After 14 seasons, Dishant Yagnik decides to call it a day

"I had to draw the line somewhere, so it is necessary to stop," an emotional Yagnik told Sportstar on Sunday morning, while reaching the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Yagnik spent four years between 2011-2014 playing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.   -  K.R. Deepak

In the cricketing circles of Rajasthan, Dishant Yagnik is fondly known as 'Gilly'. While his team-mate, both past and present, often pull his leg with the nickname, they all believe that his indomitable spirit is nothing lesser than the Australian legend, Adam Gilchrist.

It's been 14 years since the wicketkeeper-batsman made his debut for Rajasthan in a Ranji Trophy match against Services. And in all these years, he has always put the team first. Whenever in crisis, the side has seen Yagnik stepping up to rescue it.

That long and illustrious journey is set to be over soon as Yagnik has decided to call it quits at the end of the ongoing Ranji outing aginst Jharkhand. "I had to draw the line somewhere, so it is necessary to stop," an emotional Yagnik told Sportstar on Sunday morning, while reaching the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

While the stumper-batsman wants to make this as his last Ranji Trophy outing, the selectors have requested him to continue for a couple of games more as there are no replacement for him. "There is no motivation for me to play. At 34, you can't drag yourself to the ground everyday and play. So, it is important that I make way for juniors," Yagnik said, quickly adding: "The thought of calling it quits crossed my mind after the game against Jammu and Kashmir. I have told the selectors and most likely, the ongoing match will be my last."

Not just for Rajasthan, Yagnik has also proven his mettle in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Rajasthan Royals, where he spent four years from 2011-2014. At a time when the Jaipur-based franchise hardly had local players, Yagnik continued to be in its scheme of things. "The stint with Royals was amazing. At this age, you have to stop somewhere. You just can't go on and on. What's there to achieve now?" he wondered.

After hanging up his gloves, Yagnik plans to get into cricket coaching and is in talks with some of his former team-mates to start some project. "I want to take up cricket coaching seriously, and that would be my way of giving back to the game. The talks are on with some of the people," the Udaipur-based cricketer said.

A decade back, Yagnik had moved to the now-disbanded Indian Cricket League (ICL), and ever since his return to the mainstream, he made it a point to be consistent with his form. "I started my career as an opener and want to end it that way. I had requested the team management to promote me up the order this season and they have agreed. I want to leave the game the way I started it," Yagnik said with a wheeling smile.

During his stint with the Royals, Yagnik came closer with former India skipper Rahul Dravid, who motivated the Rajasthan stumper-batsman, and now, as he walks into the sunset, Yagnik plans to talk to Dravid about the future. "I will call him up in a day or two, thank him for everything. His suggestions would also be important, that will help me take the next step smoothly," Yagnik said, making it clear that there was no 'pressure to quit'.

On paper, Rohit Jhalani happens to be the longest serving stumper for Rajasthan (he started in 1999 and is yet to retire officially, even though he last played in 2011), Yagnik has been the most consistent and trusted warhorse for the state side. And now, as he pads up for retirement, his team-mates plan to give him a perfect farewell by securing at least three points from the game against Jharkhand.

May be, that would be their way of sending off the good old 'Gilly'.

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