Lanky Indian pacer Pankaj Singh, who represented the country in two Tests and a solitary ODI, has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, effective immediately. The 36-year-old, who moved from Rajasthan to Puducherry, featured in both SMAT and Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021.
Domestic stalwart Pankaj Singh has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. A tall, lanky seamer once regarded as one of the best fast-bowling talents in the country, Pankaj finishes his career with an astounding 472 first-class wickets to his name. The tall right-armer made his first-class debut for Rajasthan in 2004, as a 19-year-old, and consistent performances in red-ball cricket saw him make his Test debut for the national side in the infamous tour of England in 2014.
Pankaj played two Tests in the tour, which incidentally turned out to be his only appearances in the longest format for the country, but despite claiming only 3 wickets, he received plaudits for his tireless efforts. The 36-year-old also played a solitary ODI in 2010, against Sri Lanka, after which he did not represent the country in white-ball cricket.
"It is an emotional decision for sure. But I thought about it and decided that it is time to hang up my boots and do something new," Pankaj told Sportstar, confirming his intentions of delving into the coaching world.
"I have done level-2 coaching and I definitely want to start coaching teams. Now that I have formally retired, I can think about that. I will assess things and see how it goes."
The 36-year-old described getting the Test cap as the proudest moment of his career, and added that he will cherish the memory of playing under the leadership of MS Dhoni.
"Getting the Test cap was the biggest moment of my career and it has been an incredible journey. I have always enjoyed the game and that's why it was difficult to take the tough call, but eventually, I had to," Pankaj said.
"I am fortunate enough to receive the Test cap from Sourav Ganguly and got opportunity to play under captaincy of legend M. S. Dhoni. Memories of donning the Test cap will always be close to my heart," he added.
A Rajasthan legend, Pankaj moved to Puducherry ahead of the 2018/19 domestic season. The veteran finished as the highest wicket-taker for the side in the 2018/19 Ranji season, picking 45 wickets at a remarkable average of 9.15, but did not feature in the 2019/20 season owing to injury. He did, however, represent Puducherry in both the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy earlier this year, with his last appearance coming against Mumbai in Jaipur, a game in which Prithvi Shaw scored an unbeaten 227.