Parting with the game that you love, the game that gave you everything when you didn’t have any, can be a tough task for many. Players who decide to take a call it a day on their international career, do so with really heavy hearts. Just like JP Duminy did recently, many players tell that it is tough but at the end of the day, they just have to.
But, it’s not that often that players do get the choice to take their own decisions. Sometimes it’s just the right time to announce their decision. It is often said that it is better to retire when the fans ask why, rather than when. Some people learn it the harsh way and some are wise enough to make the call at the right time.
So, here’s the list of five such players for whom, the time is right to walk away from the sport:
1. Shoaib Malik
The 37-year-old all-rounder from Pakistan, a batting mainstay and regular wicket-taker with the ball Shoaib Malik has had an illustrious career while playing for Pakistan. Having made his debut almost two decades ago, he is well past his heydays and it shows on the field. His mind has been writing cheques that his body can’t cash anymore.
Shoaib in his days has seen it all and has been all. All the way from a capable opener, a No.3 batsman to a ferocious slogger, he was a perfect fit in every role that he was assigned. With over 10,000 runs in international cricket and 200+ wickets, Shoaib can appropriately be termed as a once-in-a-lifetime player. There is no doubt that the likes of Jacques Kallis and others have been more successful on the stat sheet than Shoaib, but he was something that every team wanted.
But, after the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, the world is yet to see him back in the greens. Having played over 500 international matches, there is hardly anything that Shoaib can complain about. And, with age ticking in, his days on the field are numbered, making it a perfect time for him to retire from international cricket.
2. Piyush Chawla
The leg spinner from Aligarh, Piyush Chawla was a player of his own class. And, his international debut is a perfect example of it. Playing against England in his first match, he took the wicket of the great all-rounder of England, Andrew Flintoff. Then there was no looking back for him. He played the 2011 World Cup and contributed in India’s victory.
A successful player of the Indian Premier League, even at 31, he was picked by the Chennai Super Kings for 6.75 crore rupees for the 2020 season of the tournament. After a successful stint at Kolkata Knight Riders, the team decided to let him go and CSK took no time to pick him up from the auction pool.
But, in the international arena, he hasn’t been spotted for more than half a decade now. Many players across the globe, having not played international cricket for a number of years, continue with franchise tournaments and announce retirement from the international version of the sport. And, so should be done by Piyush, so that in the remaining days of his career, he can put in his best for the team he is playing for.
3. Harbhajan Singh
Called fondly by the fans as the ‘turbunator’, Harbhajan Singh was an instant hit as soon as he came into the international arena. His captain at that time, Sourav Ganguly was fond of his energy, the fans were mad about his match-winning performances and the analysts of the sport were awed by his variations. Harbhajan was young, passionate and talented. Everyone loved him and pronounced him to be the next big thing in spin bowling.
And become a big player he did. He played a total of 103 Tests, 236 One Day Internationals and 28 T20Is for India. Harbhajan has more than 700 wickets in international cricket and an average of below 35 in all the three formats of the sport. He was even a part of the squads that won the World T20 in 2007 and the 50 over World Cup in 2011 and his contributions in both the tournaments were pretty significant. Harbhajan at times was known to be pretty handy with the bat too.
But, since 2016, the fans have not seen Harbhajan in international colours. And, with players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzuvendra Chahal and the like dominating the Indian spin bowling department, his chances of staging a return seem quite bleak.
He has been a regular feature in the Indian Premier League, but his absence from the squad and even the scheme of things of Team India for so long must make him contemplate the prospects of ending his international career and focus on his IPL and other duties.
4. Parthiv Patel
Another man on the lost, who started off early in the international scene, Parthiv Patel, the only player to lead Gujrat to a Ranji Trophy win, is also in the final phase of his career. He has been proving his talent in the domestic circuit time and again, but has not been in the scheme of things of the Indian selectors for quite some time now.
In the days of playing for India, he had fared pretty decently. He was part of 65 international matches and scored more than 1500 runs. But, a poor string of performances, followed by MS Dhoni’s entry, made him stay away from international cricket for quite some time. The last time he was a part of the Indian team was in 2018. And, it does not look like he will be returning any time soon.
At 34 years of age, he must have some cricket left in him, but the Indian selectors have moved on. Young wicket-keeper batsmen like Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan being prepped for the International squad, his chances of making a return are almost dead. So, he must consider taking a call on his career at the highest level and relish his 18-year long journey in international cricket.
5. Monty Panesar
The spin bowling sensation from England, or so to say, the ‘Indian turbunator’s’, English counterpart Monty Panesar is the oldest individual to feature in this list. Missing out on cricket due to mental health issues can be really unfortunate for any player, especially during his heydays. But, in Monty’s case fate had in store a similar future for him.
His ability to spin the ball sharply and maintain accuracy at the same time were his defining traits during his playing days. After his debut in 2006, he played for England for a period of 6 years, before his mental health issues caused him to take a break from the sport. But, little did he know that he will never get a chance to play for England again.
Panesar had made his return to the domestic circuit of England in 2016 but was never picked for the international team. He did not feature in any first-class fixtures after 2016. He is currently been involved in the broadcasting of the sport and has not yet announced his retirement. But, with his age affecting his physical conditions and his days on the field almost out, he should make a formal announcement of his retirement from international cricket soon.
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