Bangalore: Former India cricketer Vijay Bharadwaj a key architect of Karnataka's three Ranji Trophy triumphs in the 90s announced his retirement from all forms of the game at a press conference here on Friday evening.
Bharadwaj played three Tests and ten one-dayers and his moment of glory at the international level came when he excelled in the LG Cup at Nairobi in the 1999-2000 season, grabbing ten wickets and scoring 89 crucial unbeaten runs lower down the order, all through the tournament.
In his first-class career spanning from 1994 to the current year, he played in 96 matches, scoring 5553 runs and grabbing 59 wickets. A slipped-disc problem that afflicted his lower back during India's tour of Australia in 2000 under Sachin Tendulkar's captaincy, undid Bharadwaj's career. Though he did recover from the injury, he somehow could never recapture the magic of the 1998-99 domestic season when he scored 1463 runs and grabbed 21 crucial wickets to help Karnataka defeat Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji final close on the heels of its earlier titles in the 97-98 and 95-96 seasons.
"I never played for money or fame but I always wanted to play for the sheer pride of representing Karnataka. Now though the selectors have not announced the Ranji probables list, I know I am not in that list and hence I don't think there is any point in me extending my career. I am announcing my retirement and I thank my family, friends, KSCA, teammates, my cricket clubs City Cricketers and BUCC and my employer Canara Bank, for all their support," Bharadwaj said.
Bharadwaj last played for Karnataka in the 2004-05 season and this season he did tour Australia with the State `A' team but a relapse of his earlier back-injury put him back on the recovery path.
"I scored some crucial runs but with the relapse of the earlier problem, I had to take a month's break and then I started training all over again but with the selectors overlooking me, I have lost my motivation. I would look at coaching and umpiring as post-career options," Bharadwaj said.