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Rathore calls it a day
November 05, 2003 20:52 IST
One of the notable careers in Indian cricket came to an end when former Test cricketer Vikram Rathore announced his retirement today.
Rathore, who scored 11,473 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 49.66, is moving to England to set up his family business of agriculture hand tools. He said the decision to quit is not sudden; only business considerations delayed it.
"I have no regrets. I only wish I had been more successful in my international career. I tried my best but was not very successful," Rathore told reporters in Delhi on Wednesday.
A right-hand opening batsman, Rathore played six Tests for an aggregate of 131 runs, with 44 being his highest score. He also played in seven One-Day Internationals, compiling 193 runs for an average of 27.57.
The Punjab batsman, who played for Himachal Pradesh in the latter part of his career, will be remembered as one of those who was a prolific scorer on the domestic front but unable to succeed on the international stage.
"A good beginning is important for a cricketer [at the international level]. Unfortunately, that did not happen to me.
"If you don't get runs the first time after that you are always on trial. To play under that kind of pressure is difficult," the former Punjab captain, who also led Himachal Pradesh, said.
Rathore made his Test debut in England in 1996 under the captaincy of Mohammad Azharuddin. The series also launched the careers of present captain Sourav Ganguly and his deputy, Rahul Dravid.
While Ganguly had a glorious start, scoring a century at Lord's, Rathore faded into oblivion after playing only six Tests.
Poor technique combined with self-doubt led to his failure, he admitted.
"Some batsmen like Rahul Dravid are technically correct. But if you are not [technically sound], you have to have the conviction and trust yourself.
"I think that is where I made a mistake. When I did not get runs, I started doubting myself."
Although the Indian team had always been in search of a specialist opening batsman, Rathore had his chance for a comeback three years ago though only as a wicketkeeper-batsman.
"I had kept wickets for Punjab in the early days. When I got feelers from the Indian team I began to keep wickets once again for Punjab and Himachal."
But nothing came out of that.
Rathore, however, gained a reputation as a captain who shared his experience and encouraged youngsters.
"As a captain I tried to be helpful; I tried to develop a one-to-one relation with the players."
The 34-year old said things are changing for the better in Indian cricket, and Sourav Ganguly, as captain, is playing a major role.
"Things are much better now. Sourav as a captain has been the strength to the team. He supports the players whom he thinks have the ability. That is the kind of feeling, the backing you need as a player when you are not doing well."
The highpoint of Rathore's career was in 1992-93, when he led Punjab to the Ranji Trophy triumph.
"My positives were that I was hardworking. I tried to play the game the way it should be played - work hard, be sincere and give it the best shot.
"I think I could have done well. I don't think I was a special cricketer, somebody like Yuvraj [Singh] or Harbhajan [Singh]. I was a traditional, average cricketer who worked hard."
Rathore thanked the Punjab Cricket Association, the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Himachal Cricket Association for supporting him.
"I think PCA is one of the finest associations in the country; their interest in the game and commitment is a rare quality."
Vikram Rathore's Test record:
One-day international record: