Former Indian pacer and the Tamil Nadu player cum coach, Lakshmipathy Balaji had made an announcement for his retirement from the First-class cricket on Wednesday.
While announcing his retirement Balaji told thehindu that, “I have to move on, have a young family now. I have given it all during my 16 years as a first class cricketer.”
In his cricketing career Balaji had been successful in making his mark in the international cricket as well on many occasions. HE also explained how he dealt with his injuries, he said “I would ask myself how Kumble would deal with it. Then I would get my answer.”
Although, Balaji didn’t have a big test career, as he had played only 8 international test matches, still, he had played a key role for India in India’s tour of Pakistan in 2004. Unfortunately, the following year, Balaji played his last test for India.
In that tour Balaji had picked up seven wickets in the first test at Rawalpind including Pakistan captain Inzamam Ul Haq. Reliving that series he said, “It was a late outswinger, Inzamam nicked it and I would never forget that moment. We won the Test and the series, for the first time in Pakistan.”
The following year, he came back from an injury and became more furious as he bagged nine wickets against the same opposition. He said: “I had come back from an injury and bowled with a remodeled action. I was generating good pace and took out Younis Khan with a mean one.”
Balaji also acknowledged that although, Anil Kumble was his cricketing icon but his then teammate and the fellow Indian bowler Zaheer Khan has helped him a lot during his career. He thanked him and said: “Zak would constantly share his ideas with me, encourage me. He is a fine person.”
He has all praises for the former Indian coach, John Wright, who had a pretty big impact on his career. He said, “I was very young, just around 20, when I played for India. John really believed in me and made me believe in myself.”
Lakshmipathy Balaji has bagged 330 wickets in his 106 First-class matches. He also picked up 27 wickets in his not so big Test career. Balaji was the skipper of the Tamil Nadu side, who were the runners up of 2011-12 season.
Balaji also thanked all his coaches and TNCA for the support he had got. He said: “I want to thank the TNCA and all those cricketers and coaches who guided me.”
However, Balaji hasn’t decided yet about future but is expectedly he will continue to be the bowling coach of the Tamil Nadu Ranji side.