Former India cricketer Pankaj Dharmani, who had captained Punjab in Ranji Trophy for the last five seasons has announced his retirement from first class cricket, on Thursday.
Dharmani, who played only one One-day International in his career featuring in the fourth match of the Titan Cup between India and South Africa in the 1996-97 season, is the highest runscorer for Punjab.
Starting his career as a wicketkeeper batsman in 1993, the 37-year-old cricketer added several feathers to his cap during his glorious career of 18 years.
In first class cricket, he scored 9,312 runs at an average of 50.06. Dharmani has 26 centuries and 42 fifties to his credit with the highest score of 305 not out.
He had scored an unbeaten 202 en route to his 460-run seventh wicket partnership with Bhupender Singh Junior against Delhi in the semi-final of Ranji Trophy match, which is a World record.
His performance in One-day cricket has been equally impressive. Dharmani scored 3211 runs at an average of 39.64 with 23 half centuries in his fifteen year long career.
As a wicket keeper he sent 140 batsmen back to pavilion. His excellence as a cricketer bought him in the eyes of the selectors of the Indian cricket team in the year 1996.
Though he was included in the Indian squad against South Africa, Dharmani could hardly make a dent as he scored only eighth runs in the match which India lost by 27 runs in October, 1996.
However, for Punjab he has scored 7621 runs at an average of 55.15 with 23 centuries and 31 half centuries. As a wicket keeper batsman he scored 16 centuries and 14 half centuries scoring 4142 runs at an average of 61.82.
He has been also the most successful wicketkeeper for Punjab with a total of 203 preys.