Throughout his career, Gautam Gambhir was mostly viewed as a smart cricketer, stunning batsman, and a great opener for India. Gambhir proved time and time again that he was an absolute match-winner on his day and his innings of 97 runs in the World Cup 2011 final against Sri Lanka was crucial to India’s trophy win.
However, in the latter stages of his career, people recognised Gambhir’s skills as a leader as well. In 2011, Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders bought Gambhir and appointed him as the captain. That same year, Gambhir led KKR to the playoffs for the first time before winning the IPL trophy a year later. In 2014, Gambhir led KKR to their second title win and his leadership skills were on display for the world to notice.
It might come as a surprise to some fans but Gambhir has actually led the Indian team in six ODIs between 2010 and 2011 and has a 100 percent win record. Perhaps that is the reason why his former India team-mate Irfan Pathan believes Gambhir should have captained India more.
“People don’t talk about Rahul Dravid as much. So, people who don’t talk about Rahul Dravid as much, do they dislike him? No. Under his captaincy, India won 16 consecutive ODIs while chasing. Sometimes it gets under the wrap,” Pathan told Cricket.com in an interview. “As a winning captain, as a result-oriented captain and the guy who got the result, who had an excellent team, it was Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“I have huge respect for Sourav Ganguly, I have great respect for the captaincy of Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and I think Gautam Gambhir should have led the Indian team a lot more as well than he did. He could have been a really good leader,” Pathan went on.
“I really admire Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, but that doesn’t mean, I don’t admire the quality of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.”
Gambhir captained India in a five ODI series against New Zealand in 2010, in which the home team blanked the Kiwis 5-0. He was named Man of the Series for his tally of 329 runs. In December of 2011, Gambhir captained India in an ODI against West Indies – the fifth match of the series – and bagged his sixth win as India skipper.