Mumbai: Former Indian pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji has called time on his career. Balaji said that he wants to spend quality time with his family, after playing the game at senior level for over 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 quickies career was constantly plagued by injuries but he never complained and got on with the game. Balaji worked hard on his game and should have played for India if injuries didn’t affect him.
The pacer played eight Test matches and took 27 wickets with an average of 37.18 with one five-wicket haul. He also represented India in 30 ODIs and grabbed 34 wickets, Balaji last represented India in 2009 against Sri Lanka, after that he continued to play in IPL and first-class cricket.
Balaji always played with smile on his face and is mostly remembered for hitting Shoaib Akhtar for sixes and was favourite among his fans for the entertaining brand of cricket that he played. He was not an express bowler but was clever and made most out of his abilities.
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 appreciated the role of TNCA and said that, “I want to thank the TNCA and all those cricketers and coaches who guided me,” Balaji told The Hindu.
The speedster from Tamil Nadu played 104 T20 games in the IPL and took a hat-trick in the first season. He has represented Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders and is now playing for Kings XI Punjab. Balaji played the game for the right reasons and always believed in fair play. He would be missed and was a real stalwart in domestic circuit.