Born on September 27, 1981, Lakshmipathy Balaji is one of the most underrated bowlers in Indian cricket history. Balaji’s international career was cut short by injuries and he was in and out of the side several times. The Tamil Nadu bowler made his international debut on November 18, 2002. In his short ODI career, he got 34 wickets from 30 games.
However, Balaji had a fruitful Indian Premier League (IPL) career. The fast bowler etched his record in IPL history books taking the first hat-trick of the tournament in the inaugural season against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). ‘The smiling assassin shares his birthday with former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum who dazzled in the IPL opener with a stupendous 158.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) September 27, 2019
Later on, Balaji played for two more franchises, KXIP and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in his career after his switch from Chennai Super Kings (CSK). He picked 76 wickets from 73 games in his IPL career.
The 38-year-old was a fan-favourite in Pakistan for his batting style. During India’s tour of Pakistan in 2004 in an ODI, he broke his bat after hitting Shoaib Akhtar for a maximum the previous delivery.
Balaji was known for his knack of picking wickets even after going for runs. He made a comeback into the international side in 2012. He played the T20 World Cup and made the most of his selection by becoming the highest wicket-taker in the tournament for India.
That was it for the CSK bowler. He hung his boots at the age of 34 in September 2016. He also worked as a bowling coach for his old franchises and three-time IPL champions CSK.
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