Yashpal Singh has played 103 matches, scoring 7,538 runs at an average of 51.27 © AFP (File Photo)
Yashpal Singh has played 103 matches, scoring 7,538 runs at an average of 51.27 © AFP (File Photo)

The biggest player for Services Ranji Trophy team till date in the form of Yashpal Singh, who has had a glorious career with the team and has served them for 15 years, is all set to write off his name from the team sheet from hereon as he is set to quit the team. The reason for him to quit the team is still unknown, but it could mostly be for better earning prospects, or the ignorant attitude by BCCI towards the Services players. He has been a legend for Services, ever since his debut in 2001-02, while he has played 103 matches, scoring 7,538 runs at an average of 51.27.

In an interview with cricketnext.com, Yashpal said, “Honestly, I am getting emotional. There are a lot of memories and emotions involved. All I can say, it has been an amazing journey. Things were good at Services also but I am looking at it from the financial aspect. I am in talks with two teams but nothing has materialised yet. I am hopeful that things will fall in place.”

“Cricket is a funny game. This is what I learnt in these 15 years. I saw many ups and downs. I committed mistakes and learnt from those. I shared my knowledge with juniors too. I am the senior-most in the team and didn’t step back when my juniors and team needed me. Cricket taught a lot of things to me – both on and off field. My journey has been a magnificent one,” he added.

Yashpal, who also works for the Indian Navy, finished with 55 runs with an average of 61.66 for the 2015-16 season. he also became the first Services player to have played 100 games. “I am very happy the way I have signed off. I just wanted to play my natural game and didn’t want to get emotional. I will miss my team,” he said. He also explained regarding the completion of minimum tenure as Serivces player. “Yes, we have to sign a 15-year contract at the time of joining Services and it’s the minimum tenure we have to complete. After that it is our wish whether we want to continue or not,” he added.

However, despite leaving the team, he is confident of earning a good contrct with other teams owing to his illustrious 15 years of career. “I have just finished the season. Now I will start the process. I was just thinking about the season and thankfully, I have performed well. Teams have seen my performance and I hope some will approach me. I also intend to go to England to play County cricket,” he said.

He was also the first Services player to be roped in by an IPL franchise as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) reoped him in for the second season, where he played for three season before joining Kochi Tuskers Kerala (KTK), which eventually dissolved. “It was a golden period for me. I had an amazing experience. I still relish moments with Kolkata Knight Riders. I performed well in the domestic season. Former India player and my friend at Delhi’s Sonnet Cricket Club, Aakash Chopra, helped me a lot to get into IPL. Playing IPL was like representing India for me. I was lucky to have spent three years with KKR. I got a chance to interact and play with big cricketers of the world. I had always seen them playing on television, but playing and practicing alongside them was a different experience altogether,” he said.

“I learnt a lot from former India captain Sourav Ganguly, Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, Ricky Ponting, Shoaib Akhtar, David Hussey, etc. It was a learning experience for me with these senior players. After that I joined Kochi Tuskers Kerala for two years. But if I am approached by any of IPL teams, I would love to go and play the league again,” he said again.

YAshpal has been often referred to as the run-machine for his brilliant batting skills, to which he replied, “My job is to perform. It is selectors who have to decide whether I should get a place in the team or not.” Speaking about his team’s future, he said, “As I said, the boys are hard-working and talented. It is like a family. Rajat [Paliwal] has played for India ‘A’. I would love to take Suraj Yadav’s name. He has played the Challengers Trophy. These players have the potential and can do a lot better if given a chance. They need guidance, that’s it. Rajat and Suraj are inspiring a lot of youngsters and juniors.”

Following his leave from the Services team, Yashpal thanked his family, friends, coaches and teammates. “I am really thankful to my family, team members, coaches and managers for supporting me while I was taking this tough decision. They were always there when I needed them. What will you do with the talent when you don’t get opportunity to showcase it?” he said.

Speaking on BCCIs handling and attitude towards Services and its players, he said, “We have a lot of talented players. If they get proper facilities and opportunities, they will go a long way. BCCI should focus on this team. [Deserving] players should get a chance to play for India, and when they retire they should be treated the way players from other teams are treated. They should also be given some coaching role, etc.”

Yashpal has scored 18 tons, that include five double tons, along with the highest score of 250, the highest for any Serivces player till date. He also has the mos 100s (18) and most 50s (51) for Services. “It has been 15 years since I am associated with Services. I want some change. Honestly, it was a tough decision to leave Services but I had to take it. I am thinking about the future too. Services don’t get much support from the BCCI. We don’t get any grant from them. So considering the future, I have taken this step,” he said.

“Services team is a pack of talented players. We have won against big teams too. If BCCI would support or grant us, these players will go a long way. I have full faith in the team. We don’t get support from BCCI – whether it is financially or anything. This is the main reason for me to leave Services,” he concluded.