Veteran player Bipul Sharma has announced that he retired from domestic cricket and moved to the USA to play there. Sharma was a member of the IPL-winning Sunrisers Hyderabad team in 2016. He also played for the Punjab Kings in the T20 league.
Sharma has also represented Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Sikkim in domestic cricket. According to the Board of Control for Cricket in India's rules, a player who wishes to take part in foreign leagues has to retire from IPL and domestic cricket. Therefore, Sharma will not be making a return to Indian cricket as he will be playing in the United States instead.
Bipul has scalped 17 wickets in 33 IPL matches and earned the prized wicket of AB de Villiers in the final of IPL 2016. He played for Hyderabad until 2018. He ended his Indian career with 3012 runs and 126 wickets in 59 matches. The all-rounder Sharma also has scored 1620 runs and dismissed 96 batsmen in 96 List A matches while in 105 T20s he produced 1203 runs and 84 wickets.
Sharma announced his move through a statement released on social media, writing:
“25 years!!! I can’t believe I have been playing this long…Finally, the day has arrived for me to bid adieu to the game that I have cherished and loved all my life."
“The journey has been remarkable and it would not have been possible without the blessings of the Almighty, unflinching support of my family – my mother, my uncle and my wife who have always stood by me.
“I would also like to thank my coaches, mentors, peers and all my friends and well wishers for the support and encouragement I have received over the years.
“I would also like to pay my gratitude to the following associations for supporting me in this journey through thick and thin – PCA, HPCA, UTCA, Sikkim and IPL franchise Punjab Kings XI, Sunrisers Hyderabad.
“Onto the next phase of my life, where I look forward to spending more time with my kids and the family… playing cricket in the USA…Love and blessings to all! Thank you Cricket for everything.”
Where Sharma will play next
Details surrounding which league Sharma will play were not immediately disclosed. However, the majority of Indian players who moved to the USA were signed with Minor League.
For example, one of the most notable Indian cricketers playing in the Minor League is Unmukt Chand who retired from domestic cricket in 2021 to move to the USA. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful players playing in the league and is rumoured to be eyeing a move to the Major League when it kicks off.
The former India U-19 captain also has said that he aimed to represent the USA cricket team in the future. Chand is expected to play to be eligible to don the national cap in 2024. He is currently in Australia, playing for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League.
In Addition to Chand, former India U-19 teammates Smit Patel and Harmeet Singh have also moved to the USA. Patel played for the Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2021.