Banglore: L Balaji, the former India and Tamil Nadu pacer, has confirmed his retirement from first-class cricket. He will, however, continue to be available for Twenty20 tournaments like the Tamil Nadu Premier League.
A veteran in the Indian domestic circuit, Balaji retired with 330 wickets from 106 first-class matches in a career that spanned 16 years. He also picked 145 wickets from 100 List-A games in the same period.
Balaji, who will turn 35 later this month, led Tamil Nadu’s pace attack for a large part of his career and even led the side to the Ranji Trophy final in 2011-12, where they finished second-best to Rajasthan.
His last international appearance came in the World T20 in Sri Lanka in 2012.
Between October 2003 and March 2005, Balaji played eight Tests, picking up 27 wickets, and turned out in 30 ODIs between 2002 and 2009, bagging 34 wickets. He also played five T20Is for ten wickets.
“I have decided to move on, it’s the right time,” Balaji said on Thursday. “But it’s not a complete (retirement) announcement. I’ll continue to play T20s in tournaments like the TNPL.”
Balaji’s decision to call it quits from the long format is by no means a surprise. In a bid to mentor Tamil Nadu’s young bowling attack, Balaji took up the role of the state team’s bowling coach while still a player ahead of last year’s domestic season. He, however, did not play a single first-class game, meaning his last first-class appearance remained the 2014-15 Ranji Trophy final, where Karnataka defeated Tamil Nadu by an innings and 217 runs.
“I’m yet to decide whether to continue as bowling coach,” said Balaji, who is currently playing in the inaugural TNPL. “After this tournament (TNPL) ends, I’ll think about it and decide. I have a young family, will discuss with them and the board and make a call.”
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