The Complete Batsmen
Gautam Gambhir is one of the most complete batsmen
of the current era. He is adept at opening in all three forms of the game – test,
one day and twenty-twenty. Born in Delhi on 14th October
1981, Gautam made his ODI debut against Bangladesh in the TVS Cup in
2003. In his third match, he scored 71 and was named man of the match. His maiden
century (103 off 97 balls) came against Sri Lanka in 2005. In 2004, he made his
test debut against Australia in the fourth and last test match of the Border Gavaskar
Trophy. In the second test, he shined with 96 runs against South Africa. His maiden
test century came against Bangladesh in December 2004. He then made a number of
starts in the home series against Pakistan in 2005, but was able to make only one
half-century in six innings. He made 97 in Zimbabwe later that year.
He was not selected for the 2007 Cricket World Cup
as the selectors opted for a top-order of Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag and Sachin
Tendulkar. After India's first round exit from the tournament, Gautam was selected
for the One Day International in India's 2007 tour of Bangladesh. He scored his
second century on that tour and was subsequently selected for the One Day International
on India's tour to Ireland in 2007. He scored an unbeaten 80 against Ireland in
the first game of that tour and was given the man of the match award.
Gautam was selected in India's squad for the 2007 ICC Twenty20 World Cup, which
India went on to win in South Africa, beating Pakistan in the final. Gautam performed
well in the shortest form of the game, ending the tournament as India's top run
scorer, with 227 at an average of 37.83, including three half-centuries which included
a crucial 75 runs off 54 balls against Pakistan in the final.
Year 2008 started well for Gautam. At home, he scored an unbeaten 130 in the Ranji
Trophy final to help Delhi beat Uttar Pradesh by nine wickets. In the 2007-08 CB
Series, he scored an unbeaten 102 at the Gabba against Sri Lanka in a match washed
out due to rain. Three weeks later at Sydney, he scored a career best 113 off 119
balls against Australia in a high scoring match which India lost by 18 runs. He
finished the CB series as the leading run scorer with 440 runs.
In 2008, Gautam finally solidified his place in the Indian
test team. He was the leading run scorer in the test series against England
in December 2008 and against New Zealand in early 2009, meaning that he had achieved
this feat in three consecutive series.
Gautam played his first major test series outside the sub-continent, having toured
New Zealand in 2009. In the second test match he scored a match saving 137 in the
second innings. He stood more than five sessions in the middle and faced over 430
balls. This innings led Virender Sehwag, Gautam’s opening partner, close friend
and captain for the match, to call him 'The Second Wall'
in reference to Rahul Dravid. He then scored 167 in the second innings of the third
test to give India a conclusive lead, but rain helped the New Zealand batsmen to
hang on for a draw. Gautam, with 445 runs in six innings at an average of 89, helped
India win 1-0 to script a series win in that country after 41 years.
He was named as the ICC Test Player of the Year for 2009 and was briefly ranked
the No. 1 batsman in the ICC rankings in July.
As sidharth Monga of Cricinfo puts it, Gautam Gambhir is a batsman who is feisty and
firm, capricious and correct, insatiable and insecure – all at once! Since his inclusion
in the Indian national cricket team in 2003 (ODIs) and 2004 (Tests), this Delhi
boy has come a long way and there is still a long way to go for this spirited cricketer!