The year 2019 is done and dusted. There were multiple cricketers that bid adieu to international cricket in what was the last year of the 2010s decade. It may have been only from one format or all the three formats but there were multiple high-profile stars that hung up their boots from international cricket.
The likes of Lasith Malinga, Shoaib Malik, Peter Siddle, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Yuvraj Singh, Dale Steyn, Mohammad Amir and many others retired from at least one format of the game. Vernon Philander will be one of the first ones to retire in 2020 as the South African pacer has already announced that he will bid adieu to the game after the ongoing Test series against England.
There were speculations on multiple other cricketers as well and they were expected to retire in 2019. However, that did not happen. Will they retire in 2020? Only time will tell their tale.
But as we enter the new year 2020, we look at the top five cricketers who might hang up their boots this year:
1. Dale Steyn
Over the last few years, Dale Steyn has had more injuries than the cricket that he’s played. Ever time he’s been fit and firing to go, there’s another injury setback waiting for him. That rules him out for a few months and sets him back again. Thus, to prolong his career, Steyn bid adieu to Test cricket.
The ace South African fast bowler has set his sights on playing on a lot more white-ball cricket. He has looked in excellent rhythm in the recent past. Steyn had a very good season in the Mzansi Super League (MSL). He took 15 wickets from eight games and had a strike-rate of 12.8. He’s even started the Big Bash League on a high.
However, Steyn is 36 and he is constantly plagued with injuries. Thus, 2020 might be his last year in international cricket. In fact, the South African pacer might go the way for the likes of AB de Villiers and Brendon McCullum where he might feature a lot more in T20 leagues.
2. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
There is absolutely no doubt that Mahendra Singh Dhoni will top every retirement predictions list in the near future. The former Indian captain is in the news irrespective of whether he’s on the field or off it. The rumours, the speculations, the questions are only increasing and there are very little to no answers.
In a recent interview, MS Dhoni asked people not to ask him about his retirement or return to cricket until January 2020. Ravi Shastri recently had stated that if Dhoni has a good IPL and wants to continue with international cricket, he will be considered for the T20 World Cup in Australia. He did have a pretty good 2019. The Ranchi-born cricketer scored 730 at an average of 56.15 in ODIs and T20Is combined in 2019.
However, 2020 might just be the year that he hangs up his boots. Dhoni doesn’t like too much attention on him and he might go quietly as he did in Test cricket. But whether he plays the T20 World Cup or no, 2020 might be his last year in international cricket. Or will it? We said that for 2019 as well.
3. Chris Gayle
The ever-green Chris Gayle keeps coming back and hasn’t retired from international cricket so far. He hasn’t formally announced his retirement and for the time being, has taken a ‘break’ from cricket. The last time the Universe Boss was seen in West Indian colours was in an ODI against India at home and he smoked a fine 41-ball 72.
That was supposed to be his last ODI. However, he has taken a U-turn and has said that he will continue playing international cricket. The Jamaican opener started the year with a bang as he smashed 414 runs in four innings against England which included a staggering 39 sixes.
But his form has been on the decline as the year has gone along. Gayle hasn’t been at his best even in the T20 league like the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Mzansi Super League (MSL). Thus, we could well see the last of Gayle in 2020, at least as far as international cricket goes.
4. Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga has been absolutely fantastic for Sri Lankan cricket and he keeps going on and on and on. However, he has retired from ODI cricket this year. In the ODI series against Bangladesh right after the World Cup, Malinga bid adieu to the 50-over format.
The premier Sri Lankan fast bowler has set his sights on the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia. He continues playing T20I cricket and has done well too. In fact, in a game against New Zealand in September earlier this year, he took four wickets in four balls and showed the world that he’s still got it in him. Malinga can still reproduce the magic of old.
However, with him setting a goal on the T20 World Cup, it hints that he might bid adieu to all forms of international cricket after the mega event. Thus, 2020 might be the last time we see Malinga in Sri Lankan colours.
5. Eoin Morgan
This might be a pretty surprising name in this list but we may well see the unexpected. 2019 was a phenomenal year for Eoin Morgan. The Irish-born had a fabulous year, both personally and also, as the England captain. The aim of winning the 2019 World Cup came true as England won the mega event for the first time in the history of men’s cricket. England even did well in T20I cricket and took a step towards building a team for the 2020 T20 World Cup as well.
As a batsman, Morgan scored 791 runs at an average of 52.73 and a strike-rate of 112.19. He broke the record for most sixes ever in an ODI innings when he scored 148 against Afghanistan in a World Cup game. He had good T20 numbers as well as he made 268 runs at an average of 44.66 and a strike-rate of 172.90.
Morgan is consistently playing white-ball cricket for England and if he doesn’t see himself featuring in the 2023 World Cup where England will look to defend their title, he might go away. Thus, the T20 World Cup could possibly be his swansong in international cricket.
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