Goodbyes are always painful, be it bidding adieu to a job, person or emotion. When it comes to cricket, there is always a huge debate about the timing of retirement, for some think that it isn’t the right time to make the call while a few think the otherwise.
While many players make the decision when they are past their prime, there are some who make the call hastily, inspite of them being at the peak in their career. Cricket fanatics have been left shell shocked by witnessing this and somehow couldn’t comprehend the reason for the same. We look at 5 such cricketers, who called it quits early and could have very well carried themselves on in their career:
1. AB de Villiers
There can’t be a bigger name than him to say goodbye to the game early. ABD retired from all the formats of the game in 2018, citing fatigue and lack of motivation to carry on playing for the Proteas.
Surprisingly, de Villiers scored 5 fifties and 2 centuries, amassing 835 runs at an average of 52.18 in ODI cricket in the same year. His average was even better in the Test format in the same year, where he slammed 7 fifties and 1 century at an average of 53.15.
There was some whisper doing the rounds that the South African genius was deeply hurt and pained to see his country’s unfortunate exit from the 2015 World Cup, owing to a semi-final loss to New Zealand. Witnessing South Africa’s dismal show at 2019 World Cup, experts and fans were compelled to call out his name and suggest that it was his absence which saw the country endure a poor show at the tournament.
While we keep hearing news about his probable return to international cricket, nothing concrete has happened till date to believe it at the moment.
2. Kumar Sangakkara
The southpaw from Sri Lanka was the greatest of all time when it comes to cricket in the country. The elegant batsman retired from T20I cricket after the triumph at 2014 T20 World Cup, beating former champions, India comprehensively in the final and leaving the game with his head held high.
Then came his imperious run at the 2015 World Cup, where he smashed 4 consecutive centuries and finished the tournament as the second-highest run-scorer with 541 runs at a magnificent average of 108.2.
He soon bided adieu to Test cricket as well, after the second Test against India in 2015, where the hosts had to face an unlikely defeat. Given his purple patch with the bat, selectors and compatriots wanted him to carry on for much longer, but the legendary batsman was adamant on his decision and decided to stick with it.
It is needless to say that Sri Lanka hasn’t been the same after his departure and it is still in the building phase, searching for options, who could carry the rich legacy forward.
3. Brendon McCullum
One of the fierce and aggressive batsman of the modern era, McCullum has earned several accolades for his country. He was the chief destructor at the top of the order, who provided flying starts to his team come any opposition.
McCullum announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in 2016, after leading his team to the final of 2015 ODI World Cup. In his final Test against Australia at Christchurch, McCullum slammed the fastest-ever Test hundred off just 54 balls, finishing his innings at 145 off just 79 balls. He also holds the record for the most number of sixes in the longest format of the game.
Unlike Sri Lanka, New Zealand have remained afloat even after his retirement, owing to the presence of modern-day greats like Williamson and Taylor, who are writing new chapters of glory with their immaculate batsmanship.
4. Suresh Raina
While the world was recovering from the shock of the retirement of one of India’s best skipper and finisher, MS Dhoni, this southpaw from Uttar Pradesh joined his friend and CSK skipper in the journey and himself said goodbye to the game which has made him the man we now know.
Raina did play a few Test matches for India, but it was the limited-overs cricket where he made it big and came out as a strong option in the middle order. In 226 ODIs, Raina amassed 5615 runs at an average of 35.31 and an impressive strike rate of 93.51. While in the 78 T20Is, the flamboyant batsman mustered 1604 runs at an average of 29.16 and strike rate of 134.79.
The batsman had found it difficult to maintain his place after Dhoni gave away his captaincy and had been in and out of the side. It is this inconsistency to feature in the national squad and loss of faith with the selectors that might have prompted Raina to make the tough call and call it quits.
5. Glenn McGrath
Arguably, the best bowler in the Australian set-up to have played the game, McGrath ended his career as the fifth-highest and seventh-highest wicket-taker in the Test and ODI format respectively. McGrath walked away from the sport after Australia’s successful campaign at the 2007 ODI Word Cup.
Surprisingly, he finished as the highest wicket-taker in the tournament with a tally of 26 and made the batsmen dance to his tune. His fabulous performance throughout saw him win the Man of the Tournament award and inclusion in the ICC World ODI XI of the year.
Called as ‘Pigeon’ for his uncharacteristically long legs, McGrath did have his own share of troubles with injuries just as every other fast bowler faces in his career. Many speculated it to be the reason for his departure from the game, inspite of being at the peak of his career.
Australia did produce plenty of world-renowned fast bowlers after his retirement, but it has been difficult for them to match the undeniable consistency and accuracy of McGrath, who indeed belongs to the league of superstars.