Updated February 19th, 2024 at 19:02 IST

End of an Era: Five domestic stalwarts bring curtains to illustrious Ranji careers

For Aaron, Manoj and Faiz life came a full circle as they said goodbye at the same venue they began their domestic journeys.

Manoj Tiwary | Image:X/@tiwarymanoj
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The ongoing Ranji Trophy season marks the end of an era in domestic cricket with five heavyweights bidding adieu to the game, leaving a huge void to fill.

Bengal legend Manoj Tiwary, Jharkhand duo of big-hitting Saurabh Tiwary and express pacer Varun Aaron, Mumbai stalwart Dhawal Kulkarni and Vidrabha's Ranji Trophy-winning captain Faiz Fazal have decided to bring curtains to their illustrious domestic careers.

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The reasons for their retirement are varied, ranging from not having anything to play for (IPL contract or national call-up), to embarking on new adventures or focussing on politics.

For Aaron, Manoj and Faiz life came a full circle as they said goodbye at the same venue they began their domestic journeys.

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But needless to say, domestic cricket will be poorer without the quintet turning out.

One of the doyen's of domestic cricket, Bengal's Manoj Tiwary said goodbye to his "beloved 22 yards" after leading his state to a comprehensive win over Bihar on Monday.

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Tiwary served his state for over 19 years, the 38-year-old had taken Bengal to the finals of the Ranji Trophy last season.

An aggressive batter, he has over 10,000 first class run in his kitty. As a captain, he always led from the front, helping Bengal become a force to reckon with.

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The absence of the supremely experienced duo Aaron and swashbuckling Saurabh Tiwary will be a big void Jharkhand will have to fill.

Tiwary, a left handed middle order batter, made his first-class debut while he was still a teenager in the 2006-07 Ranji Trophy season. Over the last 17 years, the Jharkhand captain became a prolific run-getter in domestic cricket, playing 115 first-class matches amassing 8030 runs in 189 innings at an average of 47.51 including 22 hundreds and 34 fifties.

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"I think, if you are unable to make in the national team or IPL, it is best time to leave space for talented youngsters," Tiwary said while announcing his retirement last week.

One of the country's fastest bowlers, Aaron has been unable to realise his potential due to persistent injuries that included a series of stress fractures in the back and the legs.

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But the pacer, who grabbed everyone's attention with the 153kmph delivery in the 2010-11 Vijay Hazare Trophy final, still managed to snare 173 first class wickets in the 66 games he played at an average of 33.27.

"This might be my last game in front of my family and the people of Jamshedpur, because we don't often play white-ball games here (Keenan Stadium).

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"I had started my career here, so this is quite emotional for me," Aaron, who wrapped his red-ball career with a match haul of five wickets, was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

Fazal hangs his boots after 21 year's service to Vidarbha, having contributed immensely to their legacy. The elegant opener famously led them to their maiden Ranji Tropy title in 2018. He was the side's leading run getter that season.

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Fazal began his first-class career with a bang, scoring 151 on debut in Plate Group match against Jammu and Kashmir in December 2003. Since then the southpaw has been ever-present at the top of the Vidharbha batting order thanks to his impeccable technique.

He collected 9183 runs in first class cricket, 3641 runs in List A games and 1273 in T20s and retires as Vidarbha's leading run-getter in both List A cricket and first-class cricket.

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The 38-year-old also played one ODI for India in 2016, against Zimbabwe, scoring an unbeaten 55 but never got selected for the national team again.

Known for his swing, movement and accuracy with the new ball, Mumbai's Kulkarni quickly established himself as one of the most reliable seam bowlers in domestic cricket.

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A big-match player, Kulkarni eked out several outstanding performances in his 17-year domestic career including five-fors in three Ranji Trophy finals.

So important is Kulkarni's experience in the team that the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) requested the medium pacer to put off his retirement until the end of the season.

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The 35-year-old played 95 First-Class matches and has taken 281 wickets at an average of 27.31. 

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Published February 19th, 2024 at 19:02 IST