Two Fast Chums, A Batting Freak, Two Captains and Dan the Man!! All fade into the Sunset!! Goodbye!
Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka
The elegant left hander from Sri Lanka had announced that the World Cup 2015 will be his swansong from ODI cricket. He came into the Lankan side in place of the diminutive Romesh ‘Lil’ Kaluwitharana and through sheer hard work; determination and single minded focus blossomed into one of the best batsmen of our era.
He constantly remodeled his game according to the time and the fact that he scored 4 consecutive hundreds in the World Cup 2015 remains a testimony to how he could still have continued playing the game some time. There was to be no fairy tale end to his long career though as Sri Lanka lost the Quarter Final clash against South Africa. He played 404 matches scoring 14234 runs at an average of almost 42 with 25 tons and a mind numbing 93 half centuries!!
A Fairy Tale Farewell eluded the Great Kumar Sangakkara as Sri lanka crashed out at the Quarter Final stage with a huge loss to South Africa
Mahela Jayawardena, Sri Lanka
The close friend of Kumar Sangakkara and one of the most elegant stroke makers the game has ever seen had also indicated that the World Cup 2015 will be the last time that he will be seen playing an ODI for Sri Lanka. He started very early and was a champion school cricketer before he was leapfrogged into the Sri Lankan set up at a young age. He was one of the shrewdest captains that played the game and his presence in the middle order as well in the middle while the team is in a crunch position will be sorely missed. He steered Sri Lanka out of the woods with a composed century against Afghanistan and his centuries in the 2007 Semi Final against the Kiwis and his ton against the Indians in the 2011 Final will surely remain as his most cherished ODI innings. He played 448 matches for the Lankans scoring 12650 runs at an average of around 33 with 19 tons and 77 fifties.
Shahid Afridi, Pakistan
He seemed to have been around forever and he never changed his game right through his career. He had began his ODI career with the fastest ODI ton off just 37 balls against the Lankans in the 1990’s and he went out in a trail of fire in his last innings against the Australians in the Quarter Finals as well. Known as ‘Boom Boom’ to fans all around the globe, he always provided thorough entertainment either with the bat or with the ball. His showman pose after picking up a wicket will always stir fond memories in those who watched him play. He played 398 ODI’s for Pakistan scoring over 8000 runs at a strike rate of 117 and made 6 tons and 39 half centuries. He also picked up 395 wickets at an average of 34.5 and maintained an economy rate of 4.62 right through his long career.
Michael Clarke, Australia
Although many people do not give him the credit that he deserves for his ODI contribution to the Australian cricket the fact remains that he retires with an exemplary record and the numbers that he possesses are a testimony as to how much the Australian team will miss him. He was also a fine leader and his aggressive field settings and attacking moves meant that Australia played a brand of cricket that made the right sound, always. He was a brilliant player of spin bowling and shored up the middle order with class and panache many times. He retired as a World Cup winning captain at MCG as Australians beat the Kiwis by 7 wickets. He appeared in 245 matches for the Aussies making 7981 runs at an average almost touching 45 which included 8 tons and 58 half centuries.
Daniel Vettori, New Zealand
Vettori joined the Kiwi team as a young and gangly bespectacled boy and was soon one of the leading spinners of the game. He did not turn the ball much but his excellent control of the flight and pace along with subtle changes in line and length meant that he could always deceive the very best. The fact that he played for so long in the generally seaming conditions in New Zealand and prospered speaks volumes for the skills and quality of this man. He was the go to man for many a captain and was also a handy bat.
He also led New Zealand briefly when they were in not such a good state and did so admirably. He will be remembered for his calmness and Zen like approach to cricket. He played 295 matches for the Black Caps picking up 305 wickets at an average of 31 while maintaining a miserly economy rate of just 4.1. He also scored 2253 runs at an average of almost 18 which included 4 half centuries.
Other Cricketers who retired at the end of this World Cup are Misbah Ul Haq, Kyle Mills and Brad Haddin.
Which of these cricketers will you miss the most and why?
This post was first published on author’s blog