Mumbai: There is a photo from the World Cup final that Gautam Gambhir can be truly proud of. Yes, he will enjoy the victory pictures along with his team-mates, but this one is more personal. And no, he didn't score a century, so this is not a celebration photo. It is a picture of his completing a second run after he had punched Muttiah Muralitharan in the 19th over, two runs that took him to 49.
Gambhir doesn't like the 40s and the 90s; he prefers racing through those phases. He had tried to cut the previous ball even though there was a slip and two backward points at an arm's length from each other. Gambhir was a bit edgy, and the shot was uppish but fell short of one of the points. The next ball he punched straighter of point, and immediately called two. Midway during the second Gambhir realised he was struggling, and what happened next was the defining moment of his innings. He dived full length, legs and waist forming an inverted C along the ground, elbows scraping against the pitch, head inches above the turf. It will be a significant image in Gambhir's career.
Twice in the past Gambhir has had two potentially great ODI knocks cut short by careless run-outs. Had those innings reached appropriate completion, they would have taken him from being a very good batsman to an absolute class act.