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Hirwani hangs up his boots

NARENDRA HIRWANI, who made a big bang entry into Test cricket bagging 16 wickets against the mighty West Indies at Chennai 18 years ago, today announced his retirement from First class cricket.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 14:12 IST

NARENDRA HIRWANI, who made a big bang entry into Test cricket bagging 16 wickets against the mighty West Indies at Chennai 18 years ago, today announced his retirement from First class cricket.

The Gorakhpur born leggie, who followed his splendid debut with 20 more wickets in the next three Tests, saw his career go downhill due to various factors and was left to play domestic cricket during the last few years. Hirwani came to Indore as an overweight 16-year-old in 1983-84 vowing to return to his native Uttar Pradesh only after having played in the Ranji trophy.

Hirwani sought out Sanjay Jagdale (now a national selector) and under his guidance began developing his bowling skills. Hiru, as he is known to his friends lost weight and gained in skills as he went on to represent Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji trophy in 1983-84 (Five wickets on debut against Rajasthan).

Following his dream debut, Hirwani was unable to repeat his performance in the overseas tours as a result of which he found himself in and out of the national team. Left to play in the domestic tournament, Hirwani found his place being taken away by other spinners.

Suffering from a combination of slump in form and lack of support from the selectors because of playing for a second string side like Madhya Pradesh, he shifted base to Bengal. Hirwani returned to Madhya Pradesh later and continued to serve the State in the Ranji trophy bagging 442 wickets – the third highest haul in Ranji trophy.

After 23 years of having served the game, Hirwani today had no remorse or ill will for anyone. “No regrets on being dropped or not being picked as the team selection depends on the requirements of the team,” he told reporters matter-of-factly here today.

Hirwani, who is employed with Air India, looking back at his playing days feels he could have improved on his batting. He also admitted that he may not have been a great fielder especially for the limited over version of the game but considered himself good enough for the five-day variety.

Talking about spin bowling, Hirwani said that the cricket management of the country is paying more attention to pace bowling, but the fact remains that batsmen will always fear seam and spin. Spin needs to be promoted and a spinners academy like the Pace Academy should be set up to nurture the spin talent.

Hirwani said that there is no dearth of talented spin bowlers in the country. Hirwani said that he does not have the resources to start such an academy at the national level but announced that he would start a spin academy in Indore, as a small attempt to give back to the State which has given him so much. He said he would approach the MP Government for land for the purpose. He also expressed gratitude to his ‘guru’ Sanjay Jagdale, his parents and wife for their support throughout.

About Madhya Pradesh team’s performance in the Ranji trophy tournaments, Hirwani felt that the batsmen had always let the team down where as the bowlers had done their job well. About the talent in Madhya Pradesh who are knocking at the doors for national selection, Hirwani singled out pace bowler Anand Rajan and leg spinner Yogesh Golwalkar.

Hirwani on a parting note said that his services would be always available for Madhya Pradesh cricket in any form. He also hinted that he would be willing to offer his services as a coach.

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 14:12 IST