Gautam Gambhir Wins East Delhi Lok Sabha Seat; Here's A Look At The BJP Debutant's Journey From Cricket To Parliament
Gautam Gambhir Journey From Player to Parliamentarian. Photo Credits: Getty Images/PTI)

Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir opened his political innings with a landslide victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. The 37-year-old contested on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket from East Delhi constituency and strolled to victory by more than three lakh margin of votes. PM Narendra Modi Congratulates BJP Workers For Thumping Victory in Lok Sabha Elections 2019, Thanks India For Filling 'Fakir Ki Jholi'.

The former Indian opening batsman announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on December 3, 2018, and played his final game for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy against Andhra Pradesh. Gambhir scored 112 in his final innings, which was his 43rd century in first-class cricket. Three months after he had called it a day, Gambhir joined BJP and was appointed the party’s candidate from East Delhi constituency in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019. Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Results: Gautam Gambhir Sledges Rivals Arvinder ‘Lovely’ and ‘Atishi’ As He Inches Towards Big Victory From East Delhi Constituency; See Tweet.

Early Years

Born to a business family in 1981 at New Delhi, Gambhir was not as gifted as some of his contemporaries. But he always made it up with grit and determination. His innings of 137 from 436 balls against New Zealand in Napier in 2009, where he batted for a staggering 643 minutes to save the Test match, is a great example of the temperament he possessed.

Gambhir started playing cricket at the age of 10 and was drafted into the Delhi Ranji Trophy team by the end of 1999. But it was his double century against Zimbabwe in 2002 that brought the young Delhi lad into the spotlight. Consistent performances in the domestic circuit saw Gambhir selected for the Indian national cricket team in 2003. He made his One-Day International (ODI) debut for India against Bangladesh in 2003, opening alongside Virender Sehwag, but failed to make a mark. Gambhir was out for 11 runs from 22 balls.

He eventually scored his first half-century (71) in the third match of the TVS Cup series against Bangladesh and registered his first century against Sri Lanka two years later. Gambhir made his Test debut against Australia in 2004 but inconsistency and prone to getting out Leg Before Wicket (LBW) left him out of the Indian Cricket team.

Rise to Prominence

The left-hander was not selected for the 2007 World Cup – India were knocked out of the group stage – which left him broken. Gambhir almost quit cricket but finding no other alternate profession decided to focus on the game. He was called back into the Indian team for the 2007 World T20 and this time Gambhir didn’t disappoint.

India won the inaugural World T20 under MS Dhoni’s captaincy with Gambhir playing a steering role. He was the highest scorer in the final against Pakistan, hitting a brilliant 75 from 54 balls that made all the difference. Gambhir was also the highest run-scorer in the tournament with 227 runs from 7 innings. This period saw Gambhir develop into one of the best batsmen in the game. His consistency level led Sehwag to call Gambhir “The Second Wall” of Indian cricket.

At His Peak

Gambhir was awarded ICC’s Test Cricketer of the Year Award in 2009 and was also the No. 1 Test batsman in that period. Gambhir will always be remembered as a big match player and most times he delivered when others around him struggled. His record of five consecutive Test centuries is only next to Don Bradman’s six successive hundreds.

India had a terrific 2011 World Cup campaign making it to the Finals where they faced Sri Lanka in Mumbai. But chasing 273 to win, India were down to 18/2 and once again it was Gambhir employing his stoic defence and determination to rescue his team. He made a match-winning 97 runs to guide India to their second World Cup title after a wait of 28 years.

End of an Innings

But like all great players, Gambhir had his slump years. Post the 2011 World Cup heroics, the southpaw struggled for runs. His bad patch saw him make several ins-and-outs of the team and finally in 2018 – two years after he had last played for India – Gambhir decided it was over. Gautam Gambhir Retires! World Cup Winning Hero Hangs Boots on His Illustrious 15-Year Career: Watch Video.

A two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) winner with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) – whom he captained to glory after initial struggling years – Gambhir called it quits on December 3, bringing an end to a 15-year-long illustrious career.  But the end of one innings opened way for the other.

Three months after he had walked away from cricket, Gambhir began a new inning as a politician. He joined the ruling BJP party, calling it his calling to continue to serve the nation. "I have a vision and I want to develop Delhi. I am Delhi born and I am connected to the city," said Gambhir before taking guard for some rearguard action.

Another Innings Begins

In the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, he defeated rivals and more experienced politicians Arvinder Singh Lovely of the Congress and Atishi of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to claim victory and become a Parliamentarian. Gautam Gambhir Joins BJP Ahead Of Lok Sabha Elections 2019, Says 'I've Been Inspired by PM Narendra Modi'.

The first innings was a success. Gambhir has begun his second innings with a sixer.