Sanjay Bangar, the former India Test cricketer and captain of Railways in domestic cricket, announced his retirement after a career spanning 19 years. His low-key announcement came at the Jadavpur University ground in Kolkata after he led Railways to a 122-run victory over Bengal in their final Ranji Trophy match of the season.
The decision came quite out of the blue and Bangar revealed that the failure to qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament convinced him that the time had come for him to leave the game. On his way out though, Bangar racked up his 300th first-class wicket when he dismissed Wriddhiman Saha, the Bengal captain.
“We were hoping to qualify for the next stage,” said Bangar after the match. “But once I came to know Saurashtra had won the match (against Madhya Pradesh, effectively dashing Railways’ hopes), then I decided. Anyway, I’d decided that I would not play the shorter format. So I just thought the time was right.”
Bangar admitted that he had been considering retirement for a while. “When you reach a particular age, such things are always at the back of your mind,” he said. “I wanted to do well, and the team has really responded. So it’s very satisfying.”
His Test career lasted just 12 matches, during which he scored a century, aggregated 470 runs and took seven wickets. Asked whether it was playing for India or being a stalwart for Railways who helped his team become a strong domestic entity that was more satisfying, Bangar said, “It is both, actually.”
“I had my time, my moments playing for the country. So it was good. After that, to transform Railways into a formidable force in domestic circuit is also equally satisfying.”
Bangar, however, wasn’t planning to stay away from the game and revealed that coaching was a possibility in the future. “I’d like to get into coaching. And, you never know, all the doors are open. Not just Railways, I would like to look at other avenues also, outside Railways.”