Shillong, Aug 3: Punit Bisht called time on his playing career after 17 years of competitive cricket in which he played 272 matches across three formats.
The 37-year-old, who had been with Meghalaya ever since the state played its first season of domestic cricket in 2018-19, was also part of Delhi’s last Ranji Trophy-winning team in 2007-08.
He was selected by the Meghalaya Cricket Association as one of its three guest professional players in 2018 and was retained all the way up to the 2022-23 campaign, captaining the state team on many occasions. Before his stint with Meghalaya, Bisht had also played for Jammu and Kashmir as a professional.
In 103 first class games, he scored 5,231 runs at an average of over 38, including 10 hundreds and an individual best of 343, which was made for Meghalaya against Sikkim in 2018-19 – the only triple tone of the Ranji Trophy that season. He also had 299 catches and 19 stumpings to his credit.
In 103 domestic one day (List A) games, he had 2,924 runs with six hundreds and 17 fifties and a healthy average of nearly 39. He was the leading run-scorer for Meghalaya in the 2018-19 Vijay Hazare Trophy with 502 runs in eight matches.
“I thought this is the best time to call it quits from competitive cricket. I have played 100-plus games across both first class and List A format and nearly 275 competitive games if you take Mushtaq Ali T20 into account. There is nothing more to achieve as a player and I believe this is the right time to bid adieu,” Bisht said yesterday.
In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, 2021 saw Bisht strike the second-highest score in the history of the tournament in Chennai by pummelling Mizoram for 146 not out from 51 deliveries.
“The most memorable moment will remain winning the Ranji Trophy. I would like to thank BCCI, DDCA, JKCA and Meghalaya Cricket Association for being a part of this journey,” he added.
Asked about some of his better efforts, he remembered the 223 against Baroda on a two-paced Kotla track where he had pulled Irfan Pathan for a six into the stands towards Ambedkar Stadium.
“I scored a triple ton for Meghalaya but the double hundred against a quality Baroda side remains a special effort. The other memory is being present at the other end when Virat scored a gutsy 97 after losing his father. It was a special knock by Virat and it was a privilege watching it from the other end,” Bisht recollected.
He has already completed his BCCI-NCA Level II coaching course and is now preparing for his Level III exam.
“I am passionate about coaching and open to any offers. I am currently preparing to clear my Level III exams and if any interesting offer comes along the way, I would be game (for it),” he added.
Bisht has also had stints at the Dhaka Premier League in Bangladesh and the Lancashire T20 league in the UK.
(Meghalaya Cricket Association file photo)