Former India swing bowler Praveen Kumar has announced retirement from all forms of cricket, ending his 13-year professional career.The 32-year-old, who last donned the national colours in 2012, revealed that he will only turn out for ONGC in company cricket as he prepares for a career in coaching.
Praveen made his international debut in an ODI against Pakistan in 2007 and the following year played in his maiden T20I. It wasn’t before 2011 that he finally got the chance to play Test cricket. The Meerut-born pacer played his domestic cricket for Uttar Pradesh.
The 32-year-old, who in 2012 claimed, he will break Shoaib Akhtar’s record of fastest ball retires without breaking Shoaib Akhter’s record.
“I will break Shoaib Akhtar record of fastest ball, i will bowl at 165+ kph soon”, said Praveen Kumar in an interview.
Indeed a sad day for cricket!!
However, a combination of injuries and dip in form saw him being pushed to the sidelines. In six Tests, he took 27 wickets at an average of 25.81 while in 68 ODIs, he picked up 77 wickets at 36.02. He also played in 10 T20Is and had managed eight wickets in them.
“I have decided to retire from cricket. The decision is not taken in haste, I gave a thought over it and I felt it was a right time to say goodbye to the sport which gave me so much,” Praveen told the Indian Express. “I want to thank my family, BCCI, UPCA, Rajeev (Shukla) sir for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dreams,”
The Meerut-born Praveen made 84 international appearances since his debut against Pakistan in 2007. Despite his prodigious abilities to swing the ball, he was restricted to only six Test caps, during which he picked up 27 wickets at a healthy average of 25.81. He enjoyed a successful series of England in 2011 despite India’s abysmal 0-4 scoreline but mysteriously failed to get another game in the India whites.
He was part of the India squad for the ICC World Cup 2011 but was unlucky to be ruled out after picking up an injury.
“I have no regrets. Dil sey khela, dil sey bowling daala (I played and bowled with my heart). There are good bowlers waiting in the wings back in UP and I don’t want their careers to be affected. Mein kheloonga toh ek ka jagah jayega, (If I play, one spot would go); it’s important to think of other players’ future as well. My time is over and I have accepted it. I’m happy and thankful to god for giving me this chance,” Kumar said.
Kumar wishes to become a bowling coach now. “I want to become a bowling coach. People know that I have this knowledge. I think it’s a area which I can work dil se, I can pass on this experience to the young ones,” he said.
One of the top moments from Kumar’s international career came in the 2007 Commonwealth Bank Tri-series in Australia where he starred for India picking up 10 wickets in six four matches – that included six scalps in the two finals as India went on to win the series.