Taking a decision to retire is one of the biggest challenges for any sportsman.
That legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, and Ricky Ponting played well past their sell-by dates reiterates how tough it is to make the correct decision on retirement. On the other hand, AB de Villiers quit international cricket even as he had much more to offer to South Africa. Ask his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore.
But as the saying goes, when it comes to retirement, it is better to go when people ask why instead of why not.
Like every year, 2020 also saw a number of prominent names announcing retirement, some from international cricket and others from professional cricket altogether. Here are 10 cricketers whose retirement announcements made news in the year.
10 cricketers who declared retirement this year
#1. MS Dhoni: Short and Sweet - The Mahi Way
The biggest of them all. After keeping everyone guessing for a year, MS Dhoni finally announced his retirement on India’s Independence Day.
In typical Dhoni style, one of India’s most-successful captains walked away from international cricket without much fuss. He took to Instagram and posted a swift message, as if he was just taking another of those quick singles. Dhoni wrote:
The post was attached with a video that showcased his journey from debut to retirement, accompanied with the legendary Hindi track ‘Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar Hoon’.
Dhoni retired with two World Cup trophies as captain, and the only one to win all three ICC titles as leader. For the record, he amassed 10773 runs in 350 ODIs at an average of 50.57, 4876 runs in 90 Tests at an average of 38.09 and 1617 runs in 98 T20Is.
#2. Suresh Raina: Following in his captain’s footsteps
Minutes after Dhoni’s retirement, news came in that Suresh Raina, who enjoyed many fruitful partnerships with the former, had also retired from international cricket at 33.
Taking to Instagram, Raina posted an image with Dhoni and other CSK teammates and wrote:
Raina played 18 Tests, 226 ODIs and 78 T20Is, scoring 7988 international runs. He has been a stalwart for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.
#3. Irfan Pathan: Retired hurt
Once the poster boy of Indian cricket, Irfan Pathan’s unfulfilled career came to an end when he announced his retirement from all forms of the game at the start of the year. Irfan said during a show on Star Sports:
“I am announcing retirement from all forms of cricket. I have been fortunate to share the dressing room with greats of the game like (Sourav) Ganguly, (Rahul) Dravid and (VVS) Laxman. I am calling time on my career.”
Plagued by injuries, poor form and lack of support from the management, Irfan ended his international career with 100 wickets in 29 Tests, 173 in 120 ODIs and 28 in 24 T20Is. He is the second Indian after Harbhajan Singh to claim a Test hat-trick.
With the bat, Irfan scored a century to go with his six fifties in Tests. He also five half-centuries in ODIs.
#4. Ian Bell: Time to stop ringing
One of England’s modern-day stalwarts, Ian Bell announced his retirement from professional cricket in September 2020, having last played for the country in 2015.
In an emotional note on Twitter, Bell wrote:
"It's true when they say you know when the time's right, and unfortunately, my time is now. While my hunger and enthusiasm for the sport that I love remain as strong as ever, my body simply can't keep up with the demands of the game to the standard of which I expect of myself."
The highlight of Bell’s career was winning five out of the seven Ashes he featured in. He was the Player of the Series in the 2013 Ashes, with 562 runs at an average of 62.44.
Bell amassed 7727 runs in 118 Tests and 5416 runs in 161 ODIs.
#5. Mohammad Amir: A controversial end?
Pakistan left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir announced his retirement from international cricket in December at the age of 28. He had announced his retirement from Test cricket, a year earlier.
Amir alleged he was mentally tortured into retirement by some PCB members. He claimed:
“Some members in the PCB management once they took charge selected me for white-ball leg, and we even went to Australia, but when Pakistan lost the Test series there, the head coach and bowling coach started giving statements against me not playing Tests, some PCB management members said that Amir ditched us, they said I left Test cricket for T20 leagues.”
