Gautam Gambhir’s childhood coach Sanjay Bhardwaj said the timing of Gambhir’s decision to retire from cricket was right and he has always been sincere about his game. “Gambhir has always given his 100 per cent to the game and has been sincere towards it. He has never sought fame or name,” Bhardwaj told indianexpress.com.
Bhardwaj, who has nurtured players like Amit Mishra, Unmukt Chand, said a coach would never like to see his ward retire from the game. “I would have liked him to continue playing cricket. Even CK Naidu played his last first-class cricket match in 1963 at the age of 56,” he said.
In his retirement speech, Gambhir has mentioned that Bhardwaj stood by his side during his thick and thin in life. “Whenever in trouble I could count on him. Sir, I don’t know if I have made you proud but I can assure you I gave all I had,” Gambhir, who was adjudged ICC Test batsman of the Year for 2009, said.
Bhardwaj, meanwhile, said Gambhir had approached him two-three years ago when he was going through a rough patch in the domestic circuit. “I gave him a few tips to improve his stance. But the real change in his batting came after he went to Australia (to train under Justin Langer) and adopted the two-eye stance. After that he scored a flurry of runs in IPL for KKR and for Delhi,” he said.
Bhardwaj also rued the fact that the 37-year-old did not get many opportunities to make a comeback into the Indian side despite racking up 632 runs in 10 innings in the 2017 Ranji season. The temperamental cricketer last played for India against England at Rajkot in November 2016, scoring 29 and a duck.
“He had been batting well and has been scoring runs in the domestic tournaments. I feel somehow his performances have been ignored. He should have been given a chance as India still doesn’t have a regular opening pair,” Bhardwaj said.
On Gambhir’s second innings after retirement, Bhardwaj said the Delhi cricketer always wanted to work for the society and would be associated with it. Recently, there were reports that Gambhir would join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and contest in the next general elections from Delhi.