Amit Bhandari, the Delhi seamer, has announced his retirement from first-class cricket at the age of 32. Bhandari, who played two one-day internationals for India, has not been picked in the Delhi squad since being dropped in 2008.
Bhandari, who made his first-class debut in the 1997-98 season, played in 95 first-class matches for Delhi, and became only the second Delhi bowler after Madan Lal to go past 300 wickets. He was called up to the national team in 2000 but got smashed for 75 runs in his 10 overs in his debut one-day international. He didn't play for the national side after that till 2004, when he took 3 for 31 against Zimbabwe, and still rues the fact he didn't play more international cricket.
"I sat on the bench for 32 matches," Bhandari said. "None of the coaches or captains ever told me that why I didn't play enough despite taking lots of wickets. They talked about my lack of pace but then how many in India are tearaway fast bowlers?"
Though opportunities at the India level weren't too forthcoming, Bhandari enjoyed a successful career with Delhi and also played under Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. "Amit was a bowler any captain could count on for making the breakthroughs," Sehwag said of Bhandari. "He could bowl with precision and was easily one of the best I had seen. Seam was his strong point and he could adapt to conditions easily He was a superb fielder too, inside and outside the circle. It is sad he could not play more than two matches for India." Gambhir, who captained Bhandari in Delhi's successful Ranji Trophy campaign in 2008, said he used Bhadari's inputs regularly. "His experience was priceless for the team in that season. He was an asset," Gambhir said.
Bhandari now wants to get involved in coaching and believes he can contribute to developing young Indian fast bowlers. "I would like to do all the NCA level coaching starting from this year. I would definitely like to get involved in active coaching. There are lot of subtle things about pace bowling that I still don't know. Getting involved in active coaching would give me a chance to pass on some knowledge to the younger generations."