Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir was an aggressive batsman. During his playing days, the left-handed batsman hardly duck his shoulders from involving in clashes on the field. And that’s the reason Gambhir was part of some of the most memorable battles on the cricket field. The attacking batsman was a fierce competitor. Several times, Gambhir had indulged into verbal exchanges with opposition players, especially with Pakistani cricketers.
Even after the retirement, Gambhir continues to be at loggerheads with former Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi. Both the players had been involved in heated social media exchanges in the past. No one can forget Gambhir’s famous verbal altercation with Afridi during an ODI match at Kanpur’s Green Park stadium in 2007.
Recently, on Star Sports show Cricket Connected, Gambhir was asked to pick one Pakistan player he enjoyed playing against the most. The former Delhi opener didn’t pick Afridi; instead, he went with spinner Saeed Ajmal.
Ajmal was one of the best spinners to have played for Pakistan. His ability to bowl the deceptive Doosra troubled the best of the batsmen. Gambhir termed Ajmal as someone tough to pick. Gambhir even rated Ajmal the toughest off-spinner he ever faced in his international career.
“One battle which I thoroughly enjoyed was against Saeed Ajmal. Because Ajmal was probably one of the toughest off-spinners I have faced, especially under lights as we couldn’t pick his Doosra. And the speed with which he used to bowl at, he was very very lethal,” said Gambhir.
However, during the chat, when Gambhir was asked to name one Pakistan player, he enjoyed verbal duels with the most, he indirectly mentioned Afridi.
“The world knows about that. I absolutely loved it and even now,” Gambhir said without taking Afridi’s name.
Gambhir made his debut for India in the year 2003. He has appeared for the national team in 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20Is in which he has amassed 4154, 5238 and 932 runs, respectively.
The cricketer-turned-politician played vital roles in 2007 T20 World Cup where he finished as the second-highest scorer in the tournament. He had scored 227 runs in seven innings. He contributed 75 runs in the final against Pakistan which India had won.
Gambhir had shown a similar commitment in the 2011 ODI World Cup final as well, which the ‘Men in Blue’ won by defeating Sri Lanka at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. The 38-year-old scored 97 runs off 122 balls. The left-hander also led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to two Indian Premier League (IPL) titles in 2012 and 2014.