The year 2019 is the year of ICC World Cup. The tournament, in general, brings a lot of joy, and historical moments, but this tournament brings a lot of sadness too. This is the time of year when the cricketers decide to hang up their boots.
The 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup saw the legends of the game like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Micheal Clarke, Brendon McCullum bid adieu, and the 2019 World Cup will be no different.
While the emergence of new blood is always heartening to see, it also simultaneously spells the end for some seasoned veterans.
Retirements are part and parcel of any game let alone Cricket, and it will be sad to see the legends of the game who have entertained the fans for more than a decade call it a day, but that is how the life goes.
Here are three players who might retire in 2019, and three senior cricketers who might continue to play even after 2019.
#1 May not retire - Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Yes, you read it right.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni might not retire in 2019. Dhoni is arguably one of the greatest ever limited overs player that the country has ever produced. His achievements are not limited only as a batsman, but also extends as a captain. Under Dhoni's leadership, India has won all the ICC trophies that are offered.
After India's exit from the ICC World Cup 2015, rumours of a Dhoni's retirement started to spread, but later he clarified that he will continue till the 2019 World Cup. But 2019 World Cup might not be the end of Dhoni's International career.
The ICC T20 World Cup was the first ICC Trophy that Dhoni conquered, and it is fitting that he ends his career winning the T20 World Cup in 2020.
Dhoni's inclusion in the T20I squad for the New Zealand tour can be a subtle indication that Dhoni is still eyeing the T20 World Cup. Whenever Dhoni decides to call it a day, the cricket will never be the same.
#1 Likely to retire - Shoaib Malik
In the midst of players like Shahid Afridi, Misbah ul Haq, and Younus Khan, we fail to recognize the contribution of Shoaib Malik's towards to the Pakistan cricket. One of the unsung heroes of the country's history has scored more than 7000 runs in the ODI format of the game.
Pakistan is a formidable team going into this ICC tournament, and the experience of Malik is one of the major reason for this above statement. The 36-year-old is a jack of all trades and has been a match-winner with both bat and ball on numerous occasion.
With the age not in his side, he has announced that 2019 World Cup will be his swansong. Malik has inspired a lot of budding stars in Pakistan, and it is time for them to continue the legacy left by him.
#2 May not retire - Hashim Amla
Hashim Amla has become of the best batsman to represent the country. With AB de Villiers announcing retirement from International Cricket, it is up to Hashim, Quinton de Kock, and Faf Du Plessis to take the mantle and lead South Africa in the World Cup.
March of 2019 will see Hashim Amla turning 36, which is usually the age that any cricketer decides to hang his boots. But this might not be the case with Hashim Amla as there are two good reasons which prevent him from retiring.
The reason number one is that the lack of replacement in the batting department after his retirement, and reason number two is the arrival of ICC World Test Championship in the later part of 2019. While Amla's numbers in the limited overs are good, he is best known for his exploits in the longest format of the game.
#2 Likely to retire - James Anderson
This generation is highly criticized for the lack of good bowlers. If there is one bowler, who can put up his hand up, and say the above statement is wrong, then it is James Anderson. James Anderson can be called as the bullseye, a man who can hit the same line, with the same length again and again till the batsman makes a mistake.
As they say, time and tide wait for none, and ageing is inevitable, but the age has not caught up with the 36-year-old fast bowler from Lancashire. Anderson has taken 564 wickets in the 143 matches that he has represented England.
The ICC World Test Championship is about to start just after the World Cup, and England's first series is the Ashes in their home. There can be no better series than this tour for Anderson to bid adieu from Test Cricket.
#3 May not retire - Angelo Mathews
Every team undergoes a major transition once every 10-15 years. Sri Lanka had their phase of transition after 2015 World Cup where stalwarts like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan decided to call it a day and ever since that SL has continued to struggle in all 3 formats of the game.
But through all their dark days, one ray of light that has helped Sri Lanka to perform well, and win some important matches is Angelo Mathews. Incredibly talented and intelligent, Mathews is good at adapting to different situations.
The reason for putting Angelo Mathews in this section is because of the threat of retiring from the white ball cricket after being used as the scapegoat for their loss in the Asia Cup held this year.
Even with multiple injuries, and bowling stress, Mathews continues to be the best player in the Sri Lankan team sheet. The Asian side has had a horrible time in the last two years, in order to turn it around they need Angelo Mathews to fire from all cylinders.
#3 Likely to retire - Yuvraj Singh
There has not been a better match-winner in the world cricket than Yuvraj Singh. Yuvraj has done and won everything that the world cricket has to offer. He was part of the 2007 T20 World Cup winning team, and that was the tournament in which he scored six sixes of Stuart Board in a single over.
2011 World Cup saw Yuvraj winning the World Cup with cancer, and in the process, became the Player of the Tournament for his heroics with both the bat and the ball.
Cancer not only affected the health of Yuvraj, but also the form of this great match winner. Still, the comeback man has made many comebacks into the Indian side, but with age not on his side, no place in the Indian team, 2019 can be the final year of Yuvraj's illustrious career.
Comment on the cricketers who you think will retire in the year 2019.