Former Pakistan opening batsman Imran Farhat has retired from professional cricket following the conclusion of his team's campaign in the Pakistan Cup.
Farhat signed off his career in competitive cricket with his 15th List A century, though it failed to help Balochistan over the line against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as they finished last on the points table.
The 38-year-old began his domestic journey in the 1997/98 season and made his maiden first-class appearance the following season.
Deemed as a prodigious talent with the bat, the left-handed opener rose through the ranks as a result of prolific stints with the Pakistan Under-19 and 'A' sides.
Farhat made his international debut during the tour of New Zealand in 2001 and went on to represent Pakistan in 40 Test matches, 58 ODIs and 7 T20Is. During this period, Farhat established himself as a decent batter possessing an impressive repertoire of strokes and a compact defence.
1. 26 years ago today was the first time I put on my green shirt all excited for Pak-U19s and today I played last match as a professional cricketer. All good things in life come to an end, I have really enjoyed this journey and I specially want to thank everyone who has supported— Imran Farhat (@imranfarhat1982) January 26, 2021
A couple of his memorable innings include 101 against arch-rivals India to win the Lahore Test in 2004 and 117* against New Zealand in 2009 to become only the fourth Pakistan batsman to carry the bat through a completed innings. He also made a crucial 67 against Australia in 2010 at Leeds to see his team through to a nervy three-wicket win.
Farhat's last assignment with Pakistan came in the 2013 Champions Trophy after which he was dropped from the side.
He continued to have success in the domestic circuit and captained Habib Bank Limited to the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy title in the 2018/19 season. He finishes his illustrious first-class career with 15,805 runs at an average of 42.83 and 7,572 runs in 222 List A matches.
2. me over the years especially my father who I can say would be looking down from the heavens and feeling proud of his baby boy. Thank you Pakistan it was always an honour to serve you ???? all the cricketing memories will stick with me for the rest of my life— Imran Farhat (@imranfarhat1982) January 26, 2021
Prior to the commencement of the 2020/21 season, Farhat confirmed it would be his final stint in professional cricket.
“It is certainly an emotional moment for me to retire from the game which I have loved and have been passionate about since childhood. It has been an honour for me to don Pakistan colours, something which every youngster in this country dream about," he said on his retirement.
“There have been highs and lows in my career, which is natural, but the fact that I got to get on the field for almost two and a half decades is something I will cherish forever.
“I want to thank the teammates with whom I have shared dressing rooms for giving me lifetime memories. I also want to thank the coaches who believed in me while helping me get where I am today," he commented.
Farhat was presented with a special guard of honour from teammates, rivals and coaches at the end of Balochistan's defeat on Tuesday. He scored three half-centuries and one hundred for them in this year's Pakistan Cup.
“Imran Farhat has been one of the most successful batsmen in Pakistan’s domestic circuit and I congratulate him on completing a successful career," PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said in a statement.
“Imran has always been willing to give back to Pakistan cricket what he has learned over his cricketing career. He led a young Balochistan side after the domestic structure's revamp in 2019 and shared his knowledge with the upcoming cricketers from the region."
“I am hopeful that he will continue to play his role in the betterment of Pakistan cricket by transferring the vast knowledge he has gathered over the years to the younger cricketers.”