NEW DELHI: M Vijay has called time on his international career to explore “new opportunities in the world of cricket and the business side of it”. Vijay played 61 Tests, 17 ODIs and nine T20Is in an international career that began in 2008 when he replaced Gautam Gambhir in India’s XI for the final Test of the 2008-09 Border Gavaskar Trophy in Nagpur. He last turned out for India in the Perth Test in December 2018, and last played first-class and List A cricket, for Tamil Nadu, in late 2019. His last appearance in professional cricket was in the IPL, in September 2020. A classical Test opener, who, when at his peak, had a solid technique and immense patience against the new ball – his ability to leave the ball earned him great praise during India’s tour of England in 2014 – Vijay finished with 3982 Test runs in 105 innings at an average of 38.28. He made 12 centuries and 15 half-centuries, with a best of 167 against Australia in Hyderabad in 2013. “I am excited to announce that I will be exploring new opportunities in the world of cricket and the business side of it, where I will also continue to participate in the sport that I love and challenge myself in new and different environments,” 38-year-old Vijay said in a statement. “I believe this is the next step in my journey as a cricketer and I look forward to the new chapter in my life.” In June last year, speaking at an event to launch the 2022 edition of the Tamil Nadu Premier League, Vijay had said he wanted to “play as long as possible”. While he hasn’t said if he would be pursuing opportunities in T20 leagues around the world, Vijay’s retirement note didn’t make a mention of retirement from anything apart from international cricket. Not long ago, in fact, he had hinted at playing outside India. Vijay was a key member of India’s Test squad for a five-year period between 2013 and 2018. From December 2013 to January 2015, when India played all their Test cricket away from home – in South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia – Vijay faced the most balls and scored the second-most runs for the team. He was also one of only three players to average more than 40. Though a Test opener in the classical mould, Vijay also featured in 106 IPL games and led two franchises: Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) and Punjab Kings.