"There is no regret; after all, the cricketers I played with have retired," Munaf told The Indian Express. "Only Dhoni is left! So, there is no sadness as such. Everyone's time is up; I would have been sad had others been playing and I had quit.
"There is no special reason, age is not on my side, fitness is not the same. Youngsters are there waiting for chances and it doesn't look nice if I keep hanging on. The main thing is there is no motivation left. I was part of World Cup winning team in 2011; there can't be a greater high than that."
The lanky pacer played 13 Tests for India and picked 35 wickets at an average of 38.54. He has just one four-wicket haul (in an innings) in Test cricket – 4-25 in 13 overs in the second innings of his debut Test against England in Mohali in 2006 – he went on to pick seven wickets in the match – which remained his best match figures in the longest format of the game.
He made a significant contribution in ODI cricket where he picked 86 wickets in 67 innings at an average of 30.26 and strike rate of 36.6. His career ODI economy rate was 4.95.
During his career (April 2006 to September 2011), Munaf was the third-highest wicket-taker for India in ODI cricket after Zaheer Khan (116 wickets) and Harbhajan Singh (111).
His bowling average was the second-best for an Indian bowler (min. bowling innings 40) after Zaheer (30.06) during this period.
Munaf picked three four-wicket hauls in this time-frame – the same number as Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra and Ishant Sharma.
Only Harbhajan Singh (4.51) and Zaheer (4.94) were more restrictive (in terms of economy rate) than Munaf during his career.
He had some notable performances, the most memorable of which came against England in Jaipur in the Champions Trophy in 2006. Munaf got rid of Ian Bell, Michael Yardy and Kevin Pietersen as India dislodged England for a paltry 125 in 37 overs. He was also very restrictive, conceding just 18 runs in his eight overs (including two maidens).
The other noteworthy performance came in the thrilling one-run victory against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2011. Munaf got rid of Hashim Amla early. However, the Proteas were in control in their pursuit of India’s 190 and were 152 for 4 in the 33rd over. Munaf came back into the attack and saw the back of Smith (highest scorer of the innings). He then got rid of Morne Morkel and Wayne Parnell in the 43rd over to hand India a nail-biting one-run win.
Munaf also had two good outings in India’s victorious 2011 World Cup campaign. He picked 4-48 against Bangladesh in the tournament opener at Dhaka before accounting for two crucial wickets (Mohammad Hafeez and Abdul Razzaq) against Pakistan in the semi-final in Mohali.
He ended the tournament with 11 wickets – third-highest for India after Zaheer and Yuvraj Singh.
Munaf had a good first-class record with a tally of 231 wickets in 69 matches. He averaged 24.43 per wicket and had eight five-wicket hauls in an innings and two 10-wicket hauls in a match.
One of his standout performances came for Baroda against Services in a Ranji Trophy clash at Vadodara in 2013. Munaf picked four wickets in the first innings (including three top order wickets) before returning in the second to grab six (in 10 overs conceding just 13 runs). Baroda won by an innings.
He also picked 173 wickets in 140 List A matches and 101 wickets in 97 T20 matches.
Munaf primarily played for the Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians in the IPL.
While he picked 40 wickets in 31 innings at an average of 21.55 for Mumbai Indians, he tallied 33 wickets in 30 innings at 23.60 per wicket for the Royals.
He will next appear in the upcoming T10 league in Dubai. He maintains that he would want to remain associated with the game. "I still can't believe I am quitting cricket as I don't know anything else. I understand only cricket."
First Published: November 10, 2018, 7:12 PM IST