Gautam Gambhir made a successful comeback into India's Test side after two years    Getty Images
Gautam Gambhir made a successful comeback into India’s Test side after two years Getty Images

Born on October 14 1981, Gautam Gambhir turns 35 on Friday. India‘s swashbuckling and aggressive opener made his debut in international level at the age of 22 playing his first One-Day International (ODI) for India against Bangladesh. Gambhir wore the Test cap for the first time on November 3, 2004 versus Australia. Gambhir earned the Arjuna award, India’s second highest sporting award, in 2008 and became the No. 1 batsmen in ICC Test rankings in the following year. He also earned the ICC Test Player of the Year award in 2009 and was India’s best performer with the bat from 2009-2011. Gambhir’s special knocks were in the finals of inaugural edition of ICC World Twenty20 (WT20I) 2007 and ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Gambhir is also Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)’s skipper in Indian Premier League (IPL) and has led them to two IPL trophies.

Gambhir was a promising face in the domestic circuit with steady performances for this state team, Delhi. He made a mark with some scores in his early phase of the career but never gained much fame. Gambhir was dropped from the squad which went onto represent India in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in West Indies, but since then he never looked back. Gambhir was India’s highest run-scorer in the ICC WT20I 2007 and helped India to the title with a fine 75 off 57 balls in the final against arch-rivals, Pakistan.

Gambhir was the highest run-scorer in India’s Test series versus Australia (2008), England (2008) and New Zealand (2008-09). He made a successful opening pair with his senior pro and Delhi teammate, Virender Sehwag, and went onto lead India to number of memorable wins. After a spring of successful performances, Gambhir was made India’s skipper in 2010 for a five-ODI series against New Zealand with MS Dhoni being rested. Gambhir was clinical with his captaincy as he led India to a series whitewash.

Gambhir had a torrid time from 2011, after World Cup, and was finally dropped from the team in 2012-end. He made a comeback into the Test side in 2014 during India’s five-Test series in England but failed to make an impact. His scores of 0 & 3 did not help his cause and he was overlooked for a long time, thereby missing the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and other major events.

Meanwhile, he continued to lead KKR with aplomb in IPL and met with a lot of success as well. Gambhir was instrumental with the bat and tactical brilliance as a leader to make KKR a strong outfit and win the 2012 and 2014 editions. Gambhir is always known as an aggressive and short tempered player and has been involved in numerous verbal spats with opposition players: Shane Watson, Andre Nel and Shahid Afridi, to name a few. He was also involved in banters with countrymen Virat Kohli and Manoj Tiwary in franchise and domestic cricket, respectively which did not help his image.

After a staggering 356 runs at 71.20 in Duleep Trophy 2016-17, played with pink ball, and leading India Blues to the title, Gambhir was called back into the Indian Test side after injuries to India’s openers’, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan in the recently-concluded three-Test series against New Zealand. Gambhir was touted to make a comeback, after two years, in the second Test at Kolkata (known as his second home) but played the last Test at Indore.

Gambhir fell for 29 in the first innings but came back to score a fine 50 off 56 balls in the second outing. He was battling a shoulder injury as well during his innings but carried the responsibility with a brave fight. Lastly, India’s current batting coach, Sanjay Bangar, has confirmed that Gambhir is India’s important player for their long home season till March 2017 which may give his fans lots of chances to see him donning India’s colours.