Former Karnataka captain waves goodbye February 22, 2007

Sujith Somasundar retires from first-class cricket

Cricinfo staff

Sujith Somasundar: one short of 100 first-class games © Getty Images

Sujith Somasundar, the former Karnataka captain who opened for India in two one-dayers, has announced his retirement from first-class cricket. Making the announcement at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday, Somasundar admitted that it was a tough decision to take.

Somasundar, 34, who also turned out for Saurashtra and Kerala towards the end of his career, was one of the leading Karnataka cricketers over the last 15 years. He fell one short of 100 first-class games and managed 5525 runs in them. His two one-dayers for India, one apiece against Australia and South Africa, came in the 1996 Titan Cup. He was one of the pillars around Karnataka's Ranji Trophy triumphs in the '90s, including aggregating 803 in nine matches in the victorious 1995-96 season.

"It was a tough decision," said Somasundar, "but to quote Confucius, you need to change your profession every 15 years to retain your passion, motivation and commitment. And after 15 years of first class cricket, I felt that my passion and motivation were coming down and it was time to leave."

Indian captain Rahul Dravid termed it a bitter-sweet moment. "You remember the good events in your career and Sujith, I am sure, will look back at his 15-year long career with immense satisfaction," Dravid, who's career coincided with Somasundar, was reported as saying. "His career could have been better than what it eventually turned out to be, because those who played along with him knew about his potential."

Anil Kumble, who Somasundar credited with giving him the opportunity to open turning around his career, felt Somasundar should have had a longer international stint. "He was one of those unlucky players to have come up against the likes of [Glenn] McGrath and [Jason] Gillespie in their prime at the start of his career."

Somasundar, who's currently working with Wipro Technologies, said he was considering a career in coaching. "I have done my courses at the NCA and I am looking at coaching too. I have also done a course in mental education under a psychologist from the United States. In fact when I played for India, I think I was not mentally ready for it and I didn't do well but playing for the country was a high point and so was being part of the Ranji Trophy winning teams."