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  1. #1
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    Munaf Patel announces retirement from cricket [Update Post #30]

    What lies ahead for a cricketer past his best? If you are Munaf Patel, the pacer from Gujarat undazzled by fame and riches, all you need is a village, and the art of chilling

    In a room, somewhere in West Indies, Sachin Tendulkar approaches Munaf Patel. It’s 2007, India has been evicted from the World Cup but they can’t go home yet. The Bermuda versus Bangladesh game is yet to be played and the players wait for a miracle. Back home, things have turned. Sachin Tendulkar’s and Sourav Ganguly’s restaurants have been attacked, Zaheer Khan’s house stoned, a wall of MS Dhoni’s house broken. Patel recalls the players downloading the public outrage from the internet. Tendulkar asks Patel: “Something or other is happening at everyone’s house. What’s on at your home, Munna?” “Paaji, jahan main rahta hoon na, udhar aath hazaar log hai and 8,000 mera security hai! (There are 8,000 people where I stay, and those are my security.)” Tendulkar laughs, “We might all have to come to your home from here.”

    Couple of us journalists are at his home in his village Ikhar in the Bharuch district of Gujarat. Seven years down the line, Patel’s fortunes have swung the whole arc. He has been a part of a team that lifted the World Cup in 2011, and now, as the team heads for another World Cup, his name doesn’t even figure in the list of probables. But the 31-year-old remains a hero at Ikhar — and remarkably, for someone who has seen both fame and riches come and go, at peace with himself, in this village from where he started his dream run.

    Hailed by India’s then bowling coach Eric Simons as the “unsung hero of the 2011 World Cup win”, Patel had ended the tournament as India’s third-highest wicket-taker, behind Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh, with 11 wickets. He could have been the fastest Indian bowler ever but a shoulder injury in 2004 forced him to forsake pace. He played just 13 Tests but starred in 70 ODIs, picking up 86 wickets, and was indispensable to the team between 2009 and 2011. These days, when he is not playing Ranji Trophy for Baroda, he is at Ikhar, probably leaning against a well in a kheth (field) with his friends or lolling at the swing in his home.



    It’s a fairly big house. A kilometre or two past a railway gate, beyond the cotton fields, it is caressed by a gentle breeze on a warm but pleasant day. A bike approaches from behind and Patel gets down. Dressed in track pants and a T-shirt, he welcomes us with an earthy smile: “I was chatting in the field.” We walk down the pathway, lined by trees and shrubs, to a small six-pillared portico with a swing. Patel understands and can speak English but we mostly converse in Hindi. Often philosophical, and with an ever-present smile even when talking about struggle, the man who says he just likes to have fun — “Masti chahiye bas” — opens up on his journey.

    It’s the 1990s and Patel is in the ninth standard at the village school. He is already the fastest bowler but doesn’t want to play cricket anymore. Guilt is in the air. His father works on someone else’s farm, there isn’t much food at home. The children get new clothes on Id, but only in a good year. For the last couple of years, during vacations, young Munaf has been at a tile factory choosing the best “export-quality” tiles, packing them in boxes and going home with Rs 35 for an eight-hour shift. “Dukh hi dukh tha lekin jhelne ki aadat ho gayi thi. Kisi ko sunaon toh lagega kya din tha but when you are used to it, and there is no other option, then you feel kya yaar, yeh to roz ka kaam hai. Paisey nahi hai to kya kar sakte hain? Father akela kaam raha hai and we were in school. (It was a hard life, but it had become a habit. There wasn’t enough money, but what could we do? Father was the only one earning, and we were in school),” he says. A friend urges a teacher to intervene: “What’s your age? You can work once you get out of school. Now just play.”

    A few years on, Patel receives his first ehsaan (favour), a constant theme in our chat. He requests a well-connected person in the village, Yusuf Bhai, to take him to Baroda to get his cricket career going. Yusuf even buys a pair of shoes for Patel, who used to play in chappals till then. “He bought me Rs 400-worth shoes, and introduced me to a cricket club. Ehsaan rahega zindagi bhar.” (Even today, whenever Yusuf comes down from UK, Munaf hops over to his house. “Kuch bhi kaam hai toh bata dena, bhai.”)

