Veteran Bengal cricketer announces retirement

Veteran Bengal cricketer announces retirement

By: || Updated: 30 Dec 2015 01:40 PM
Kolkata: Two days after he was named in the Bengal squad, former captain and veteran all-rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla on Wednesday announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

"For last one month, I was not getting the right motivation... Not feeling myself, the link was missing," the most-capped Bengal player said in a news conference with his six-year-old son Agastya on Wednesday afternoon at his club Mohun Bagan.

"Mentally, I was not ready to play again. I started having this feeling for about a month and was not able to sleep properly. Now I can sleep peacefully," the 34-year-old player added in his emotional speech with his son hugging him. Shukla, however said he would be available for his club if Bagan feel his "service is needed".

Shukla said he had decided two days' ago as he also circulated a copy of his letter to Cricket Association of Bengal president Sourav Ganguly dated Tuesday.

The ace all-rounder, who had played three ODIs for India scoring 18 runs and picking up a wicket, was named Sunday in Bengal's 16-member squad for the upcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The announcement came on the eve of Bengal's departure for their group A league matches of the Syed Mushtaq Ali domestic Twenty20 tournament.

It is learnt that Shukla took the 'drastic' decision as a fallout of his meeting with Ganguly, who was unhappy with Bengal's group stage elimination from the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament. Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary was also present in the meeting.

Shukla, who played 137 first-class matches and scored 6217 at an average of 36.93 including nine centuries and 37 fifties, however denied that he was forced to call it quits and termed it a personal decision.

Terming Ganguly as his best captain, Shukla said: "He's been a source of inspiration not only to me but for cricketers all over the world. He wanted me to continue but I told him I was not feeling well."

"I'm committed to my state Bengal from where I got everything. State is a big pride for all of us. To play for Bengal is the biggest moment of my career. It's obviously painful but I think it's the right time for me to go," an emotional Shukla said.

Asked why he chose his club tent and not his company of Bengal teammates in Eden Gardens to call it a day, Shukla said: "I started cricket alone and I want to leave alone. I don't want to involve anyone. I've no regrets."

A recipient of the Lala Amarnath Award for the best all-rounder in domestic limited-overs format for the 2011-12 season, Shukla in the 2013-14 season had become the first player from Bengal to appear in his 100th Ranji Trophy match when he led against Services in New Delhi in November 2013.

A handy medium-pacer who is cleverly used as a partnership-breaker, Shukla also took 172 wickets at an
average of 34.75 including three five-wicket hauls with his best being 6/86.

Shukla, who last represented Bengal against Saurashtra in the domestic one-dayers on December 18, also played 141 List A matches scoring 2997 runs at 30.27 and claiming 143 wickets at 27.62.

He was part of Kolkata Knight Riders inaugural Indian Premier Triumph in the 2012 season as he also represented Delhi DareDevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the cash-rich franchise tournament.

From 81 Twenty20s, Shukla had a healthy batting strike rate of 120.63 scoring 994 runs and taking 47 wickets at an average of 24.61.

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