Robin Bist announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Saturday. The 35-year-old Bist started his career with age-group cricket in Delhi, before moving to Rajasthan in 2005-06.
Soon after moving to Rajasthan, a young Bist featured in a side game against Pakistan XI ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy and claimed the wicket of Mohammad Yousuf, before contributing 22 runs with the bat.
A solid middle-order batter, Bist made his First-Class debut in the 2007-2008 season for Rajasthan against Delhi. Despite the team’s defeat, his 69-run innings in the second essay earned praises from the cricketing fraternity. In the next season, the batter scored his maiden First-Class century and ended up becoming Rajasthan’s highest run-getter with 422 runs, and eventually made it to the Central Zone squad for the Duleep Trophy.
Bist was one of the key members of Rajasthan’s Ranji Trophy-winning teams of 2010-11 and 2011-12. In the 2011-12 season, he was the team’s highest run-getter with a mammoth 1034 runs from 16 innings, at an average of 86.16. During the season, he scored four centuries, and those performances earned him a spot in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Delhi Daredevils, and his consistent performance was lauded by Sunil Gavaskar, who believed that young guns like Bist and Ashok Menaria should be given more opportunities.
Though he toured West Indies that year with the India A team, little backing from the State unit and untimely injuries meant Bist could never really hold on to the India A spot.
With the Rajasthan Cricket Association suspended from 2013 end, Bist moved to Himachal Pradesh in the 2015-16 season, before returning to Rajasthan in 2017. His second homecoming, however, was not that fulfilling, even though he hammered 741 runs in the Ranji Trophy in the 2018-19 season.
A classy and technically sound batter, Bist later moved to Sikkim and Uttarakhand before deciding to hang up his boots.
“I am almost 36 and I knew that I would not get an IPL contract again, neither would I play for India, so I thought over it and decided to move on,” an emotional Bist told Sportstar.
He posted a long and emotional message on social media, thanking all his coaches, mentors and family for supporting him throughout the journey.
“It was an emotional decision for sure. I am grateful to this game for giving me so much, but when you play non-stop cricket for 10-15 years, you end up missing out on your family life. You end up missing out on being with the family when they need you,” Bist said.
“I have had my moments of happiness over the last one decade, and now I plan to sit back, relax a bit with family and then start my full-fledged coaching career…”
Bist has been playing club cricket in Chennai and will formally begin his coaching career with the Salem franchise at the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) later this year.
“When I look back, there are so many happy memories that I cherish,” he said, making it clear that guiding Rajasthan to the Ranji Trophy title will always be special.
“To have shared the dressing room with the biggest stars of the game - Yuvraj Singh, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja - is special. This is the stuff dreams are made of and I will always cherish them…”
In his early days, Bist would travel 50 kilometres regularly to attend training in the national capital early in the morning. That passion for the game and the hunger to perform kept Bist going in his long domestic career.
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