“I was not selected because I did not touch the coach’s feet”: Gautam Gambhir’s encounter with reality

Gautam Gambhir has often been the subject of contrasting opinions. Although his success with the Indian cricket team is undisputed, Gambhir's comments as an expert and his unwavering approach to defending his team when involved in any of the Indian cricket teams. Indian Premier League (IPL) led to the former slugger finding himself at the center of several controversies.

Gautam Gambhir is one of the most successful captains of all time in the IPL (CAB)

India is doing well Ravichandran Ashwin, in a podcast he hosts on YouTube and in which Gambhir was a guest, said that the latter's public perception seems to precede him, regardless of what he does on the field. Gambhir, 42, responded to Ashwin's observation by explaining why he no longer cares about his perception. “When I was young, maybe when I was 12 or 13, I didn't get selected when I was selected for my first under-14 tournament because I didn't touch the feet of the selector. From then on, I promised myself that I would never touch anyone’s feet and I would not let anyone touch my feet,” Gambhir told Ashwin on the podcast.

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Gambhir explained that there was initially a perception around him that he did not want to be a successful cricketer as much as others since he came from a wealthy family. I remember during my career, whenever I failed, be it in Under-16, Under-19, Ranji Trophy or even at the start of my international career, people would say As you come from a (wealthy) family, you don't need to play cricket. You have so many (options) that you can join your father’s company,” he said.

“The hardest perception for me to beat was that I didn’t want it as much as other people”

“So that was the biggest perception hanging over my head. People didn't realize that I wanted it more than them. I wanted to overcome this perception. So when I was able to do that, no other perception ever bothered me. The hardest perception to overcome in my life was that I didn't want it to be so difficult. I wanted him more than any of them,” Gambhir added.

Gambhir retired in March 2019 after playing 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20Is. Gambhir has over 15,000 runs in first-class cricket and over 10,000 runs in one-day format. He scored 4154 runs in Test cricket at an average of 41.95 with nine centuries and 22 half-centuries. In ODIs, Gambhir has scored 5238 runs at an average of 39.68 with 11 centuries and 34 half-centuries while in T20Is, Gambhir has scored 932 runs in 37 matches with five half-centuries with a strike rate of 119 .02. Gambhir was an integral part of the Indian teams that won the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 World Cup, scoring 97 off 122 balls in the latter and resurrecting India's chase against Sri Lanka after losing Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early. Gambhir is also the third highest scorer of all time in the IPL, behind Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni, having led Kolkata Knight Riders to the title in 2012 and 2014.

Since his retirement, Gambhir has been active as a commentator. He was a mentor for the Lucknow Super Giants in the 2022 and 2023 IPL seasons. This year, he returned to KKR as a team mentor and the team finished on top of the league table. They are set to face Sunrisers Hyderabad in the first qualifying match on Tuesday.

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