Lakshmipathy Balaji retires from first-class cricket


New Delhi: Tamil Nadu seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji has called time on his first-class career, Media news reported on Thursday. Balaji, who is currently playing for the TUTI Patriots in the inaugural Tamil Nadu Premier League, will continue to play in T20 leagues like IPL and TNPL.

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Saying its time he gives time to his family, after being attached with the game for about 16 years. “I have to move on, have a young family now. I have given it all during my 16 years as a first class cricketer ,” said former India seamer.

The 34-year old cricketer 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.” Balaji, who hails from Tamil Nadu, made his last Test appearance against Pakistan in 2005. He had a short Test career where he represented the country only eight times.

He is best remembered for his performance during India’s tour of Pakistan in 2004, where the medium pacer took seven wickets in the first Test match at Rawalpindi. During this tour, India won the three-match series 2-1 on Pakistan soil for the first time.

Balaji also acknowledged that , Anil Kumble was his icon but his then teammate Zaheer Khan had 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.”

Balaji played 106 first-class matches, picking up 330 wickets. He also picked up 27 wickets in his Test career. Balaji also captained the Tamil Nadu side in the 2011-12 season, when the team ended up in the Final. “I want to thank the TNCA and all those cricketers and coaches who guided me,” Balaji told media.

Balaji has played 104 Twenty20 league games in the Indian Premier League. He was a part MS Dhoni led team, Chennai Super Kings for first seasons, later was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders. Balaji is currently a part of Kings XI Punjab squad.

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