Legspinner hangs up his boots after 23-year sojourn February 6, 2006

Hirwani announces his retirement

Cricinfo staff

Narendra Hirwani: Spinning the ball for 23 years © Cricinfo

Narendra Hirwani, the former India legspinner, is set to retire from first-class cricket after 23 years in the game.

"I am retiring from first-class cricket. I am specially thankful to Sanjay Jagdale, the national selector, my parents, my wife and to the people of Indore for their support and encouragement, which I have received during my nearly 23 years of career in first-class, Tests and one-day international matches,'' Hirwani told PTI in Indore.

Hirwani, 37, burst onto the international scene with a record 16 wickets in his first match, against West Indies at Chennai in 1987-88, and after four Tests he had taken 36 wickets, the most by any bowler at this stage of their career. A string of overseas tours followed, but Hirwani was unable to repeat that success in unfamiliar conditions. With the success of a certain Anil Kumble, Hirwani found it hard to sustain a place in the Indian side.

In 17 Tests for India - the last of which came against South Africa at Kolkata in 1996-97 - Hirwani picked up 66 wickets, while in the one-day format he took a modest 23 from 18 matches. However, in domestic games he was a stalwart, finishing with 723 wickets from 167 matches, over 400 of which came for his home state of Madhya Pradesh. In the 1996-97 season he played for Bengal, taking 29 wickets at 23.13.

Hirwani said he plans to set up an academy in Indore exclusively for grooming legspinners, adding that he has urged the MP government to provide assistance.