Former India batsman Vinod Kambli today announced his retirement from first class cricket, bringing to an end a long career that started way back in 1989.
“I wanted to play alongside Sachin (Tendulkar) for one last time, wanted to play in IPL but unfortunately that did not happen,” the 39-year-old left-hander told reporters as tears rolled down his face.
“I had informed about my decision to retire to Sachin, my coaches and family members. They all wished me well. I have Sachin’s blessings,” said the flamboyant cricketer, who shared a world record partnership of 664 runs with Tendulkar in school cricket in the 80s.
Kambli, who played his last Test when he was 24, rued that despite starting his career in Test cricket with a bang, it did not turn out to be a long one.
“I performed well in Test cricket but unfortunately I didn’t have a long career. I was the fastest to score 1,000 runs (in Tests for India). I thank the BCCI, Mumbai cricket for whatever they have given me,” Kambli maintained.
“Till the last year, I was raring to go (in domestic cricket). I served Mumbai (cricket) for long, but the selectors ignored me. I’m disappointed,” he said.
Kambi made his Test debut against England in 1993 two years after playing in his first ODI against Pakistan.
His last Test was against New Zealand in 1995 while the match against Sri Lanka at Sharjah in 2000 turned out to be his last ODI.
Kambli, who whacked the first ball he faced in first- class cricket for a six, said he wished to take up coaching and produce good cricketers.
Representing India, Mumbai, and South Africa’s Boland, he scored 9,964 runs, including 35 centuries, from 129 first- class matches at an average of 59.67.
In 17 Tests for India, he scored 1,084 runs at a phenomenal average of 54.20 with the help of four centuries.
Of the four centuries, three were scored in successive innings and two of them were double tons, with his highest being 224 against England in Mumbai in 1993.
Kambli also scored 2,477 runs in 104 ODIs, including two centuries, with the highest being 106.
Kambli, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Maharashtra Assembly elections and also dabbled in acting in between, had announced his retirement from international cricket in August 2009.