Lakshmipalthy Balaji, who was instrumental in India’s only test series win in Pakistan in 2004, has retired from first-class cricket.
“I have to move on, have a young family now. I have given it all during my 16 years as a first class cricketer. I will be playing in the shorter forms of the game in competitions such as the TNPL and IPL,” Balaji told The Hindu.
Balaji’s career was interspersed with injuries which meant that he never really played international cricket for an extended period of time. He played eight tests picking up 27 wickets and 30 ODIs scalping 34 wickets. In all, Balaji appeared in 106 first-class matches, taking 330 wickets.
One of Balaji’s proud moments came in the third test against Pakistan in Rawalpandi where he picked up seven wickets in the match, including the prized wicket of Inzamam-ul-Haq in the second innings. India went on to win the match and the series – their only series win on Pakistan soil till date.
Speaking to Espncricinfo, he said, "I am very indebted to my seniors from my state; I have learnt a lot from every cricketer I have played and interacted with. The TNCA has been very supportive, especially when I had a surgery, and N Srinivasan, especially, backed me. Of course, I am indebted to my family, my wife, my sisters, and my friends, without whom I wouldn't have made this level from being a tennis-ball cricketer.
He was also thankful to his physicians for helping him out during a tough phase of his career.
"I have made the physio's job and the doctor's job very tough for a few years, so I would like to thank them for helping me come out of a career-threatening injury. I kept them busy for sometime, and in the end made good friends in a different field.”