Having been out of the radar for quite some time, Gautam Gambhir returned to the Indian team seemingly out of nowhere for the 3rd Test against New Zealand at Indore. The doughty left-hander chipped in with a half-century and played his part in ensuring that the highly coveted Test mace fell into the hands of captain Virat Kohli. Eager to provide another option at the top of the order, he opened up on the similarities in characteristics with his skipper who also hails from Delhi.
In an interview with NDTV, Gambhir believed, “When you are playing against an opposition, you want to go out there and win a game and for that, you have to be aggressive. As a leader, you want your team to play as you are. Both of us are aggressive and passionate individuals and want to do well for our respective teams.”
The southpaw added, “Even if we have a difference of opinion, there is nothing wrong in it. We both have same ambition that is to make our country proud and try to win each and every game as possible and try to contribute to the team’s success. There is nothing personal about it. This is what professional people do. We are pretty good friends on and off the field.”
The bone of contention was their war of words during an IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders. When Kohli was dismissed, his counterpart Gambhir ran across and celebrated the wicket in front of the right-hander. Things escalated quickly after the duo charged towards each other but another cricketer from Delhi Rajat Bhatia intervened at the appropriate time and prevented a major incident.
Despite speculations surrounding the deteriorating relationship between them, the duo reportedly patched up immediately in the aftermath of the fateful encounter by dining together. At various stages of the Indore Test, they were even seen sharing quite a few laughs and friendly moments on the field which put to rest any murmurs about their bond.
A veteran of 57 Tests, Gambhir has scored over 4000 runs at an average of 42.52 with nine centuries and twenty-two fifties. He played an instrumental role in India’s ascent to the number one Test ranking back in 2009 under MS Dhoni’s captaincy by forming a dangerous opening partnership with Virender Sehwag. Now eager to utilize his second coming amidst a group of younger personnel, he lauded Kohli’s leadership skills by noting, “Virat leads the team by example.”