Joshi calls time on long career

Joshi calls time on long career

It was a dream come true to share the dressing room with some of the legends

Joshi calls time on long career

All-rounder Sunil Joshi called time on his 20-year career as a cricketer with his friends, family and colleagues in attendence here on Thursday.

The 42-year-old, who took up coaching from last season when he guided Hyderabad to Elite Division from Plate, formally announced his retirement at the Chinnaswamy stadium, flanked by his State and India mates Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Rahul Dravid and Venkatesh Prasad.

“It’s very difficult to give up something which I lived for each and everyday of my life,” said an emotional Joshi who braved myriad hurdles on his way to becoming an international cricketer. Born in the sleepy town of Gadag, Joshi showed tremendous grit and determination as he beat all odds to rub shoulders with the best in the business.
“Coming from a small town, it was a dream-come-true for me to share the dressing room with the likes of Anil, Srinath, Rahul, Prasad, Sachin (Tendulkar), Sourav (Ganguly) and many others. It was an unbelievable feeling for me to be playing along side these legends,” he remarked.     

His mates on the dais paid glowing tributes to Joshi while recalling his contribution to Indian, and more importantly to Karnataka cricket.

“For someone coming from such a small town like Gadag and to make a mark for himself is a fantastic achievement. He was an exceptional all-rounder and will be missed by the Karnataka team,” noted Kumble.  

The left-arm spinning all-rounder, the third highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy (479), was part of the ‘Golden Period’ for Karnataka from mid to late 90s when they won three Ranji titles between 1995-96 and 1999-2000, the last of Karnataka’s six triumphs coming under his captaincy. Joshi mentioned that (winning title after beating Madhya Pradesh after conceding the first innings lead in Bangalore) was his most cherished moment playing for Karnataka.

Having made his international debut in Birmingham on June 6, 1996, which incidentally is his birthday, Joshi appeared in 15 Tests in four years, the last one coming against Zimbabwe in Nagpur. He grabbed 41 wickets at an average of just under 36 and scored 352 runs at fewer than 21. His best moment in Tests came against Bangladesh when he bailed out India with a fighting 92 batting at number eight and claimed eight wickets for the match to win the man of the match award.

His most standout performance for India came in a one-dayer against South Africa in Nairobi where he produced returns of 10-6-6-5 that earned him the nomination for Wisden Cricketer of year award (2001-2002) for ODI match figures.

Joshi, however, will be more remembered for his exploits for his State side. “He should have played a lot more matches for India,” observed Kumble before adding: “Joshi is not about just about statistics (he has played more Ranji matches for Karnataka with 117 caps and is highest wicket-taker for Karnataka in the tournament). He has supported and mentored a lot of youngsters in the State team. In fact he has played a key role in Karnataka doing well in the last three-four years.”

Srinath, who also comes from mofussil area but with much better facilities in Mysore, said Joshi was his inspiration as the two chased the India dream. “Staying in Bangalore was difficult for me, and I used to suggest Joshi that we go back to our respective places. But Joshi wouldn’t budge and that encouraged me to stay on and continue training,” he pointed out.

Other Karnataka stalwarts GR Viswanath, Syed Kirmani and Roger Binny too were present on the occasion.

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