Bengal stalwart Shukla retires from cricket

Kolkata, Dec 30 (IANS) Citing lack of motivation, former India cricketer and ex-Bengal captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla on Wednesday announced his retirement from all forms of the game, bringing an end to a 21-year-long journey.

Shukla donned the Indian colours in three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) in which he scored 18 runs and picked up a wicket. The 34-year-old has had a wonderful domestic career for Bengal which lasted for around 18 years since his first class debut against Guwahati in 1997.

“It’s been 21 years that I have been playing. I have had a wonderful career for Bengal. I don’t believe that to leave something, there is got to be a strong reason. I always believe whatever we want to do only we can decide, nobody else. And I have decided not to play cricket anymore,” Shukla told reporters here.

The 34-year-old was named in the Bengal’s 16-member squad for the upcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on Sunday but he said he has been lacking motivation for the last few weeks.

“I was not getting the right motivation for the last month or so. I wasn’t feeling like myself, the link was missing. Mentally, I was not ready to play again. I just could not sleep but now I can sleep peacefully,” he said.

Shukla also played down a reported rift between him and Cricket Association of Bengal President Sourav Ganguly saying that he was an inspiration.

“He has been a source of inspiration for me as well as for other cricketers all over the world. He told me to continue playing but I said, I wasn’t feeling well,” he said.

The veteran all-rounder played in 137 first class matches for Bengal amassing 6,217 runs at an average of 35.93. With the ball he picked up 172 wickets. In List A cricket he scored 2997 runs and bagged 143 wickets from 141 games.

His domestic Twenty 20 record includes 994 runs and 47 wickets from 81 encounters.

He also played for Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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