Gautam Gambhir, who recently announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in an emotional video on Tuesday, has brushed aside reports that he had differences with former Indian cricket team skipper MS Dhoni. In an exclusive chat with Navbharat Times, Gambhir, who was part of the 2011 World Cup winning squad, regretted that he did get a chance to help India try and defend the title during the 2015 World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. Apart from cricket, Gambhir also spoke on politics and also criticized former India player and current Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu for his visit to Pakistan.
There have been reports of differences between Gambhir and Dhoni after the left-hander fell out of favour with the selectors after a poor 2011 and 2012 season. Before the release of MS Dhoni’s biopic titled ‘MS Dhoni: The untold story’, Gambhir stated he never believed biopics should be made on cricketers. However, he later clarified in a Facebook live chat that he never had a rivalry with Dhoni but had differences of opinion on several issues.
However, the Delhi left-hander did have a regret of not being able to represent India in the 2015 World Cup which was held in Australia and New Zealand. “There are several players whom I have played with who have gotten a chance to play in two-three 50-over World Cups. I got only one chance to play in the World Cup and I am glad I could help in India winning the cup. However, if you have helped the country win the title, then you deserve another chance in helping the side defend the title. Not getting a chance to be part of the 2015 World Cup is my biggest regret,” Gambhir said.
‘Thinking of joining politics’
Gambhir has been outspoken on several issues in recent times, be it the Army, farmer suicides, air pollution in the capital, Kashmir or on Patriotism. The 37-year-old has said if one has the independence to pursue the kind of work, he might consider a career in politics. “If your aim is to change the lives of the people for the better, then one must enter politics. One must not enter this field just to be a rubber stamp,” Gambhir said.
The Delhi player also criticized Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Congress MLA and former India player and commentator, for his recent visit to Pakistan. “One must not play around with the sentiments of our fellow countrymen. Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan was a mistake,” Gambhir added.
The left-hander also criticised the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, saying that with a majority in place, they have failed to fulfill the expectations of the people of Delhi.
Gambhir’s final cricket game will be against Andhra at the Feroz Shah Kotla from December 6-9. His retirement will leave a massive void in world cricket. He helped Delhi to the Ranji Trophy title in 2007/08 despite playing with a bruised palm against Uttar Pradesh. His gutsy effort helped him into the India side and he helped them win the 2007 World T20 title. His 75 against Pakistan was the difference in a narrow five-run win.
His epic 11-hour rearguard against New Zealand in Napier 2009, in which he slammed 137, helped India draw the match and win a series in New Zealand for the first time in 41 years. In 2011, more glory came his way as his magnificent 97 helped India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in the final of the 2011 World Cup to help the country win the tournament for the first time in 28 years.
In the Indian Premier League, he changed the fortunes of Kolkata Knight Riders by becoming captain and helping them to two titles in 2012 and 2014.