Gautam Gambhir: A Selfless Cricketer Who Puts The Team Ahead Of Individuals
Gambhir has always been a team man.
Those who are catapulted to power tend to misuse it. Those born with a silver spoon naturally consider privileges their birth-right. Graceful exits in Indian cricket are nothing but a sensational canard. Even the master, Sachin Tendulkar was worn to a frazzle in search of an elusive 100th international hundred, and when he finally crawled to the landmark against Bangladesh, the time taken to get there arguably cost India the match and thereby a place in the Asia Cup final. Tendulkar's obsession with the three figure-mark was quite contrary to his idol, sir Donald Bradman, who called it a day averaging 99.94.
We have cultivated a culture in India where certain things, like Tendulkar's place in the team for example, are selectively held sacrosanct. The individual here is invariably bigger than the game. So when Gautam Gambhir, albeit quite dramatically, decided to relinquish captaincy of the Delhi Daredevils, one was compelled to stand up and applaud the selflessness. Gambhir has always been a team man.
He has always been a deserving member of a team first, and only after that criterion was met, he'd assume the responsibility of leading the side. It's a philosophy advocated by Australia for eons. You choose the best playing eleven and then pick one of them to lead the side. It's perhaps no coincidence that Ricky Ponting, who had relinquished his position as the captain of Mumbai Indians when he felt that he wasn't contributing to the team's cause as a batsman, is the head coach of the Delhi unit that Gambhir was leading.
Gambhir’s decision may have raised many eyebrows and broke thousands of hearts, but this is the kind of spirit Gambhir is known for. Many might believe that Gambhir quit too early and has a lot of cricket left in him, perhaps, it may be true, but he thought stepping down was the best for his side and can comeback whenever the team needs him. He is known to lead the side with example, from the front, like he has famously done throughout his IPL career. He is known to plunder massive runs and has done it quite prolifically, but unfortunately this season has not been as fruitful as he would have expected to be.
“As a leader of this ship, I take complete responsibility for where we are in the points table. Seeing where we are placed, I have decided to step down and name Shreyas Iyer as as the next captain. I think that is the way forward. We all feel he is going to do a god job and he is the right guy to take this team forward. We need to win seven out of the next eight matches and it is absolutely possible in this format,” Gambhir was quoted in a report from iplt20.com.
Gambhir is a selfless cricketer, he’s been the unsung hero on numerous occasions with the most prominent one being the 2011 World Cup. Under immense pressure, Gambhir delivered in the high-voltage final. Just when Sri Lanka were tightening the noose around India with some effective bowling, Gambhir broke the shackles with some counter-attacking and astuteness. He rescued the Indian innings and steered them to the brink of a scintillating victory.
Many believed the Man-of-the-Match award belonged to him, but it wasn’t to be. In saying so, no credit is being taken away from the Man of the Match MS Dhoni, but Gambhir did remain an unsung hero behind this win. That is Gambhir for you. Not to forget his knock in 2007 ICC World T20 final. Gambhir played the two most vital innings in the finals when India needed them the most.
As a cricketer, it is very difficult for someone to introspect their own game and decide when is it time to throw in the towel. Everyone has the hunger to play more, no cricketer wants to give up. Such is the passion of cricket, but Gambhir belongs to a rare breed. Just when he realised the runs were not coming and his parched runs column was hurting his side, he not only stepped down as the captain but also gave up his spot in the line-up for an in form player.
Gambhir’s Twitter account read: “True, that I’ve stepped down from DD captaincy. Just to clarify it was my cal, nothing from the management or coaching staff. I may not be leading from the front but I will be the last man standing for Delhi Daredevils. NO individual bigger than d team. Very much a #DilDlll.”
Although DD’s fortunes didn’t change a lot this season, they are still the bottom-dwellers with two games to go, but Gambhir’s decision deserves humongous respect.