Domestic veteran Rajat Bhatia on Wednesday announced retirement from all forms of cricket and he looks back at his long career with “no regrets” after coming close to play for India in 2014.
The 40-year-old all-rounder started his career with Tamil Nadu in 2003-04 but played most of his cricket for Delhi. In the 2018-19, he guided new entrants Uttarakhand to the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals.
Bhatia, who was considered Delhi cricket’s crisis man, played 112 first-class games, scoring 6,482 runs at an average of 49.10 apart from taking 137 wickets at 27.97. He also played 119 List A games and 146 T20s.
Last season, the Delhi-born cricketer played List A cricket in Bangladesh.
“I had decided last year only (about retirement). I was not playing domestic cricket here and then got to do commentary. Then I was playing as a professional in Bangladesh but this year they stopped hiring professionals and then coronavirus happened. Therefore, I thought it was time to retire,” Bhatia told PTI.
“Having said that, I feel fitter than ever and very much open to playing in overseas leagues.”
He came closest to playing for India in 2014 when he was picked among the probables for the T20 World Cup. However, he has no regrets about not getting that coveted India cap.
“I don’t want to think about my career that way. It would be immature of me. There is so much I was able to do and I am grateful about that. There are no regrets. The highs would surely be winning the Ranji Trophy for Delhi (2007-08), the IPL in 2012 (with KKR) and personally getting Sachin Tendulkar out thrice in the IPL, which I was able to play for 10 years. That is something I would always remember.”
Bhatia has done a course in bio-mechanics from an institute in Hawaii and wants to explore a career in that field.
“I have cleared stage 2, now I will be doing bio-mechanics 3. We have many bio-mechanics specialists in bowling but not in training. I can catch the movements of players and help them.”
Asked about the difference in domestic cricket standards now from the time he started playing, Bhatia said, “The structure has improved to make the game more competitive. But surprisingly, when it comes to injury management, we are still behind.”
“When you are starting your career in India, you tend to get injured a lot, there is lack of knowledge on that front. It is not cricket-related, it is just about understanding your body and its movements.
“Thanks to this course that I have done, I know my body much better and feel have not moved as well as I have been moving over the last three years. I want to help the youngsters on that front.”