It is a new era in world cricket as many players retired in the past two years giving way to younger stars and budding captains. MS Dhoni recently announced his decision to step down from ODI and T20 captaincy, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene made way for younger talent and Misbah-ul-Haq is pondering retirement at the age of 42.
Just two years back, Graeme Smith, another very successful skipper retired as did Jacques Kallis. Michael Clarke gave way for Steven Smith and Mitchell Johnson announced his retirement to give Starc the mantle of leader of the attack.
Change is common in any sport. Old gives way to the new. But do memories ever vanish? NO.
Something of the old always stays or has an influence on the new. Take the example of Virat Kohli, who seems to have picked up a bit of calmness from MS Dhoni, or that of Faf du Plessis, whose captaincy style seems to have been inspired from Graeme Smith.
In such a context, it is worth noting that several modern cricketers have similarities to the older ones who left the game and many don't have. Interestingly, some of the greats of yesteryears have no one similar to their kind in the modern game. There may be umpteen reasons for it, including the lack of skills, change in trends, tightly packed schedules and many more unknown reasons.
Here, we take a look at six kinds of cricketers that are no longer that common in the modern game. The author also makes a feeble attempt at matching some modern cricketers to the kinds of cricketers categorised below.
#6 The Shoaib Akhtar kind
Shoaib Akhtar – the out and out fast bowler from Rawalpindi who set the world alight with his sheer pace. Who can forget the rip-roaring yorker to Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in Tests? The Pakistani was a cult figure in his prime.
All he had was raw pace. He broke the record for the fastest ball in the history of cricket and unsurprisingly, it still remains the quickest ball. Not many have graced the game with that kind of pace.
(Video Courtesy: Cricket Cut Piece YouTube Channel)
In the same era was Australiam, Brett Lee, who had similar pace and arguably, more success. But he wasn't quite Akhtar. The pace was present in the Australian, too, but what was missing was the marathon run up, the hype and expectancy created in every step of his run-up and the slingy action. Akhtar was a fast bowler who literally believed in the word, 'pace'. Sadly, the modern game has evolved such that teams require bowlers with more skills than just sheer pace.
Modern day cricketers closest to this category: Shaun Tait (Australia), Tymal Mills (England), Adam Milne (New Zealand)