Gautam Gambhir stands for Aggressive and fighter who on many occasion bailed India out of trouble when the team needed him the most. He is one of the unsung heroes of Indian cricket. Gambhir has been one of the best Indian openers to have played in international cricket. His ODI debut for India on April 11, 2003, against Bangladesh. He soon made a name for himself and formed a formidable Opening partnership with Nawab of Najafgarh, Virendra Sehwag and had 4412 partnership runs in 87 matches, while opening, the most for an Indian opening pair. Their average of 52.52 is the best among pairs with a minimum of 4000 runs.
Gautam Gambhir was on top of his game during the late 2000s and played a crucial role in the 2007 T20 world Cup victory and 2011 Cricket World Cup. His career, however, faced a slump in form post-2011 and was dropped from the national side. But he couldn’t be silenced and he was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders for 2.5 million dollars in 2010 and became one the most expensive player at the time. He was named the captain of the IPL franchise and led them to two IPL titles, once in 2012 and 2014.
The Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) unveiled the Gautam Gambhir Stand at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi. Gambhir has played Delhi in the domestic circuit from 1999-2018. He has represented Delhi team in 198 first-class matches, 299 List A matches and 251 T20s. He also holds the record of being the top-order batsman to score 15153 runs in the first-class format and 10077 runs in the List A. He also helped his side clinch victory by nine wickets against Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy 2007-08.
The former India opener turned politician took to social media and wrote, “Arun Jaitley Ji was like a father figure to me and it is a matter of great pride and pleasure to have a stand built in my name at the “Arun Jaitley Stadium”. I thank the apex council, my fans, friends, and family who supported me at every step”.
But the Felicitation ceremony wasn’t a smooth sailing ceremony affair as Gambhir had a special message for the current mess in DDCA and even questioning president Rajat Sharma. Rajat Sharma was appointed the President in July last year when elections were held for the first time since 2013. He had resigned recently but his Ombudsman put his resignation on hold and asked him to continue.
Former Delhi Captain disheartened to see the condition of DDCA. He also raised questioned president Sharma for the delay in naming the North Stand after him. He was quoted Former cricketer turned politician was quoted saying that “I think the president can answer this question better because earlier I was told that stand will be unveiled during the India versus Australia game (in March), then they said it will be the first game of the IPL, they said the hot weather (local tournament). This was what was told to me in the last six to seven months.”
Sharma was not present on the occasion. The other cricketers to have a stand named are current India captain Virat KohliMohinder Amarnath and Bishan Singh Bedi. Virender Sehwag has a gate named after him and former India women’s team captain Anjum Chopra.
Gambhir who is known to speak his mind opened about the authorities for leaving personal issue aside and work for the welfare of the players. He also raised question credentials of the senior selection panel comprising Atul Wasan, Vineet Jain and Anil Bhardwaj. He was quoted saying that”One thing probably which is not acceptable is having a selector who has not played for Delhi. Delhi is like Mumbai and Karnataka, we are multiple time Ranji Trophy champions, so you don’t expect to have a selector who has never played for Delhi. In fact, you have got a junior selector also who has never played for Delhi. I had raised that point when I was a DDCA director but it did not change anything and hurt me a lot. There are many ex-Delhi players who can contribute so much to the game.”
The 38-year-old also informed that he had given few suggestions which were not taken seriously when he was part of the apex council and quoted saying that, “We had (court-appointed) administrators running the game for so long and then we had elections and again it is a divided house now. At the end of the day, young cricketers suffer most from all this. You can’t work with your ego, it can spoil careers of young and talented players. People in DDCA will come and go but the cricketers should not suffer. All the elected members should work as a team.”
He further added that, “My input was nothing for one year (as DDCA director). I had good suggestions like we should have scholarship for 100 cricketers who don’t have jobs. We don’t want them going to Railways or Services. I suggested an increase in daily allowance, indoor nets at Kotla, we need them because of the extreme climate in Delhi. Nothing happened there also. The most basic suggestion was change the pitch square but no action was taken on that also. Last IPL Delhi pitch was being criticised for being slow. Now another IPL is approaching and nothing has happened.”