To all the retiring cricketers: Here is why we will miss you!
This World Cup has been different, not only because of the phenomenal performances that we have come across but also because a lot of experienced players have bid adieu to their glorious ODI careers after this tournament.
These players are undoubtedly irreplaceable, keeping their past records and performances in mind. All of them have proved themselves as match winners and they will be sorely missed.
Therefore, I believe these players should be given a proper farewell, as they represent our generation of brilliant players, and this blog is my way of appreciating all that they have done for their fans and the cricketing world at large.
The first name on this list of remarkable players is of Daniel Vettori – his last appearance for the Black Caps was in the World Cup final against Australia. And what a performance it was. The result of the match may not have left good memories for Vettori, but his performance as a player left behind tons of memories for his fans.
Vettori is one of the most victorious left-arm bowlers in cricket history. Moreover, he was New Zealand’s youngest Test player when he made his debut against England in 1997. His 18-year-long career is like a book of adventure which always keeps his fans indulged. He has a magnificent record of 361 Test wickets, ranking him number two amongst the Kiwis. He has scored 6,989 runs altogether in 113 Test matches, 295 one-day international and 34 T20s.
Vettori’s absence will be deeply felt, by not only the Kiwis but cricket fans everywhere.
Another star who ended his career after the World Cup – with an amazing victory – is Michael Clarke. His career statistics have been phenomenal and he has managed to surprise his fans with his magic almost every single time that he has played. Clarke was the most reliable batsman Australia had, having scored 8432 runs in 108 Test matches and 7762 runs in 238 ODI matches.
At the age of 34, he has never been reluctant to perform for his team. Clarke is the youngest player to retire amongst his peers and while he will still show his magic in Australia’s Test matches, his presence in the coloured jersey will surely be missed.
In this list of spectacular players, the next hero is also the second highest run scorer of the 2015 World Cup. Kumar Sangakkara scored four consecutive centuries against Bangladesh, England, Australia and Scotland. He has not only gone down in World Cup history as the most successful batsman of his time, but has also set a record of the highest number of consecutive ODI centuries scored.
Although Sri Lanka was knocked out of the tournament after South Africa defeated them in the quarter-finals, Sangakkara remains the most celebrated player of the tournament. He thinks his batting through and is consistent. Because of his consistency, he won three awards in 2012. Furthermore, he was also honoured as the ICC player of the year in 2013.
Sangakkara retired with more than 14,000 ODI runs to his name and 25 hundreds in 404 matches. Additionally he has made his team proud by being among the top four players to achieve the man of the match award. Great players like him, who give their utmost devotion to their game and teams are always remembered in good books.
After he announced his plans, Sangakkara was asked to reconsider his decision to retire. The request was valid, since we hardly have such refined players in our midst. But so far, he hasn’t given a response to this request.
Since we are on the topic of great players, it would be a grotesque mistake to leave Mahela Jayawardene out of this list, as he too belongs to the group of legends who made their nations proud with their performances. With over 10,000 runs in both Tests and ODIs, and the title of captain in a World Cup final, it can easily be said that he has met the challenge serving his team sufficiently.
Jayawardene isn’t praised much, but he is a true Sri Lankan hero as he has helped his team through many tough times.
Alas, leaving our very own Tuk Tuk out of this list will not be fair. Yes, Misbahul Haq, who not only gave us many victories but also proved himself with every step despite being criticised constantly, has been a huge asset for the Pakistani team. He has probably been the best captain so far and one of the two players on the team to score 3000+ ODI runs.
Misbah retired from ODI cricket with 5122 runs in 162 matches, and I doubt if we will ever be able to find anyone who can fill his shoes. Azhar Ali has to up his game exponentially in order to reflect Misbah’s brilliance.
Lastly, this list cannot be complete without the mention of my favourite, Lala, or should I say, ‘Boom boom Afridi’ – the heartthrob of millions.
No matter what you may choose to call him, you cannot forget his fastest century, as well as his amazing swing bowling. Also, one cannot overlook his performance in the Asia Cup against India, which led him to the top. He is more like a superstar than a cricketer to us, and he will always be remembered for his services to the team.
Cricket is a game of nerves and emotions; every player battles through in order to prove their worth. And these six players have not only proved their worth, but have also made us love them. And retired or not, they will always have a soft spot in our hearts.
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