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Karnataka pacer Sreenath Aravind decides to play only T20 cricket

After his state-side won the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Tuesday, Aravind announced his retirement from first-class and List A cricket, but will be available to play T20 leagues.

Karnataka pacer Sreenath Aravind decides to play only T20 cricket
Karnataka pacer Sreenath Aravind (Photo: Twitter)

New Delhi: India and Karnataka pacer Sreenath Aravind, 33, called it a day on his first-class and List A career, moments after his state side beat Saurashtra by 41 runs for the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Aravind shuttled in and out of the Vijay Hazare eleven but played a big role in Karnataka’s campaign during the 2018 Syed Mushtaq Trophy, taking 15 wickets in 8 games at a staggering average of 11.93 and an economy rate of under 7.  

Aravind played one T20I for India in 2015 against South Africa but leaked 44 in 3.4 overs, with India on the losing side despite putting up 199 on the board. It was South Africa's middle-order batsman JP Duminy who had overshadowed Rohit Sharma’s century (106) by a match-winning 68 at Dharamsala.   

On Tuesday, in the final at the Ferozeshah Kotla, Aravind conceded 42 in seven overs without a wicket. His figures could have been a little better had Cheteshwar Pujara not milked him for 15 in one of his overs. Aravind, though, had decided to quit first-class cricket a night before and was only waiting for the opportune moment to make a formal announcement.  

“This was the moment I was waiting to call it a day after winning the Vijay Hazare (Trophy) and I am very happy that I am calling it a day,” Aravind said.

Aravind has been one of Karnataka’s most consistent performers on the circuit and is leaving the game on a high, with a lot of memorable outings. He played 56 first-class games and picked 186 wickets. In the T20s he has featured in 84 matches with 103 wickets to his name. 

He could have taken the decision earlier in the season considering his flickering long-format career but waited to stick around until the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Incidentally, he played against Saurashtra in his swansong, the same team he debuted as a youngster. Life had come full circle for Aravind.

“I started my career in 2007 playing against Saurashtra, so started with that and ending on a good note. This is a great moment for us and I appreciate the support provided by my well-wishers,” he said.  

Very few players come up with the realisation that they have a moral duty towards making way for youngsters, introspecting that this could well be their time to move on. Surely, the KSCA wouldn’t have any qualms about picking him up for a few more years but Aravind certainly showed character, taking into view the careers of youngsters and making sure he doesn’t become the roadblock for them.

“There is a reason. These youngsters are coming up and I am usually playing on and off, so I just want to make space for them to create a career because they are marching into a good side,” he said.

Having played for nearly a decade, it is not easy to quit the game. It was as tough for the 33-year-old as it is for any other player. “Yesterday night I decided. It was very tough actually, I could have tried for another 2-3 years going by my fitness levels, but I just want to give youngsters the opportunity,” a satisfied Aravind said.   

Aravind was not in India contention and this year, he couldn’t even land himself an IPL contract. So did that help Aravind in any way reaching the decision? The reply was negative. “Not quite because at any stage we could make a comeback to the Indian team or IPL team, actually it’s not very tough but I have taken the youngsters into consideration and deciding on that,” he claimed.

A lot of cricketers post retirements have taken up coaching roles or have ventured into commentary. Aravind has plans but he first wants to take some time off.

“I may take a break for a few months and I can come back with other T20s. Yes, I can still play KPL (Karnataka Premier League) and all other T20 leagues in the world. I will definitely play T20s but other formats are over for me,” Aravind said.