Lakshmipathy Balaji on 2004 Pakistan tour: Was embarrassed because I was the most famous player
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Lakshmipathy Balaji retires: Was embarrassing to be most famous player in 2004 Pakistan tour, recalls pacer

Lakshmipathy Balaji, who announced his First-Class retirement on Friday, revealed among other things that being the "most famous player" in the 2004 tour of Pakistan was embarrassing for him.

In an interview on the official website of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA), Balaji added that Pakistan batting legend Inzamam-ul-Haq was among the toughest batsmen he had bowled to in his career.

File photo of Lakshmipathy Balaji. Reuters

File photo of Lakshmipathy Balaji. Reuters

"Since it was a historic series, it was made even more special. To be honest, I was embarrassed because I was the most famous player on that tour! There were so many big names, who looked after me like elder brothers, they were always there for me, and that tour helped me to get recognition.

"Inzamam (ul-Haq) is one such who I found tough to bowl to. But then I had the honor of dismissing him! Inzamam and (Adam) Gilchrist were the two best players I have played against in the international arena," Balaji was quoted as saying in the interview.

Balaji also spoke on the advent of pink balls and its introduction on Indian soil, saying that it was a welcome move for both spectators and cricketers, despite the fact that it was still in trial-and-error phase.

"It is in a trial and error phase, so we need to give it more time, to settle, understand the different conditions it is played under (in day/night games). Only then we would be able to see the exact results.

"Of course, it is a new dimension in cricket, and is a very good initiative to introduce new forms for the betterment of the game. It is welcoming for both spectators and cricketers," said Balaji.

Highlighting some of the best performances of his career, Balaji picked his performance for Tamil Nadu against Delhi in the Ranji Trophy semi-final in the 2002-03 semi-final as one of his best.

"I picked up a five-for in the second innings against a team that featured three, four Test players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Aakash Chopra," said Balaji, who took 5/49 in the second innings, according to a report on ESPNCricinfo.

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