I am lucky: Bahutule

Former India leg-spinner Sairaj Bahutule, who announced his retirement from first-class cricket on January 1 following Vidarbha’s exit from the Ranji Trophy (the team he captained and coached for the last two seasons), yesterday said that he had no regrets over his short international career.

Sairaj Bahutule
Sairaj Bahutule, who retired on January 1, walks through a guard of honour at the MIG Cricket Club yesterday. PIC/Sameer Markande

“I feel lucky to have got an opportunity to play for India. There are many good cricketers who play well in domestic circuit, but do not get a chance to represent the country.

I tried my best whenever I got a chance. Probably, a longer stint would have been helpful, but at the end of the day, everything depends on performance. If you are not doing well then you are asked to play domestic cricket,” said Bahutule, who represented India in two Test matches and eight one-day¬†internationals.

Bahutule said it was always difficult to find a place in the team when Anil Kumble was at his peak. “People always say that I was overshadowed by Anil. But that’s not true. He was an exceptional cricketer. He did a fantastic job for India. It would have been very tough for me to take Anil’s place.”

The 40-year-old said he would always cherish his Test debut against Australia in 2001 when he claimed two wickets. “I will never forget my Test debut. It was very challenging playing against them (Australia), as it was a series decider.

“I was very nervous bowling to the likes of Steve Waugh, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer. But now when I look back at that Chennai Test, I feel lucky to have been part of the series-winning squad.”

But he regrets not being part of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL). “I have played domestic, county and international cricket, but I regret not being part of the IPL. I feel I had in me to play atleast two seasons of IPL,” the veteran said.¬†

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