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Sunil Joshi announces retirement

Siddarth Ravindran

June 21, 2012

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Sunil Joshi at his retirement ceremony, Bangalore, June 21, 2012
Sunil Joshi, the third highest wicket-taker in Ranji history, has officially ended a career that began in 1992 © KSCA
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Sunil Joshi, the Karnataka left-arm spinner, has formally announced his retirement from international and first-class cricket. Joshi, 42, hasn't played competitive cricket in more than a year, and was the coach of Hyderabad last season.

His international career lasted between 1996 and 2001, spanning 15 Tests and 69 ODIs. His most famous international performance was his 10-6-6-5 spell against South Africa in 1999. In Tests, he was Man of the Match in Bangladesh's inaugural match, after an all-round effort, taking eight wickets and also scoring a battling 92 in the first innings.

On the domestic circuit, he was a stalwart for Karnataka, finishing as the third highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy, behind Rajinder Goel and S Venkataraghavan. He won the Ranji Trophy three times - 1995-96, 1997-98 and 1998-99. He was also a handy batsman, finishing with 5126 first-class runs at an average of 26.71. With the Karnataka State Cricket Association recently launching its plan to revive Karnataka's fortunes, it will be players like Joshi that it would be looking to unearth.

At a function organised by the KSCA to mark the occasion, Joshi was warmly praised by some of the state's greatest players, several of whom were his team-mates at both the domestic and international level. Anil Kumble hailed his impact both on the field and off it. "Congratulations on a terrific career, for being a fantastic servant of Karnataka cricket. His determination and dedication was always evident," Kumble said. "He is an exceptional allrounder whose services will always be missed. Not just stats, he also contributed by supporting and encouraging younger players."

Joshi's favourite domestic game

  • He rated the come-from-behind victory over Madhya Pradesh in the 1998-99 Ranji final as the most cherished moment in his domestic career. "We had conceded the first-innings lead and we had to push for an outright win. We couldn't sleep all night after the fourth day, as it was raining (and reducing our chances of victory)," he said. "The next morning it had stopped raining, but MP were batting out time." At tea MP were 130 for 4, and seemingly safe. "After tea, I managed to get Abbas Ali out (who batted four hours for 47) and Vijay Bharadwaj took over, cleaning up the MP tail to win the match with two overs to spare." The last six wickets went down for 18 runs.

Rahul Dravid called him 'an ornament to the game' and highlighted the importance of experienced players like Joshi in the domestic game. "Even 10 years after his last game for India, he was still playing for Karnataka," Dravid said. "It is people like Joshi who make domestic cricket the breeding ground for talent. His experience and class helps younger players and also rivals."

Dravid also highlighted Joshi's commitment. "He led by example. I remember a Ranji semi-final against Hyderabad, he bowled the first over of the day and I didn't take him off till the end of the day. He bowled 45 overs for me."

The tributes all referred to Joshi's rise from the small town of Gadag in northern Karnataka, and his struggles to make the Ranji team. An emotional Joshi himself recalled the early days. "As a 12-year-old I used to take the Gol Gumbaz express everyday at 3.30am from Gadag to Hubli (a larger town where he practised)," he said about a journey he undertook for several years.

When he finally broke into the Ranji team, after several seasons of junior state cricket, his first match didn't go to plan. "My first cap was in 1992, there was a lot of pressure on me. I made 83 not out on the first day, and bowled a single over before stumps," he said. "The next day the match was called off due to the Ayodhya riots." He went on to become the most capped Karnataka player.

Roger Binny, the former India allrounder, said Joshi paved the way for other small-town cricketers in the state. "I was the coach when Joshi came into the state team," Binny said. "He has been an inspiration to cricketers from mofussil areas. In the recent past, Vinay Kumar has also done the same thing."

Javagal Srinath was the last of the state's legends to pay tribute, and had the audience in splits with his anecdotes about Joshi's cooking, their Under-22 days and Joshi's retort after Srinath, not usually a close-in fielder, dropped a sitter at slip during Bangladesh's first Test (telling him angrily that fast bowlers should always field in the deep).

Joshi was presented a memento by the KSCA, and was surprised by a coffee table book showcasing his career that was put together by his family. The evening of bonhomie and respect was the perfect way to acknowledge the end of one of the great careers in domestic cricket.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (June 23, 2012, 20:48 GMT)

Good luck to you Sunil Joshi in your retirement. Thank you for playing cricket for India. A very exceptional domestic career comes to an end. Take a bow!

Posted by blardove on (June 23, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

Alas he decided to do so.

Posted by SudhirBang on (June 23, 2012, 14:34 GMT)

A real hard warking yet down-2-earth gentleman who rose thru d ranks with sheer determination & persistence.He proved that players from countrysides could also break inot the top league ,provided they r ready to put in that extra bit of efforts to pursue their dreams.Though he stagnated & under achieved at the International scene,yet his services to Karanataka cricket will be long remembered.SJ-U hv done yr bit .Now put yr legs up & serve d gr8 game with yr xperience & guidance 2 youngsters....

Posted by True_Indian_Fan on (June 23, 2012, 4:54 GMT)

You have served Indian, karnataka cricket for such a long time...Thaks Sunil. Enjoy your post-retirement life.

Posted by Sakthiivel on (June 22, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

That was very soon mate.. Should have played few more years...

Posted by Veera_Kannadiga on (June 22, 2012, 16:50 GMT)

I grew up watching cricket when i was in the 6th grade, have fond memories of seeing the Indian team playing 6 players from Karnataka: Srinath, Prasad, Kumble, Joshi, Dravid and Vijay Bharadwaj. Joshi a significant all rounder was constantly over shadowed by other new talent which did not leave much of a mark.

Posted by   on (June 22, 2012, 14:51 GMT)

@satanswish Lara who? the one who was a big failure against India most of the times he played in most formats? READ THE ARTICLE BEFORE POSTING SOME "ARTIFICIAL" FACTS. JOSHI'S CAREER ACTUALLY TOOK OFF THAT YEAR AND DID ON END.

Posted by 777aditya on (June 22, 2012, 12:06 GMT)

about time too - budda Jo did have some good memories with both the bat and ball in the Indian team though. KP will take sanyasa by the time he turns 42!!!!!!

Posted by ravi_hari on (June 22, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

A hard working cricketer, did not blossom as he should have. Was more famous for being a Karnataka player than an Indian. Did decently in the limited opportunities but got lost in the mad rush of ODIs and T20s. Could have done well in IPL and T20s but was a little too old for them. If he had a heart like Hogg or Warne could have played atleast the first 3 seasons as a regular. Quite a utility player but that was his limitation as well. Replacing the likes of Raju, Sunil did not rise beyond being a shadow of Kumble. In fact Kumble enjoyed bowling alongside Raju than Joshi. We all know how hard he worked to make it to the Ranji team and then to the Test and ODI team, but somehow did not justify his top billing. May be a few more chances at home could have given him the confidence to excel. With Bhajji taking centre stage most spinners lost it out in the race. High potential but underutilised, that is how we can describe Sunil Joshi. He has a lot to contribute to the sport. All the best.

Posted by   on (June 22, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

Kudos ! well served for the country and state. Post retirement Joshi has much more to offer to Karnataka's cricket by unearthing and grooming talents of small towns. All the Best !

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