The COVID-19 pandemic has managed to turn the world upside side over the last few weeks. After emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the deadly coronavirus has somehow found its way around most part of the world.
The globe is on its knees and it’s not yet known when it will get back on its feet. The sporting world has also come to a standstill and cricket isn’t any different by any means. A number of tournaments have either been cancelled or postponed. Even as the who’s who, involved with the sport are set to incur losses, careers of a few cricketers are most likely to be affected.
Most of them are at the fag end of their journeys for the national team. While they will be hoping to end with a flourish, the coronavirus pandemic may crush their dreams of a happy ending.
In the article, let’s take a look at five cricketers, whose career maybe affected due to coronavirus: –
1. MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni is set to turn 39 this July and it goes without saying that he doesn’t have a whole lot of cricket left ahead of him. The Jharkhand-born veteran last played in the 2019 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand back in July 2019 and went on a sabbatical.
He was scheduled to make his comeback for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL). Dhoni also attended a few practise sessions. The T20 event was expected to be a pathway for Dhoni’s comeback into Team India.
Speculations surrounding whether or not he should be picked for the T20 World Cup in Australia are also doing the rounds. Talks of him retirement have become incessant. Due to coronavirus pandemic, if the tournament later this year gets postponed, then chances of Dhoni’s comeback become even bleaker.
2. Shoaib Malik
Shoaib Malik retired from Test cricket to start with and then hung his boots from ODI cricket after the 2019 World Cup. At the age of 38, the Sialkot-born only plays in the T20 format. After missing out on quite a few matches for Pakistan in the latter half of 2019, he made a return in the T20Is against Bangladesh.
There he scored out an unbeaten 58 and also got the Man of the Match award. The veteran also pulled off three half-centuries, representing the Peshawar Zalmi in the 2020 Pakistan Super League (PSL). It goes without saying that he hasn’t lost touch.
Bearing in mind his form, he was almost certain to play in the T20 World Cup later this year. Now due to the current situation, time has forcibly been taken out of his career, which doesn’t have much of a future.
3. Tamim Iqbal
Tamim Iqbal, Bangladesh’s stalwart batsman, didn’t have the best of campaigns in 2019. Injuries and lack of form kept creating troubles for him. Even in the 2019 World Cup, the Chittagong-born couldn’t live up to the expectations. Tamim was made the ODI captain in the away series against Sri Lanka after Mashrafe Mortaza missed out.
To add insult to injury, the Tigers lost the series 3-0. Tamim was picked for the India tour, but then he had personal commitments to fulfill. He played in the 2019-20 BPL and his low strike-rate became a topic for discussion.
However, the knocks of 158 and 128* was making sure that the 31-year-old was finding his rhythm back. He was also made the full-time ODI skipper after Mashrafe stepped away permanently. Nevertheless, the untimely break may again take away all his momentum.
4. James Anderson
James Anderson has over 870 wickets for England and has been their linchpin for the last 18 years since debuting in 2002. But the last year or so hasn’t yielded much results for him. In the 2019 Ashes, he developed a calf injury in the opening Test at Edgbaston and was ruled out for the remainder of the series.
The fast bowler made his comeback in the series against South Africa. This time around, a rib injury cut short his outing after a couple of matches. In his last Test at the Newlands in Cape Town, the Lancashire-born returned with a five-wicket haul.
The speedster will be 38 years old this July and being a pacer, it won’t be a cakewalk for him to extend his career for much long. The coronavirus outbreak will shorten his journey if not pull the curtains down completely.
5. Lasith Malinga
Back in September 2019, Lasith Malinga picked up four wickets in consecutive deliveries during a T20I against New Zealand. The Galle-born was the Islanders’ skipper and he led his side to victory, though the series was already gone.
The fact that the pacer was firing on all cylinders even at the age of 36 was most astonishing. In Lankan bowling attack, Malinga is still deemed as the most lethal. Last year, he hung his boots from ODI cricket after the home ODIs against Bangladesh. He was also set to captain the Lankans in the T20 World Cup in Australia.
The veteran was also expected to get warmed up in the 2020 IPL, representing the Mumbai Indians. But now with the IPL getting postponed indefinitely, clouds have been cast over the pacer’s endeavour in the near future.
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