The World Test Championship has changed the way test cricket is played. Finally, we have a multi-nation tournament in the longest format of the game. No longer is a bilateral test series considered inconsequential.
The WTC has brought about a change in the thought process in terms of selection, as test cricket is now planned for a landscape of two years. If the selectors don't see a particular cricketer being fit and playing after 2 years, they are unwilling to invest in the same player in the present.
As we go into the last 6 months of the ongoing WTC cycle, we could be seeing the last of some well-known cricketers in their red-ball careers. Here is a look at five cricketers who may call time on their test career after the WTC 2021-23 cycle.
#5 Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan has been Bangladesh's man for all season with both bat and the ball. He is right up there amongst the best sub-continent all-rounders. However, he hasn't had a great time in international cricket in the last two years.
He has missed a lot of games for Bangladesh due to personal or other reasons and has had frequent clashes with the cricket board. Having been appointed as the captain of the test team subsequent to Mominul Haque stepping down, he has not been able to bring much of an impact. Bangladesh may move on from Shakib in the next WTC edition as they look to start afresh.
#4 Trent Boult
Trent Boult is among the best seamers that the Blackcaps have produced in their history. He is a complete package as a bowler and has been successful wherever he has played and in all formats.
Boult is currently not among the contracted players of New Zealand cricket after he asked to be released. Although NZC has not ruled out his selection, they have made it clear that contracted players will get priority over selection. The participation in the T20 league is the primary reason for his release from the contract. It is quite likely that a formal retirement from the red-ball format is not quite far away.
#3 James Anderson
James Anderson is one of the greatest seamers to have played this game. No fast bowler has come close to Anderson in terms of longevity. However, as all good things come to an end, so will Jimmy's career one day!
England have had a terrible run in the 2021-23 cycle of the WTC and are nowhere close to making the finals after their Ashes debacle. They will be looking to go back to the drawing board and think long-term next time. As the likes of Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Sam Curran returning after their prolonged injury breaks, it will be time for Anderson to pass on the mantle to the younger legs.
The longest-playing seamer in the history of test cricket might draw curtains on his illustrious career after the conclusion of this WTC cycle.
#2 David Warner
The Australian southpaw has been a dominant force at the top for nearly a decade. He has held the Australian top order together while not having a stable opening partner for most of his career.
David Warner, who is 36 already, has made it clear recently that he is into the last 12 months of his test career. While the Aussies already have one foot in the door in the WTC finals, a dominating home season will be enough to book their tickets to The Oval in June 2023. If the Aussies win the WTC, Warner will have his retirement timed perfectly.
#1 Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma has been a legendary batsman in limited-overs formats but his sailing in test match cricket hasn't been smooth. He had to wait long before making his test debut in 2013. In the 9 years of being a test cricketer, Rohit has had an inconsistent run in the longest format being in and out of the side due to fitness issues, and wearing the test cap only 45 times.
When he became the test captain of India in early 2022, it was always going to be a temporary solution as he is in the twilight of his career right now. In the remaining six tests of India's WTC campaign, he has a chance to lead his side to the finals. India will hope to give their skipper a fitting farewell by winning the World Test Championship.
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