What’s the story?
Gautam Gambhir has picked MS Dhoni as the captain under whom he enjoyed playing the most. Apart from the wicket-keeper batsman’s tenure, the left-hander has also played under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli.
In a candid interview on Star Sports’ Knight Club program, Gambhir revealed, “I have played under Sourav, Rahul, MS and Viru, I somehow felt that I enjoyed a lot under MS (Dhoni).”
Hence, it did not come across as a surprise when he defended the 35-year-old’s mixed returns in the early stages of the 2017 IPL season. The Kolkata Knight Riders skipper said, “Here if a player does not perform in one or two games, people start talking about him. But I think he (Dhoni) is a quality player and we all know what he has done for India and in IPL as well.”
Across all three formats of the game, Gambhir has played 242 international matches. Of those, 176 have come under the captaincy of Dhoni. During a successful period between 2007 and 2011, the southpaw was a key member of the star-studded Indian side which won the World T20 and World Cup and rose to the top of the Test rankings.
The heart of the matter
In April 2003, Gambhir played his first match for India (an ODI against Bangladesh) under the captaincy of Ganguly. Even though he featured sporadically during Dravid's leadership tenure and gradually began to make a mark under Kumble in Tests, the opener enjoyed his most productive run across all formats only after Dhoni took over the mantle.
While the gloveman continues to be a prominent part of the limited-overs teams, Gambhir’s international future appears to be uncertain. Under Virat Kohli‘s captaincy, the left-hander played a couple of Tests during the recently completed home season. However, he was unable to retain his spot in the side as the season progressed.
Even as Gambhir has been enjoying a fruitful IPL season with the bat, Dhoni is showing signs of returning to his best. With the Champions Trophy around the corner, the former is likely to miss out even if he goes on to have a sparkling run for the Knight Riders. On the other hand, the latter’s presence in the lower middle-order will be vital to India’s chances in the tournament.
Gambhir has played under some of the finest captains India have ever had. Seeing as the opening batsman was at the peak of his career when Dhoni was leading the team, his statement is spot on.