Ajay Sharma calls it quits

Some 24 years after he last represented India, former Delhi stalwart Ajay Sharma announced his retirement from active cricket on Friday.

Sharma made his first-class debut in 1984-85 for Delhi and first played for India with an ODI against the West Indies at Calcutta in 1988.   -  The Hindu

Some 24 years after he last represented India, former Delhi stalwart Ajay Sharma announced his retirement from active cricket here on Friday.

In a letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Sharma said, “Please accept this letter as my formal retirement from international and first-class cricket effective as of today.”

Sharma made his first-class debut in 1984-85 for Delhi and first played for India with an ODI against the West Indies at Calcutta in 1988. Nine days later, he figured in his only Test by becoming part of the winning team against the same opponent at Chennai. His last international appearance was, coincidentally, against the same opponent at Ahmedabad in 1993.

“Playing for India was a memorable journey and my team mates and my fans made it an unforgettable experience. With the finest of coaches and trainers I developed my game over the years and learnt to appreciate the contribution of other players and importance of team work,” Sharma, 53, said in his letter to the BCCI.

His first-class stint spanning 17 years, with an aggregate of 129 matches (10120 runs), came to an abrupt end when he was found guilty of match-fixing charges. The Board slapped him with a life-ban which he successfully contested.

A Delhi court granted him reprieve in 2014 and Sharma waited for the BCCI to clear his name and grant him his dues. “I was told there was a technical hitch that I had not announced my retirement from the game to be considered for the pension and other benefits. Hence this announcement,” said the former India batsman, who hit more first-class centuries (38) than half centuries (36).

“I would like to thank the BCCI for all its support over the years and express my deepest gratitude to the BCCI for providing me with the opportunity to represent my country and allowing me to play the game at the highest level. I would also like to thank the DDCA for its incessant support and guidance through the initial years of my professional career,” Sharma stressed.

Sharma’s son Manan, a regular in the Delhi Ranji team, has played 26 first-class matches thus far apart from a stint with the India under-19.