I ended Gautam Gambhir’s white-ball career - Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan makes bold claim
Irfan dismissed Gambhir four times during that limited overs series (T20s and ODIs) and the southpaw played only one more white-ball series for India (vs England) before being dropped.Updated: Oct 07, 2019 20:05 IST
Gautam Gambhir is regarded as one of the best limited-overs cricketer India has ever produced. Before hanging up his boots to join political arena, Gambhir played 147 ODIs for India, in which he scored 5,238 runs with 11 hundreds and 34 fifties to his name. He also played 37 T20Is, and was an integral part of India’s squad in the T20I World Cup win back in 2007. One of his memorable innings was in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka, in which he scored 97 to help his side lift the trophy. But out-of-favour Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan claims he was the reason behind the end to Gambhir’s remarkable white-ball career.
Speaking in a recent interview, Irfan recalled how Gautam Gambhir’s distinct discomfort while facing him during the 2012 bilateral series literally finished his white-ball career. Standing tall at 7ft 1 inch, Irfan dismissed Gambhir four times during that limited overs series (T20s and ODIs) and the southpaw played only one more white-ball series for India (vs England) before being dropped.
“When I played against India, they were not comfortable batting against me. Some of them told me in the 2012 series in India that they couldn’t sight my ball properly because of my height and also didn’t read my pace,” Irfan told the ‘Samaa’ channel.
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“He (Gambhir) didn’t like to face me in match or when both teams had nets, I always felt he avoided eye to eye contact with me. I remember I got out him four times in the 2012 limited over series and he was unnerved against me,” Irfan said. Gambhir played his last T20 for India against Pakistan at Ahmedabad in that series.
He also appeared in just one more ODI series against England after facing Pakistan in the winter of 2012/2013 and was never picked in white ball format by India again. On being questioned whether he believes he ended Gambhir’s white-ball career, Irfan responded: “I believe I ended his career. He did not play many more matches after that series.”
He recalled in the interview that Virat Kohli had told him while batting against him, that he didn’t read his pace properly.
“He told me he thought I would be around 130-135 kph but I had increased my pace and I was bowling around 145 kph and he had problems picking me up. Once when he was batting he tried to pull a good length ball and missed.”Yuvraj (Singh), who was at the other end told him in Punjabi. Don’t try to pull him, rather try to cut him. Off my third ball, he went for a pull and was caught behind. Yuvi Paji told him... now go back,” Irfan recalled.
(With agency inputs)