Domestic veteran Rajat Bhatia on Wednesday announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, thus bringing an end to a career which spanned over 20 years.
"Yes, I made the decision to retire from all forms of cricket in the morning. I have sent a mail to the BCCI and to DDCA as well," Bhatia confirmed to IANS.
The all-rounder played 112 first-class games in which he scored 6,482 runs and took 137 wickets. He was part of Delhi's Ranji Trophy title win in 2008 and had played a brilliant knock of unbeaten 139 in the final against Uttar Pradesh. In List A cricket, he played 119 matches, scoring 3038 runs and scalping 93 wickets.
The all-rounder's last appearance in representative cricket came in Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League where he played four List A games for Mohammedan Sporting Club in 2018-19.
"I was supposed to retire from the game in September 2019 because I was not playing domestic cricket last year. But I thought I could still wait as I was playing as a professional in Bangladesh. But then things changed there and I got to know that they will not take any professionals," said Bhatia.
"So, I thought this is the best time to take retirement because it's a special day for me as it's my daughter's birthday. Hence, I decided why not take this decision on a day which I can remember," he added.
The Delhi-born cricketer turned out for his home franchise - Delhi Daredevils - for three seasons in the Indian Premier League, but his best returns came under Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders. The 40-year-old was twice part of the title-winning sides - in 2008 with the Rajasthan Royals and 2012 with the Kolkata Knight Riders. In all, he played 146 T20 games, scoring 1251 runs and picking up 111 wickets.
The domestic veteran featured in every single season from the inaugural IPL until the 2017 edition. However, he could never make it to the national team.
"As an individual, I will always remember taking Sachin Tendulkar's wicket three times in the IPL," said Bhatia when asked to pick one special moment from his career which stands out for him.
When quipped about his future plans, Bhatia said: "I am already a biomechanic specialist in training. I was doing the course for the last three years."
"I invested in this kind of thing because it's a specified kind of training which, I think, one should be doing because it is related to all kinds of sport. And I want to give back to cricket through this."
Bhatia further said that although he doesn't want to become a coach, he would like to offer tips to budding cricketers if an opportunity knocks at his door.