    Meanwhile, his father isn’t happy. Every day, at dinner, young Munaf is asked to quit playing cricket and join him at work. And eventually go to Africa. “I would just stay silent; my mother would tell him to let me play.” For Ikhar, a village of poor cotton farmers, Africa was the passport out of poverty. Every year, a youngster or two would land up at a friend, relative or acquaintance’s house in Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa or Zimbabwe to find work in a factory or a shop. Patel had an uncle in Zambia and so his future seemed set in stone. “You can’t blame my father. No one here really knew that cricket had this kind of scope. That I can even earn money from this.”

    But the doors kept opening, through the kindness of strangers who spotted talent in the gangly youth. Former India wicketkeeper Kiran More, “who hasn’t taken a single paisa from me and even bought me my first branded cricket shoes (Gunn & Moore)”, trained him at his academy in Baroda, also sent him to the MRF pace school in Chennai. A city where “they never spoke Hindi” and “auto drivers matlab fight” but a place close to his heart. He recounts a tale that captures his personality then. An English batsman, along with Sajid Mahmood and Simon Jones, had come down to the school. Patel can’t remember his name. “Gora tha (He was white), left-handed and the pitches were fast then. I bowled four-five bouncers; one hit his shoulder, one his helmet and other his gloves. He started to come towards me, saying something in English. Mujhe toh English aati nahi tab. But I see that he is angry. So I slip away quickly and dive into the swimming pool. I thought he will complain to Sir, who will throw me out of the academy!”

    Patel started to learn the ways of the world at MRF. “I lived there for five-six months. I learnt how to wear good clothes, how to speak, kuch bhi nahi aata tha. Dennis Lillee (Australia’s legendary fast bowler who coached at MRF) would say something and I used to look at someone else’s face! Kya bol raha hai? Lillee Sir always used to laugh, and ask someone to translate.”

    Around this time, Australian cricketer Steve Waugh dropped by the academy, saw Patel in action and was impressed. He told as much to Tendulkar, who convinced Patel to join the Mumbai Ranji team. “I learnt a lot about cricket but not its lifestyle,” he says. The Mumbai cricketers would invite him to parties but Patel wasn’t ready. Only later, on a foreign tour, did he go to a club. “I thought I had to drink if I go there. Only after Gautam Gambhir (Patel’s closest cricketing friend) told me that there is no need to drink, and that even he doesn’t drink, did I go. I still don’t drink to this day.”

    Early on in his life, Patel had learnt to live with an unshakeable sense of right. Principled, unwilling to bend, quick on temper and willing to take seemingly rash decisions. Like in South Africa in 2009, when he shut the door on his captain Shane Warne and threatened to quit. Piqued at not being given any over in an IPL game, which the Rajasthan Royals eventually lost, he stormed to his hotel room and asked team owner Manoj Badale for his passport back. Soon, a knock on the door. Patel peeped through the eyehole to see Warne. “Please open the door”. ‘Shane Sir, I won’t’. “Let me explain.” “I don’t want to hear a thing. Bye.” Of course, he had admiration for Warne’s captaincy. “He was magic. He had the ability to get the best performances from everyone.”

    Always frank, he once fobbed off a national selector because of perceived mockery. A day before a game after he was already selected, the selector asked him, “Are you fit?” Patel lost it. “How did you select me then? Tu khila raha hai toh cricket hi nahi khelna mujhe (If you think you are a doing a favour to me by selecting, then I don’t want to play).” The selector disappeared into the lift. “Tu yeda hai kya?” (Are you mad?) said Wasim Jaffer, who was with him then.

    Patel was a man often criticised, at times even for his sartorial choices. A furore broke once about him not tucking in his shirt on the field with former players criticizing him on air. The dressing room too reflected the difference in personalities. Rahul Dravid, the captain, suggested he tuck in his shirt to end the controversy. “Voh ekdum sincere, padhe-likhe type (educated man) “ On the other side, Sehwag, Harbhajan, Yuvraj said, ‘Chodna yaar, hum bhi tuck in nahin karenge kal sey! ( We also won’t tuck our shirts in)’. I was not doing it on purpose. I hadn’t come from a school where kids wear white shoes, and tuck in their shirts!”

