Bangalore, Jun 22: Sunil Joshi, the former India left-arm spinner and one of Karnataka's greatest cricketers, announced his retirement from first class and international cricket at his home ground, M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday evening. It was an emotional and memorable evening at the Stadium as Joshi occupied the chair on the dais along with his former Karnataka and India players, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and Roger Binny.
"This day has come in anyone's life. And yes, it has arrived! I am announcing my retirement from playing international and first class cricket," said Joshi, 42.
"It is indeed an emotional day for me. It is very difficult to give up something which I lived for each and every day of my life," added Joshi.
He continued: "This game has given me all that what I have seen and been in life. Believe me, I am going to miss it. Yet, I feel the time has come for me to move on. I would like to share my experience and talent with the younger generation. So that cricket as a sport is richer and Karnataka as a state is benefited."
The former Karnataka captain and highest wicket-taker for the state in first class cricket, Joshi scalped 615 wickets in 160 first class games. The man from north Karnataka's Gadag, also holds the record for the state's most Ranji Trophy appearances with 117 matches.
In Ranji Trophy, Joshi is the third highest wicket-taker (479). He was a good batsman too, scoring four hundreds and 26 fifties in first class cricket. He is in the elite club of scoring 4,000 runs and 400 wickets in Ranji Trophy.
Joshi is a stalwart in Karnataka cricket circles. His hard work and commitment towards the game is an inspiration for rural youngsters wishing to take up cricket as a career.
The left-arm spinner played 15 Tests for India with 41 wickets and also won 69 ODI caps with 69 wickets.
His most memorable ODI performance came against South Africa in Nairobi with an awesome bowling figures of 10-6-6-5 in 1999.
Joshi said the Nairobi showing and winning the Ranji Trophy final against Madhya Pradesh in 1999 at his home ground were his best moments.
In spite of advancing years, the energetic Joshi carried the hopes Karnataka's spin department and was instrumental in many successes.
Joshi's remarkable cricket journey began in the 1992-93 season. He went to make his Test debut against England in Birmingham on June 6, 1996. Incidentally, Joshi got his first Test cap on his 26th birthday. A special gift indeed!
Joshi played his last first class game for Karnataka in January 2011. However, after that he was contributing to the game, off the field, having coached Hyderabad to the quarter-finals of Ranji Trophy last season.
Remembering his tough initiation to the game, Joshi recalled: "I used to board the 3.30 AM Gol Gumbaz Express train in Gadag and head to Hubli daily for practice and that has helped me to now stand here."
Joshi thanked former India left-arm spin great Bishan Singh Bedi for his guidance and support.
"I must single out the great wizard of spin bowling, Shri Bishan Singh Bedi. Bedi who was my mentor, my guide, my philosopher and who continues to be so, even today. I shall remain ever grateful to this Indian legend," he said.
Joshi also thanked the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), physios, doctors, trainers, the ground staff at KSCA, administrators, support staff, selectors and captains.
He also thanked his wife Ravneet, who was present along with their son, Aryan.
"I thank my wife Ravneet, my greatest companion and friend, who stood by me at hard times and supported me with all my decisions, allowed me to focus on my game and giving our son, Aryan the care and love of both the parents in my absence. I can't thank her enough for her unconditional love and support."
Aryan surprised his dad by unveiling a coffee table, which was a compilation of newspaper and magazine clippings of Joshi's performances on the cricket field.
Also, he said it was a "great honour and privilege" to have played alongside and shared the dressing room with Dravid, Srinath, Kumble and Prasad.
Former India cricketers GR Viswanath, BS Chandrasekhar, Syed Kirmani, Sujith Somasundar and Dodda Ganesh were also present on the occasion. India paceman R Vinay Kumar and Karnataka's present Ranji Trophy cricketers were also at the venue.
Sunil Joshi's Achievements
First Class Cricket
Member of Karnataka Ranji Trophy victorious sides (1995-96, 97-98, 98-99)
Third highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy (479 wickets)
Scoring more than 500 runs and taking more than 50 wickets in a season (529 and 53)
Scoring more than 4,000 runs and taking more than 400 wickets in Ranji Trophy
Maximum appearances for Karnataka in Ranji Trophy (117 matches)
Highest wicket-taker for Karnataka in Ranji Trophy
Recipient of Karnatakata government's Rajyotsava and Ekalavya awards
Nominee for Wisden Cricketer of the year award for 2001-2002 for the ODI figures of 10-6-6-5 against South Africa in Nairobi. This is rates sixth best ever in Wisden all time ranking.
Man-of-the-match award in the inaugural Test match of Bangladesh against India in 2000 (92 runs and eight wickets)