Amir played 36 Tests, 61 ODIs, and 50 T20Is, claiming 259 wickets across formats. Knowing Pakistan players’ penchant for coming out of retirement, we might not have seen the last of Mohammad Amir in international cricket yet.
#6. Marlon Samuels: Sombre finish to a glitzy career
For someone who enjoyed the limelight, very much a West Indian trait, Marlon Samuels' cricketing career ended in relative oblivion. In November, he announced his retirement from all forms of the game, having last played for West Indies in December 2018.
A man for the big occasion, Samuels was the man of the match in both T20 World Cup finals that the Windies won. In 2012, he scored 78 from 56 against Sri Lanka and in 2016 he hammered an unbeaten 85 off 66 against England.
Samuels played 71 Tests, 207 ODIs, and 67 T20Is, scoring 11,134 international runs, including 17 centuries, across all formats. He also picked up 152 international wickets.
#7. Wasim Jaffer: The endurance is over
In March this year, domestic doyen Wasim Jaffer announced his retirement from all forms of the game, having made his domestic debut way back in 1996/97. Jaffer said in a statement:
"After all these years in cricket, it is time to move on. But just like the red ball format which is very dear to me, it's the end of only the first innings. I am looking forward to the second innings in any capacity, be it in coaching, commentary etc., as long as I stay involved with the game as this game has given me so much."
At the time of his retirement, the 42-year-old finished as the highest run-getter in Ranji Trophy and also with most first-class hundreds, a record that will take some breaking.
Jaffer also played 31 Tests, scoring 1,944 runs at an average of 34.11 with five hundreds and a best of 212. His Test career showed promise but never progressed to the desired level.
Post retirement, he entertains fans with his wit on Twitter!
#8. Parthiv Patel: Always around, never in demand
As a 17-year-old, Parthiv Patel entered international with a bang, but left with a whimper. Patel announced his retirement in December, having last played for India in 2018 Johannesburg Test. It was often said that Patel was drafted too early on the big stage. And, while his batting was decent, he struggled with his keeping technique.
In a lengthy Twitter post, Patel wrote:
"Today I announce my retirement from all forms of cricket, and as I bring down the curtains on this 18 year old cricketing journey, I feel heavier with gratitude towards many. The BCCI showed a generous amount of confidence and faith in a 17 year old boy to play for India. I have enormous gratitude towards them for being a guiding force and hand holding me, in the formative years of my young career.”
Patel played 25 Tests for India, scoring 934 runs at an average of 31.13. He also turned out in 38 ODIs and two T20Is.
#9. Pragyan Ojha: ‘Left’ in the lurch
Jason Gillespie never played a Test match after scoring a double hundred. Similarly, left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha never played another Test for India after claiming 10 wickets in Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell game at Mumbai in 2013. His action was deemed suspect, and he could never recover from the setback.
In February, he announced his retirement at the fairly young age of 33. In a statement on Twitter, Ojha said:
"To be an Indian cricketer and represent the country at the highest level was always a dream I cherished as a youngster. My eventful career has witnessed many ups and downs. Over a period of time, I have realised that the legacy of a sportsperson is not just the outcome of his hard work and dedication, but also the faith and guidance bestowed upon by the association (team management), teammates, coaches, trainers, and the fans.”
Ojha played 24 Tests, 18 ODIs and 6 T20Is, claiming 113, 21 and 10 wickets respectively.
10. Shane Watson: Curtains fall on a glorious career
Having announced his retirement from international cricket in 2016, prolific Australian all-rounder Shane Watson decided to hang his boots as a professional cricketer in November after a poor IPL stint with Chennai Super Kings.
In a video posted on his Twitter handle, Watson announced:
“It all started as a dream as a young kid saying to my Mum, as I watched a Test match, that I want to play for Australia. Now as I officially announce my retirement from all cricket I feel crazily lucky to live my dream.”
Watson scored 3874 runs in 145 IPL matches with four hundreds and 21 fifties. He also picked up 92 wickets.Published 27 Dec 2020, 08:16 IST