Domestic legend Devendra Bundela hangs up his boots
Veteran Madhya Pradesh batsman, Devendra Bundela, decided to draw the curtain on his illustrious Ranji Trophy career by announcing his retirement from first-class cricket on Saturday (March 31).
“For the last few seasons, it was always going to be a matter of when than if when it came to retirement. I think it’s the best time for me to let the younger generation of Madhya Pradesh cricketers take over and also focus on coaching promising cricketers,” he told The Hindu.
The 41-year-old has scored 10,004 in FC cricket at an impressive batting average of 43.68. He also has 26 centuries and 54 half-centuries to his name. Despite contesting in the tournament for over two decades, he couldn't win the Ranji Trophy and that would remain the only unchecked box in Bundela's enviable domestic career.
The Madhya Pradesh legend made his FC debut against Tamil Nadu in the 1995/96 Ranji Trophy. Since then, he played some exceptional knocks for his team over the years, but could somehow never manage to break into the Indian team. His peak years collided with those of Indian stalwarts like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, and Sourav Ganguly, which made it increasingly difficult for him to earn the coveted national call-up.
However, he did not let that get to him and continued to thrive in domestic cricket for years aplenty. In his 22-year old career, he also led the Madhya Pradesh for seven years. In 2017/18 season, which was effectively also his last, the batting stalwart scored three half-centuries for the side, one of which included a knock of 99 against Baroda in Indore.
Madhya Pradesh reached the quarterfinals of the tournament in the season, where they were beaten by Delhi, who went on to become the runners-up of the same.