    It set him off from the others, the straight talk, the no-nonsense attitude that anchored his feet to the ground. It would make him tick off young boys who would let fame get to their head— “Stop acting silly. Cricket hai bhai, anything can happen. Ek injury and sab khatam, finish. Then what will you do?” And it allowed him to look at the transformation of diffident young boys into celebrities with detachment. “See it’s the atmosphere you grow up. If you live in a city, are well-off, and more importantly, play for the country, your group will change. Where is an ordinary man, a poor man, going to be in that group?”

    Here, in Ikhar, away from the adrenaline rush of victory and fame, the bright lights of the city and its lures, he knows that playing for India is many worlds away. “After the 2011 World Cup, I was injured for five-six months and by then, the selection approach had changed. They wanted to look beyond me and Nehra and give youngsters a chance. Which is fine. I will probably play for Baroda for two more years. Let’s see how long the body holds,” he says. But he also knows he is free of the favours and the ehsaan that has powered his run. “Bahut logon ka ehsaan mujh pey chada. I used to wonder how I shall pay them back. In between I thought I will even quit. Jitne logon ka ehsaan chadta hai, aap utne neeche jaate ho (The more you people oblige you, the lower you slip).”

    He has found a way now. The Patels never turn away a man who comes to their house, looking for help. It could be a request for Rs 50,000 for a wedding or money for hospital expenses. People come in, ask for the keys and take his cars for a ride. His father encourages him to do more. “If I ask any question to anyone who comes to home, my father will say, ‘Why are you asking questions? That won’t feed him. Just give him the money’.” The village has a trust which helps people in need. “We all know each other in the village. People always take care of each other.” And that’s why Patel doesn’t see himself leaving Ikhar. “Shaanti hai idhar, peaceful. Why will I go anywhere else?”
    http://indianexpress.com/article/spo...the-slow-life/

  2. #2
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    Looks Like Munaf Bhai is a Top class Human Being !!!! I just hope though..he does not keep donating money without much though....Huge players Have gone into bankruptcy due to their lavish lifestyle after sport...or because they would donate like money was coming in like when they were in sport.

    Respect to Munaf.

  3. #3
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    Very humble background!
    I wonder where is Kamran khan gone? Who played for rag his tan royals?

  4. #4
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    Great story. Deserves all the success he had.


    Without Pakistan we have nothing....

  5. #5
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    Its amazing..sometimes fans do not understand the amount of sacrifice that goes into playing cricket in India especially if you do not come from a wealthy background. That's why I cringe everytime some fans start name calling....criticism is great..but making fun and name calling is not on.

  6. #6
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    He was a good line & lenght bowler but was not a wicket taker & his on field attitude was very bad not becoming of a fast bowler at all.

    Sadly will be remembered as a shoddy fielder & lazy bowler.

  7. #7
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    Shuts a door on and refuses to open when says "please". Refuses to tuck his shirt because Dravid, the captain tells him to

  8. #8
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    Great story

    Rangs to riches and

    Wish him success and i like that fact that he remained true to his root's


    The boyes play well the boyes do as i tell

  9. #9
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    MashaAllah, I read parts of it and it was lovely reading.


    Ki Mohammad (saw) sey wafa tu ney tou hum terey hain
    Yeh jahaan cheez kya hai Loh-o-Qalam tere hain

  10. #10
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    Trundler and wannabe McGrath but I think he is likeable as a person

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golden arm View Post
    Very humble background!
    I wonder where is Kamran khan gone? Who played for rag his tan royals?
    He played for Pune then but they sacked him due to his action relegating him to become a farmer

  12. #12
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    Thought he would finally give India a genuine fast bowler but was not to be. Looks dirt poor from the above pics.

  13. #13
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    I wonder if people know he was pretty quick back in the day. Injuries ruined his pace, Munaf was bit of a freak with the ball in early days. He was touching 148 clicks when he debuted and he was far quicker before that. In his prime, he was definitely a 150kph+ bowler in domestic cricket. Had the ability to reverse swing and bowl Yorkers.

