Laxmi Shukla announces retirement
Laxmi Ratan Shukla, the Bengal allrounder, has announced his retirement from all forms of official cricket. He is, however, likely to continue playing for his club Mohun Bagan if they felt his "services were required".
Shukla, who was part of the Bengal side* in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, where they failed to make it past the group stages, felt he was not motivated enough to continue. It is believed Shukla's decision to call time on his career was linked with Bengal's ouster from the competition, as well as his displeasure at being overlooked for Bengal's penultimate league match after recovering from a ligament injury.
The decision comes two days after he was named in the Bengal squad for the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy starting on January 2.
"Playing for the state was an honour, and I cherish the good times. It's obviously painful to think I won't be playing anymore, but I think this is the right time to go," Shukla, Bengal's most capped player, said. "I wasn't motivated enough. I wasn't myself for the last month or so. Something was missing. I started cricket alone and I want to leave alone. I don't want to involve anyone and have no regrets."
Shukla made his first-class debut in 1997-98, soon after representing India at the Under-19 World Cup. He made his international debut in Nagpur in 1999, and played three ODIs in all. But his real contribution came for Bengal. He played 137 first-class matches in all, scoring 6217 runs at 35.93, including nine centuries. He also picked up 172 wickets with his seam-up bowling. In 141 List A matches, Shukla aggregated 2997 runs at 30.27, with four centuries and 13 half-centuries. He also picked up 143 wickets.
The 2011-12 season was a landmark of sorts for Shukla as he was part of the Bengal to their first domestic title since their Ranji Trophy triumph in 1989-90, by winning the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He capped off the tournament with a century in the final against Mumbai, and was later given the Lala Amarnath Award for being the best allrounder during the season.
Shukla also played 47 IPL matches, representing Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
* December 31, 07.30GMT - This story originally said that Shukla captained Bengal in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2012. This has now been corrected