Seasoned Indian opener Gautam Gambhir, who played a pivotal role in India's two World Cup triumphs, on Tuesday announced retirement from cricket, saying the "irritable noise of 'It's over Gauti'" has triumphed over his will to continue.
The 37-year-old, in a video message on his social media pages, said the Ranji Trophy game against Andhra Pradesh starting Thursday will be his last competitive match.
The aggressive opener was India's top-scorer in the finals of the 2007 World T20 in South Africa and the 2011 ODI World Cup, both of which the country won.
"The next Ranji Trophy game against Andhra will be my last day in the sun. It is coming to an end where it all started at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground," Gambhir said in the more than 11-minute long video post.
Gambhir last played a Test back in 2016 at Rajkot against England.
Gambhir made 58 Test appearances for India, accumulating 4154 runs at an average of 41.95. His 147 ODI games fetched 5238 runs, while in 37 T20 Internationals, he scored 932 runs.
"The thought has been with me day and night. It has travelled with me on flights like an irritable excess baggage, it has accompanied me to practice sessions, mocking at me like a menacing bowler. On certain other days, it has made my dinner taste horrible," Gambhir said, elaborating on his thought process leading up to Tuesday's decision.
The capricious left-hander, who courted controversy of late for his outspoken views on political issues as well, had a prolific first-class career, which spanned 197 matches and produced 15,041 runs. His List A run count stands at 10,077.
"Each time I got out playing for India, or KKR or Delhi Daredevils, this thought would turn into a sharp disturbing noise and walk with me all the way to the dressing room shouting that 'it is over Gauti'," he explained.
Many on Twitter called him 'The unsung hero of Indian cricket' to others reliving some of Gambhir's memorable innings. Here is a compilation of some of the reactions.
Congratulations on a phenomenal career, @GautamGambhir!
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 4, 2018
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) December 4, 2018
Robin Uthappa formed a formidable partnership at the top of the order for KKR
I gotta say.. I don't like retirements.. especially of people that I admire deeply. Congratulations @GautamGambhir on an amazing career. I'm grateful for all that we shared on and off the field. It's been an honour skip. My best wishes on ur second innings.
— Robin Aiyuda Uthappa (@robbieuthappa) December 4, 2018
Gautam Gambhir to retire..
24-9-2007: #WT20 final 2007 at Jo'burg: made 75 - highest score of the match
2-4-2011: #CWC final 2011 at Mumbai: made 97 - highest score for India in the match
23-11-2007: ICC #1 T20I batsman
16-7-2009: ICC #1 Test batsman
4-12-2010: ICC #8 ODI batsman
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) December 4, 2018
Many unforgettable knocks, but the one at Wankhede remains the highlight
Thank you. For jo’burg. For Napier. Most of all, for Mumbai. https://t.co/JhPFwa6uf0
— Sidvee (@sidvee) December 4, 2018
Won't be wrong to say that Gambhir's greatness lied in his grit
— Pradeep (@pradeep_bala) December 4, 2018
always enjoyed interviewing @GautamGambhir - very clear thought process, not afraid to express a view. think he will add real value to conversations around indian cricket going forward.
— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) December 4, 2018
Gauti I wish you all the best going forward brother..u have been a true champion and fighter for india lots of love pic.twitter.com/uTx0pgwKII
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) December 4, 2018
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) December 4, 2018
His aggression was well noticable in his proactive captaincy
— Knight Watchman (@knightwatchman_) December 4, 2018
On the career front, @GautamGambhir has lots to be proud of. Led Delhi to a Ranji Trophy title, two match-winning knocks in two World Cup finals, part of No. 1 Test side, took over a floundering @KKRiders and masterminded two title wins. Well played.
— Shashank Kishore (@captainshanky) December 4, 2018
Gautam Gambhir will surely be missed! Not only for being a classic left handed batsman but also for carrying his passion on his sleeves.
Napier test innings would be my favourite innings of him but obviously two crucial word cup innings! #ThankYouGauti @GautamGambhir @BCCI
— Savi (@Savi_S9) December 4, 2018
With inputs from PTI