Laxmipathy Balaji, the former Indian fast bowler, has decided not to play in the second edition of Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL). The news was already in the air but it was made official when Tuti Patriots signed S Aravind as his replacement for the season.
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Balaji is keen to continue as the part of the backroom staff, a hat which he donned last year after announcing his retirement. He worked as the bowling coach with Tamil Nadu cricket team during 2016/17 season and was also roped in by Kolkata Knight Riders in the same role earlier this year. Balaji had already indicated about him not continuing playing the game as now he is more interested in the coaching role.
A man with always a smile on his face, Balaji made a surprise comeback in the Indian team for the T20I series against New Zealand and the T20I World Cup in 2012. He made his debut in Chennai T20I, which India lost by a margin of one run. He did well on his comeback but the World Cup game against South Africa turned out to be his last game for India.
A veteran of 106 first–class games and 30 Test matches, Balaji made his international debut against West Indies in Vadodara in 2002. He appeared in eight Tests, 30 ODIs and five T20I for India.
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Meanwhile, the Tuti Patriots have won both their games and are on the top of the table with fours points in two games. Riding on a half-century and three wicket haul from young Washington Sundar, they defeated Dindigul Dragons in the opening game of the T20 league. Their next win came against Ruby Trichy Warriors, where they chased down a total of 124 with 10 wickets in hands. Apart from taking two wickets, Sundar played an innings of 49* and was well-supported by Kaushik Gandhi (72*).
The defending champions will look to post a hat-trick of wins when they take on Karaikudi Kaalai on July 30, Sunday.
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