New Delhi: One of the most unrated Indian bowlers, Lakshmipathy Balaji announced retirment from first-class cricket on Thursday.
The 34-year-old right-arm pacer played eight Tests and 30 ODIs for India, but he will always remember for hitting Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for a six off the first ball he faced in an ODI match in 2006.
Strangely, the bat broke the very next delivery he played. And it was during that Pakistan tour that Balaji made a name for himself.
Here's the video
Now, Balaji will not play the longer format of the game, though he will continue to play T20 leagues like Indian Premier League (IPL) and Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL).
Currently the smiling assasin is playing for the TUTI Patriots in the inaugural Tamil Nadu Premier League and is plying trade with Kings X1 Punjab in IPL.
On the retirements report Balaji said, “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,”.
The 34-year-old made his Test debut on October 8th, 2003 against New Zealand. Though, he played only 8 matches but he left his mark in the famous tour of India against Pakistan 2004 where he played a significant role in India's winning the series 2-1.
The series was tied with 1-1 each and decider to be played at Rawalpindi when Balaji took 7 wickets, including that of Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Balaji has been very unlucky with injuries thoughout his career but was very much entertaining from the fans point of view. His habit of hitting six to fast bowler and then reply them with his witty simle irritated most of the fast bowlers around the world.
The speedster played his last test match on March 24th, 2005 against Pakistan.