricketers to win the ICC Test cricketer of the year award, the others being Rahul Dravid, Virendra Sehwag and Ravi Ashwin. ( Sachin and Virat have won Cricketer of the year Awards).
One of only 4 players to have 5 test centuries in 5 matches.
Only one player has hit hundreds in 6 consecutive test matches and its none other than the great Don Bradman. However there are only 4 players ( including Don Bradman) who have centuries in 5 consecutive Test matches. Gautam is one of them along with Jacques Kallis and Mohd. Yousuf. 2 of these 5 tons by Gambhir were in New Zealand which is not a happy hunting ground for Indian batsmen. 2 were in India and 1 was in Bangladesh. 4 of these 5 tons were in the second innings which shows Gambhir’s mental toughness. With this feat, Gautam crossed Sunny Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid who had test hundreds in 4 consecutive Tests.
World Cup Hero who did not get his due.
In both the world cups India has recently won, Gautam was one of the biggest performers , especially in the most difficult match of the tournament- the high-pressure final. In the 2007 T20 World Cup, Gautam was the highest scorer for team India in the tournament. He had 3 50’s in the tournament and in the final he had a crucial 75 in 54 balls which helped India set up a target of 158. India were well and truly on top with Pakistan at 104/7 in 16 overs and 54 required in 24 balls when Misbah-ul Haq took them to a stroke of victory. However India won by 5 runs.
Similarly in the 2011 ODI World Cup final, chasing a competitive 274, India were in a spot of bother at 31/2 with Sehwag out in 2nd ball itself and Sachin too for 18 soon after. Gautam who came in at the 3rd ball itself steadied the ship with Virat who was out for a crucial 35 with the score at 114. Thereafter Gautam and Dhoni had a match-winning partnership of 109, and when Gautam departed for a well made 97, India were at the doors of victory with 52 required at a run a ball with 6 wickets left.
In my opinion, Gautam’s sterling contribution in both the World Cup wins is not given as adequate mention as it should have been.
Successful stand-in captain
Gautam was a successful stand-in-captain for India when he led India to a 5-0 whitewash over the visiting New Zealand team. He was also the man of the series and in the 3rd ODI where the series was won, he scored his highest ever ODI score of 150 and was man of the match that time as well. He also captained the ODI time a 6th time versus West Indies and that match too was won by India. Therefore it is a 100% win record for him as captain.
Successful IPL Career
Gautam has been a successful IPL player and captain. He has led the KKR team to two titles. This year he returned to his original IPL team, the Daredevils but unfortunately did not do well and for the team’s interests, dropped himself.
Recently in a Vijay Hazare Trophy match, Gauti scored 151 but chose to retire hurt when over 10 overs were left to give others a chance to bat. This was an extraordinary gesture when normally he would have been expected to try for his 1st 200 in a List A 50 over match (maybe last as well). Apparently Gauti still has hopes of making it to Indian team which seems difficult with KL Rahul, Prthvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal being 1st 3 choices and presumably recently dropped Murali Vijay still in reckoning. However one has to praise his motivation to keep going.
It is unlikely that he will make it back to Indian team. However there is no doubt he has been one of our best players ever.
This blog on Gautam is at the request of two of my best friends, UK Based Surgeon Dr Rajinder Pal Singh and Bangalore based Software wizard Gurdeep Virdi who are his big fans. My thanks to them for asking me to do so, and giving a tribute to an unsung hero, which normally people omit to do so.
Happy Birthday Gautam Gambhir.