Former Indian opener and World Cup hero Gautam Gambhir on Tuesday announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. "After more than 15 years of cricket for my country, I want to retire from playing this beautiful game. The most difficult decisions are often taken with the heaviest of hearts. And with one heavy heart, I’ve decided to make an announcement that I’ve dreaded all my life," Gambhir said on Twitter while sharing a video message.
The most difficult decisions are often taken with the heaviest of hearts.— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) December 4, 2018
And with one heavy heart, I’ve decided to make an announcement that I’ve dreaded all my life.
Here's the video message:
The 37-year-old Delhi batsman played in 58 Tests between 2004 and 2016, scoring 4154 runs at an average of 41.95, with the help of nine hundreds and 22 fifties. He also played in 147 ODIs between 2003 and 2013, besides featuring in 37 T20 Internationals.
The veteran Indian batsman said the Ranji Trophy game against Andhra Pradesh starting on Thursday will be his last competitive match. Gambhir will always be remembered for his match-winning 97 runs in the final of 2011 World Cup against Sri Lanka in Mumbai. He was also India's top-scorer in the 2007 World T20 in South Africa and the 2011 ODI World Cup, both of which the country won.
"The next Ranji Trophy game against Andhra will be my last day in the sun. It is coming to an end where it all started at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground," Gambhir said in the more than 11-minute long video post.
Gambhir, one of the most successful batsmen for India, has been out of favour with the national team for a while now after a dip in form and last played a Test back in 2016 against England.
"The thought has been with me day and night. It has travelled with me on flights like an irritable excess baggage, it has accompanied me to practice sessions, mocking at me like a menacing bowler. On certain other days, it has made my dinner taste horrible," Gambhir said, elaborating on his thought process leading up to Tuesday's decision.
The aggressive batsman, who courted controversy of late for his outspoken views on political issues as well, had a prolific first-class career, which spanned 197 matches and produced 15,041 runs. His List A run count stands at 10,077.
"Each time I got out playing for India, or KKR or Delhi Daredevils, this thought would turn into a sharp disturbing noise and walk with me all the way to the dressing room shouting that 'it is over Gauti'," he explained. Gambhir said the thought became overpowering during the 2014 IPL, the lowest ebb being three successive ducks in the tournament and things only got worse for him after that.
"I was searching for my confidence in that deep, dark pit but I could only lay my hands on the same sharp, disturbing noise. It said the same: 'It is over Gauti'," he said. Gambhir, who recently drew criticism for cherrypicking his Delhi Ranji appearances, said he tried hard to make a comeback in this year's IPL but could not make it count. "After a decent 2017 domestic season, I entered this year's IPL with confidence as my best buddy. I thought all those negative noises were dead. But I was wrong. Six games of IPL for Delhi Daredevils it was back. And this time it was louder than before. Perhaps, my time was up. Yes, my time was up," he said.
"So, here I am, after more than 15 years of cricket for my country I want to retire from playing this beautiful game," he added.
(With PTI inputs)