With a final tip of the hat, a few cricketing greats may be saying goodbye to the biggest and most fought over world cricketing tournaments to ever be conducted – the ICC Cricket World Cup. Fighting valiantly to get their hands on the much coveted trophy, these sportsmen have given much more than their life to the game; and this year we shall see them fight for one final time, before they hang their boots and never return to the world stage. Let’s take a look at the players who may be playing their last ever World Cup tournament this year.
Boom Boom Afridi, as he is fondly called, has announced that he shall be retiring from one day cricket after this year’s cricket world cup. A world cup veteran who is participating for the fifth time in the tournament, Afridi has always been a great asset to the Pakistan team and one of the most useful all-rounders ever to have graced the game. His greatest contribution in the tournament came in the 2011 edition of the World Cup, where he notched up match-winning figures of 5-16 against Kenya. Keeping all rivalries aside, we’d be sad to see him go. So long Boom Boom!
This 35 year old explosive batsmen would be sorely missed not only for his powerful hitting of the ball, but also for his on and off field swagger, which remains unmatched to this day. Who can forget the Gangnam style dance he made so famous in the World T20? The sole anchor of a weakening West Indian team, the destructive batsmen blasted his way to the first double ton in a world cup this year, becoming the first non Indian batsman to have achieved the feat. Keep on dancing, Chris Gayle, for we shall miss you dearly!
Mahela Jaywardene, known for his stylish stroke play, is one of the most experienced players in the world cup this year. Participating in his fifth world cup, the 37 year old Sri Lankan great has till date played in a whopping 33 world cup matches. Our heart goes out to Mahela, who in spite of reaching the finals twice consecutively, couldn’t get his hands on the World Cup despite a memorable century in the final against India in 2011. A heartfelt goodbye to you, Mahela!
One of the world’s best wicket-keeper batsmen, Kumar Sangakkara is playing his fourth world cup tournament this year and is most likely to leave the game later. A pillar of strength for Sri Lanka, this 37 year old cricketer made his most notable contribution in the 2011 world cup where he amassed 465 runs throughout the tournament, thus showcasing his excellent consistency. Au revoir, Kumar!
A veteran of 16 matches and four world cups, Younis Khan is the second most experienced cricketer after Afridi in the Pakistan team. The oldest member of the team at 37 years of age, this batting great is probably playing his last world cup. His most notable performances include two half centuries versus Sri Lanka and Kenya in 2011. Goodbye Younis!
Captain Cool has won it all, literally!!! Now 33 and playing his 3rd World Cup, this could very well be the last World Cup for him. Touted to be India’s most successful captain, under Dhoni’s leadership India was no.1 in all formats of the game. He has had a fairy-tale of a career and winning the World Cup second time could be an apt sending off him.
He’s been the spear-head of the English attack for a while now. Playing in his 4th World Cup Anderson has time and again performed consistently for England. He was instrumental in England’s victory in Ashes series of 2013. The King of Swing will surely be missed!!!
If there’s one name synonymous with New Zealand cricket it is Daniel Vettori. Having been around for almost 2 decades now, this 6ft 3in all-rounder has given it all for New Zealand. He is New Zealand’s leading wicket taker in ODI’s; playing in his 4th and possibly the last World Cup
Even though it’s pretty sad to see these legends leave the arena, one is content with the fact that these players contributed so much to the game. We sure hope the voids these cricketers leave behind are filled by sportsmen equally worthy of those positions, if not more.