Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has revealed that the sole instance when he truly experienced pressure to perform was during the 2014 IPL season. Despite his remarkable contributions to the Indian cricket team, including notable innings like the 75 runs in the 2007 T20 World Cup final and the 97 runs in the 2011 World Cup final, Gambhir confessed that the pressure weighed on him during IPL 2014.
During this season, Gambhir encountered a challenging period where he faced three consecutive ducks while captaining the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Dubai. The pressure became so intense that he found himself unable to face the first ball in the subsequent match. Reflecting on this time, he admitted to feeling ashamed of himself for even asking Manish Pandey to open the batting in his place.
In a conversation with RevSportz, Gautam Gambhir shared his thoughts on the incident: “The only instance where I genuinely felt the weight of pressure was in 2014, when I encountered a series of three ducks for KKR in Dubai as the captain. In the fourth match, I made the decision for Manish Pandey to take up the opening position while I placed myself at No. 3. This choice arose from a sense of fear, and I’m not hesitant to acknowledge my feelings of shame.”
He continued, recounting the events: “Unfortunately, Manish’s innings ended without any runs, and I contributed just 1 run. I remember expressing to Manish that I would never repeat such an action, resolving to confront challenges directly.”
Gambhir went on to elaborate: “I was grappling with the pressure; I felt nervous. Yet, this is where mental fortitude and bravery come into play. It’s about tackling the most demanding trials head-on. In our subsequent match, I took the role of opening the batting and promptly struck a boundary off Kane Richardson’s first delivery. This boundary proved to be a pivotal moment in my IPL career, marking a turning point.”
In essence, Gambhir’s narrative highlights a crucial phase in his career when he grappled with pressure and insecurity but ultimately found the strength to overcome it, thereby showcasing the significance of mental resilience in sports.