Gambhir scores his 43rd First-class century in farewell match

New Delhi: Gambhir, while playing a farewell Ranji match, slammed a century against Andhra on Saturday at the Feroz Shah Kotla in his home-city Delhi. On a misty morning at the Kotla, Gambhir completed his 43rd First-class century against Andhra Pradesh off 163 balls, eventually scoring 112 off 185 balls. The script couldn’t have been more perfect for the Delhi soldier and sometimes ‘captain’, who is in his 76th and final Ranji Trophy game with over 6,200 runs to his name at an average of over 54.

Heartfelt retirement

Earlier on Tuesday, Gambhir posted a heartfelt and emotional video to announce his retirement from all formats of the game. Gambhir, who is also lauded as one of the finest openers that India have produced in its history, has played many match-winning innings to give India victory from crunch situations and in big matches.

Guard of honour

Gambhir received a guard of honour from the opposition Andhra players, which shows what a legend of the game he is. After Andhra posted a 1st innings total of 390, Delhi got off to a flyer opener Hiten Dalal played a brilliant knock of 58. However, the fairytale was being written at the other end. Gautam Gambhir slowly packed his punches and drives and scored a brilliant ton in the final match of his career.

Batting first, Andhra registered a score of 390 in which Ricky Bhui played a sensational knock of 187, whereas for Delhi, Subodh Bhati picked up a five-wicket haul. Bhati had sent Prasanth Kumar (0), Srikar Bharat (17), Jyothi Sai Krishna (0), Girinath Reddy (29) and Karn Sharma (31) back to the hut.

‘Trying to live honestly’

Gambhir scored an unbeaten 130 in the final against Uttar Pradesh in January 2008 in a nine-wicket triumph for Delhi. The hunger to score runs for Delhi has not waned for the former captain as last season he was the sixth highest run-getter with 683 runs in nine games at an average of 56.91 with three hundreds as his team entered the Ranji Trophy finals once again, only to lose to Vidarbha.

In his final game as well, Gambhir guided youngsters like fellow opener Hiten Dalal and first-time Delhi skipper Dhruv Shorey in the middle as he scored another determined century.

“For the players to follow you, sometimes you have to lead the charge as well. I have done the same with Delhi as well by trying to live honestly on certain principles and try to help young kids who deserved to be helped,” Gambhir was quoted as saying in an interview.

“I want to go out there and win a game of cricket for Delhi,” he said about his final match.

The 37-year-old left-handed batsman has enjoyed a prolific cricketing career and was praised not only for his batting skills but also for his captaincy skills as he led Indian Premier League (IPL) side Kolkata Knight Riders to two title-winning seasons. Gambhir finished his IPL career for his home franchise Delhi.