Delhi and KKR star Rajat Bhatia calls it a day

The 40-year-old Bhatia, who started his first-class career with Tamil Nadu 21 seasons ago, turned out for Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand in domestic cricket.

Rajat Bhatia in action during a Ranji Trophy game.   -  FILE PHOTO/R.V. MOORTHY

 

Seasoned all-rounder Rajat Bhatia announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Wednesday.

The 40-year-old Bhatia, who started his first-class career with Tamil Nadu 21 seasons ago, turned out for Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand in domestic cricket. In the Indian Premier League, he was part of the title-winning Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012, besides playing for Rajasthan Royals and Rising Pune Supergiants.

Bhatia played 112 first-class games, aggregated 6,482 runs (average 49.10) and scalped 137 wickets. In List A matches, Bhatia scored 3,038 runs at 41.05 and took 93 wickets.

For someone who played IPL for a decade, Bhatia’s record in T20 is, 146 matches, 1,251 runs and 111 wickets.

Part of the Delhi squad which won the Ranji Trophy in the 2007-2008 season when he hit 139 in the final against Uttar Pradesh, Bhatia was tipped as ‘India prospect’ by legendary left-arm spinner Bishan Singh Bedi even before he moved to Delhi from Tamil Nadu, nearly two decades ago.

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However, even after the retirement of Robin Singh, Bhatia could not break into the big league. His immense contribution to Delhi cricket made him one of the most respected names in domestic cricket. He saved Delhi the blushes on several occasions with his determined batting in the middle-order. With Mithun Manhas, another experienced teammate, Bhatia stitched many late-order partnerships and helped Delhi come out stronger.

Bhatia's medium pace bowling often proved a partnership-breaker. Even in the IPL, Bhatia’s variety in bowling made him a difficult bowler to hit.

Announcing his retirement, Bhatia said in a statement, "I will continue to play tournaments for my company, Air India, from where I learned so much and secured my future. I look forward to the next phase of my journey, as a trainer, and I am committed to giving back to cricket, which has given me so much, in the best possible ways."

Bhatia, armed with a certificate in biomechanics and pain management from the US, is expected to be seen in a new role soon.

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