    Anyway, like with many other Indian bowlers, lots of injuries occurred and he became a line-length bowler and was rather good at it. His performances in the world cup, especially in the semi final against Pakistan were pretty crucial.


    Overall a top class bloke. I wish him luck, great read!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laparwah View Post
    Thought he would finally give India a genuine fast bowler but was not to be. Looks dirt poor from the above pics.
    Pretty sure he is very rich. Its just his lifestyle that made you think he is poor.

    House in the background in the first pic looks quite decent...

  15. #15
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    I couldn't the video of him destroying English XI in a tour game vs India A where he destroyed them in one seriously quick, reverse swinging spell.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by freelance_cricketer View Post
    I couldn't the video of him destroying English XI in a tour game vs India A where he destroyed them in one seriously quick, reverse swinging spell.
    Was against NZ. Was his first game and I remember Astle was beaten for pace. Immediately I thought that we have found a new bowler, but alas!

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/132534.html

  17. #17
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    And when i say, it was his first game, i mean it was his FC debut!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by EliteCynic View Post
    Was against NZ. Was his first game and I remember Astle was beaten for pace. Immediately I thought that we have found a new bowler, but alas!

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/132534.html

    No, the England tour game was in 2004 or 05. He destroyed England.

  19. #19
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    ^

    Though I'm sure he was quicker in the match you have mentioned. He had an injury somewhere around that time and the pace reduced from potential 155 clicks to around 148 mark.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by freelance_cricketer View Post
    No, the England tour game was in 2004 or 05. He destroyed England.
    Ok, I see what you are saying. Yes, there was a match against Eng, this one - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/238183.html where he took 5 wickets.

    Also, i remember his test debut in Mohali against Eng in the same tour, where he bowled some super awesome reverse swinging yorkers...Sigh! Now it's all history.
    This was his test debut - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/238186.html


  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by freelance_cricketer View Post
    ^

    Though I'm sure he was quicker in the match you have mentioned. He had an injury somewhere around that time and the pace reduced from potential 155 clicks to around 148 mark.
    I remember the indian commentators covering the India A game were just speechless after seeing Munaf's pace. Those were the days when DD Sports got full access to domestic and international games in India

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by EliteCynic View Post
    Ok, I see what you are saying. Yes, there was a match against Eng, this one - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/238183.html where he took 5 wickets.

    Also, i remember his test debut in Mohali against Eng in the same tour, where he bowled some super awesome reverse swinging yorkers...Sigh! Now it's all history.
    This was his test debut - http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/238186.html




    Yessss that match. 5fers in both innings and check out the clean bowleds. Some breath-taking dismissals in them. Pace and reverse swing.

  23. #23
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    A routine story of every fast bowler from India. Bowl fast, get injured, bowl medium fast, become a trundler and vanish into the oblivion. Great story though...


    "This one doesn't take the cake, it takes the bakery" - Gavaskar

  24. #24
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    Always respected this humble fast bowler.
    I hope the Indian team lands up at his place for a day or two and run amok. Will surely bring cheers all around.

  25. #25
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    the most talented bowler gone awry in the recent past,after RP Singh

  26. #26
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    Worst fielder in history of cricket. Moves around like a camel with broken knee.

  27. #27
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    Respect to Munaf, how old is he now, any chances of playing again for India?

  28. #28
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    Senior Indian pacer Munaf Patel on Saturday called time on his career after retiring from all forms of the game following a successful 15-year cricket career. The Bharuch-based Munaf Patel, who had last donned the national team jersey on July 6, 2011 while playing against the Windies in a Test match, said that there was "no motivation" left in him and unable to keep himself fit. The 35-year-old Munaf Patel said that winning the 50-over World Cup for India in 2011 was the most valuable earning for him.

    "There is no special reason, age ho chuka hai, fitness is not the same. Youngsters are there waiting for chances and it doesn't look nice if I keep hanging on. The main thing is there is no motivation left," Munaf told the Indian Express.

    "I was part of World Cup winning team in 2011; there can't be a greater high than that," he added.

    Munaf, who will be next seen in action in the T10 League, wants to pursue a coaching career, according to the report.

