Former opener Aakash Chopra retires from first-class cricket

New Delhi, Feb 6: Former India opener Aakash Chopra today formally announced his retirement from all forms of competitive cricket after a career spanning over 15 years in which he also played 10 Test matches for the country during the 2003-04 season.

In his 10-Test career, Chopra scored 437 runs at a mediocre average of 23 with both his half-centuries coming against New Zealand at Mohali. However, it was the subsequent Test series Down Under against Australia, which brought him into prominence despite failing to score a single half-century.

File photo of Aakash Chopra

But his scores of 36, 27, 48 and 45 meant that he blunted the new ball attack comprising of Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Brad Williams, Nathan Bracken and Andy Bichel.

His dogged defending gave Virender Sehwag a chance to play his natural game. A poor series in Pakistan followed by another dismal show against Australia at home ended Chopra's international career.

However he was a giant in domestic cricket having scored 10,839 runs from 162 first-class matches with 29 centuries and a highest score of 301.

"I should have achieved more, that is the feeling that will always linger. At the same time, I don't think I was supremely talented," Chopra told ESPN Cricinfo after his retirement.

"Some of my peers were far more talented and I was the fortunate one who ended up playing for the country. I would always remain the 245th player to represent India in Test match cricket," he added.

The BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel also sent a congratulatory message to Chopra and wished him well on his future endeavours. "Aakash Chopra was one of the best opening batsmen produced by the country.

He had a long and illustrious first - class career, and was part of Delhi and Rajasthan teams that won the Ranji Trophy. He was a key member of the Indian team that created history in 2003-04 by winning a Test series in Pakistan.

On behalf of the BCCI, I would like to congratulate him on a memorable innings and wish him all the best for his future," Patel was quoted as saying by official BCCI statement.


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