Gautam Gambhir couldn’t have asked for anything else as birthday present than getting a chance to play for the national team again. Owing to KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan’s injuries, his prayers were answered. The stylish left-handed batsman from Delhi made a comeback to international cricket after a span of two years.

As a tribute to Gambhir on his 35th birthday today, we tell you why he is the ultimate fighter. Gambhir made his international debut in 2003 against Bangladesh. While India won that match by 200 runs, Gambhir contributed only 11 with the bat. Later, in the same year, he played his first Test against Australia. Gambhir failed to impress with the bat again as he scored three runs in first innings and just one in the second.

Despite poor starts in his international career, Gambhir kept on working on his skills. In his very next Test against South Africa, he fell short by four runs from his maiden century. He got his maiden century against Bangladesh in his fifth Test match where he scored 139 runs. So far, Gambhir has played 57 Tests and has scored 4125 runs at a decent average of 40+. In his last innings against the Kiwis, he scored his 22nd fifty despite an injured shoulder. Gambhir’s highest score of 206 is against Australia at his home ground Delhi. In 2009-2010, Gambhir was in supreme form. He is the only Indian cricketer to have scored five consecutive Test centuries.

With the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly fighting it out for the opening slot in 2007, Gambhir was not a part of the 2007 World Cup squad. But the left-hander did not give up and continued to post big scores. In the same year, he was in the squad for the inaugural T20 World Cup. In the tournament, Gambhir scored the most runs by an Indian. At an average of 37.83 in the shortest format of the game, he scored 227 runs which included three half-centuries.

Another World Cup final and a similar situation. Chasing a big target in 2011, India lost both Sachin and Sehwag cheaply, but Gambhir came to rescue. His 97 from 122 balls along with Dhoni’s innings got us our second World Cup in ODIs. In One-Day Internationals, Gambhir has represented India in 147 matches and gathered 5238 runs with 11 centuries and 34 half-centuries. His highest score in ODIs is 150 not out against Sri Lanka. Interestingly, he was the Man of the Match in that innings but he gave his award to Virat Kohli, who had scored his first ODI century.

WATCH: Gambhir’s knock against England in the 2011 World Cup


(Video Courtesy: YouTube.com/Star Sports)

In 2010, Gambhir was appointed the captain of the Indian cricket team. He captained the Indian team in six matches and has a 100 percent winning record. He led the team in a five-match series against New Zealand and was awarded the Player of the Series for scoring 329 runs. He showcased his captaincy skills when he led Kolkata Knight Riders to their maiden title win in 2012. The team won the championship again in 2014 under his regime.

If not cricket, Gambhir would have joined the army. For Gambhir, it is the nation first always. It is his never give up attitude and fighting spirit that we salute. Long live Gauti!

WATCH: India vs Pakistan 2007 T20 World Cup final


(Video Courtesy: YouTube.com/ap dp)