    The right-arm medium pacer played for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) before moving to Gujarat Lions.

    He retires with an experience of 13 Tests, 70 One-Day International (ODI) and 3 Twenty20 International (T20Is).

    In domestic cricket, Munaf had represented Baroda and Gujarat. He has an average of 24.43 in First-class cricket with 231 wickets from 69 matches to his name. He had also played 140 List A matches and 97 T20s.

    Munaf earned his best bowling figures of four for 25 in Test cricket while playing against England in in Mohali on March, 2006.

    https://sports.ndtv.com/cricket/2011...ricket-1945282


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  29. #29
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    Wish him all the best.

    Sadly he didn’t seem to have the work ethic and motivation to play for India for a lengthy period of time. Should have achieved much more than he actually did.

  30. #30
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    Huge loss to world cricket

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    Munaf makes me sad. World cricket simply wouldn't believe the bowling talent he was and what he could have been in a better system.

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    37th birthday.

    He debuted against England bowling reverse swinging yorkers at 148kph.

    The debut itself was a couple of years late due to injuries limiting his bowling in the 140kphs. In his youth days in the MRF pace academy he is believed to be clocking 150kph.

    Few more injuries later, and he lost further pace.

    Very talented bowler and an important part of our 2011 triumph.

    If he stayed fit and avoided these injuries, could have achieved so much more for India. People rave about Asif, Munaf was similar but a lot quicker in his prime.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by freelance_cricketer View Post
    37th birthday.

    He debuted against England bowling reverse swinging yorkers at 148kph.

    The debut itself was a couple of years late due to injuries limiting his bowling in the 140kphs. In his youth days in the MRF pace academy he is believed to be clocking 150kph.

    Few more injuries later, and he lost further pace.

    Very talented bowler and an important part of our 2011 triumph.

    If he stayed fit and avoided these injuries, could have achieved so much more for India. People rave about Asif, Munaf was similar but a lot quicker in his prime.
    LOL. Easy on the booze bhaijaan

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by freelance_cricketer View Post
    37th birthday.

    He debuted against England bowling reverse swinging yorkers at 148kph.

    The debut itself was a couple of years late due to injuries limiting his bowling in the 140kphs. In his youth days in the MRF pace academy he is believed to be clocking 150kph.

    Few more injuries later, and he lost further pace.

    Very talented bowler and an important part of our 2011 triumph.

    If he stayed fit and avoided these injuries, could have achieved so much more for India. People rave about Asif, Munaf was similar but a lot quicker in his prime.
    In reality, more like 43


    'There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold'

  35. #35
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    He’s back?

    Just goes to show what a circus these leagues have become.


  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabbar Singh View Post
    He’s back?

    Just goes to show what a circus these leagues have become.

    Gabbar is back too.


    Tum mujhe bhaga sako aisa ho nahi sakta aur tum mere begair bhaago yeh main hone nahi dunga - Viru

  37. #37
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    Munaf is playing tonight - he looks about 50 years old.

  38. #38
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    OMG if he gets Azam Khan and Afridi out it will be a field day for Rizwan fans

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    Oh my Munaf doesn't look 37 at all
    He looks 55

  40. #40
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    He’s (allegedly) 6 years older than his stated 37.

    Part of India’s World Cup winning squad of 2011, Patel had played under Warne for the Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League. When Warne had asked him about his age, Patel had asked him whether he wanted to know his real age or his IPL age. He told Warne subsequently, that his real age was 35, and the age he had used to register for the IPL was forged, and set at 29. An age difference of 6 years, if proved to be true, would imply a serious breach of regulations.
    https://www.sportskeeda.com/cricket/...premier-league

  41. #41
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    Nice to see him. Unsung hero of WC 2011


    The only disability in life is a bad attitude. -Scott Hamilton

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saurav View Post
    Nice to see him. Unsung hero of WC 2011
    It was strange the way he disappeared - did well in South Africa just before the World Cup, did ok in the World Cup, did well in the West Indies after the World Cup and then one bad series in England and he never played for India again (in any format).

    https://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/en...ng;view=series

  43. #43
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    Mar 2011
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    Any videos?


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