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Thursday, October 29, 2020

On This Day: Gautam Gambhir, two-time World Cup winner, made his international debut

Gautam Gambhir did not fire on his ODI debut on April 11, 2003, but scored a 71-run knock at the same venue against Bangladesh five days later.

By: Sports Desk | April 11, 2020 3:00:19 pm
Gautam Gambhir has 20 international hundreds to his name (Source: Express Archive)

One of the most successful Indian openers, Gautam Gambhir made his international debut on April 11, 2003, against Bangladesh in Dhaka in Sachin Tendulkar’s absence. His crucial future knocks in the 2011 World Cup final and the 2007 T20 World Cup final showed his mettle when under pressure, but the 21-year-old Gambhir seemed anxious in his debut ODI innings.

As he almost ran himself out twice in the debut innings trying to sneak a single, his opening partner Virender Sehwag tried to calm him down. The nerves were surely getting the better of the Delhi opener then.

The left-handed opening batsman scored his first boundary through a top edge in an attempt to pull a short delivery from Tapash Baisya in the fourth over. Gambhir struggled to score while Virender Sehwag was hammering the ball in all parts of the ground for boundaries making full use of restrictions. Despite not being able to time the ball well he survived in the middle.

The southpaw regained confidence when he hit one out of the middle playing a perfect pull shot of Baisya on the first ball of the 10th over. But the next ball he faced, Gambhir didn’t go forward or back in the crease and the lack of foot movement produced an edge as he poked at a ball outside off stump.

He got out after scoring 11 runs off 21 deliveries sharing a partnership of 46 runs with Sehwag for the opening wicket. Sehwag went on to score 63 but it was Yuvraj Singh who sizzled with the bat scoring an 85-ball 102 including nine fours and four sixes helping India post 276 on the board.

In reply, Bangladesh suffered a batting collapse as the Indian pace attack comprising of Aavishkar Salvi (on ODI debut), Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar combined to take nine wickets bundling the hosts for 76 in the 28th over. The Khaled Mahmud-led side lost the match by 200 runs.

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Gambhir did not fire on his debut but scored a 71-run knock at the same venue against Bangladesh five days later. The opener went on to represent India in all three formats and scored 5238 runs in 147 ODIs and 4154 runs in 58 Tests. He also led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to two IPL title wins before calling it quits to all forms of cricket in December 2018.

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