One of India's most bankable openers, Gautam Gambhir recently turned 37 on Sunday. Though the Delhi batsman has not featured for the Men in Blue in recent times, his love for the game has seen him ply his trade in the domestic circuit.
The swashbuckling batsman has been in the game for almost 15 years now. And even in the twilight of his career, Gambhir has time and again shown that he still has some years left in him. Most recently, Gambhir starred for Delhi with a brilliant 104-ball knock against Haryana, and in the process sealed a berth in the semi-finals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
The catalyst behind India's famous 2011 World Cup win, has spoken about his retirement plans in an interview with IANS. The former Indian opener insists that he has no plans of retiring and will only call time on his career when there are no emotions involved in the game.
"No, till the time I keep scoring runs, that makes me happy. You keep doing it. I think scoring runs, winning, coming back to the dressing room happy, being in the winning environment makes me happy. Till the time I have that passion in me, where I want to come back to a happy dressing room, I want to be a part of that happy environment -- I am going to keep going, and the day I feel that there are no emotions involved in it then I would think it's time to go," Gambhir said.
Born in Delhi, Gambhir started his career in 1999 with the Ranji Trophy and made his Test debut in 2004. In 2011, he started his captaincy with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Under his captaincy, KKR won their IPL title in 2012 and again in 2014.
Gambhir played an integral part in India's wins in the finals of both the 2007 World Twenty20 (75 runs from 54 balls) and the 2011 Cricket World Cup (97 from 122). He is the recipient of the Arjuna Award in 2008. And in 2009, he was the number one ranked batsman in ICC Test rankings and was the recipient of the ICC Test Player of the Year award.
Speaking about his journey so far, Gambhir said: "You can always fill in something. There is never an end to your journey and probably the day I would feel that has been achieved, I obviously could not have continued playing. There is a vacuum and there is always something more to achieve in life as well and that is what makes a person work hard and keep going forward as well.''
Gambhir who has been part of the Indian Premier League for 11 years now, insists the league has gotten bigger and better over the years with new talent emerging from the nooks and corner of the country.
"That will always happen because new players will come. Challenges will be different, players and franchises will get smarter. From the first to the eleventh edition, IPL has got tougher, better and more challenging.
"That is where the biggest challenge for any sportsman is. If you can keep growing with that challenge, that is what will keep you going," the southpaw said.
(With IANS inputs)