Cricketers who may have played their last World Cup

Father Time waits for no one and we look at five players who have probably played their last World Cup.

M. S. Dhoni

After captaining India to World Cup, World T20 and Champions Trophy victories, and scoring over 10,000 ODI runs, there’s little left for Dhoni to prove in international cricket. Ever since he retired from Test cricket in 2014, in sudden, dramatic fashion, there has been much speculation around his retirement from all forms of the game. Dhoni has remained silent on the matter himself but at 38, it is obvious that this is the wicket-keeper’s last World Cup. There has been much criticism over Dhoni’s perceived inability to score quickly in this World Cup but there is no doubt that with his experience and his calm head, he is still of great value to the side. “The respect will always be there because of the opportunities that he gave us and the faith that he showed in us and the way he’s handled the whole team in transition over so many years,” Virat Kohli said of him ahead of the semifinal. “When a person has done so much for the team you have to appreciate and acknowledge how he’s handled and taken the respect for Indian cricket so high all over the world. We are all very grateful for what he’s done for Indian cricket and for us.”

Lasith Malinga

 

With his dodgy knees and his declining pace, Lasith Malinga was, at one point, written off as a fast bowler. Ahead of the World Cup, the 35-year-old was sacked as captain and replaced by a man who hadn’t played an ODI in four years. But over the last few weeks, Malinga has shown that he is anything but a spent force. After delivering a crunch final over in Mumbai Indians’ Indian Premier League win over Chennai Super Kings in May, Malinga carried that form over to the World Cup, starring in Sri Lanka’s shock victory over England. He had a tough time against India but West Indies and Afghanistan suffered at his hands. Ahead of the Asia Cup in September 2018, many wondered if Malinga would be in Sri Lanka’s World Cup squad at all, for he had not played an ODI in 12 months. But the right-arm quick used the showpiece tournament as motivation to regain form and fitness. Malinga has announced that he has played his last World Cup; he is expected to retire from ODIs shortly.

Chris Gayle

 

If Chris Gayle was hoping for a grand farewell on the big stage, he will have been disappointed. The Universe Boss endured a tepid World Cup, scoring only two half-centuries and generally failing to set the tournament on fire as West Indies failed to advance to the knockouts. Having suggested in February that he would retire from ODI cricket after the World Cup, Gayle sprang a surprise during the tournament, stating that the home series against India would be his last. “I may play a Test match against India and then I will definitely play the ODIs against India. I won’t play the T20s,” he said, cheerfully including himself in the squad. At any rate, his World Cup journey is over. The 39-year-old has played in five World Cups, having entertained fans no end over the years. International cricket will be poorer for his absence.

Imran Tahir

 

Since his debut in 2011, no spinner has taken more wickets in ODIs than Imran Tahir. Lahore-born Tahir has evolved into one of the finest white-ball bowlers in world cricket over the last decade. He was the fastest South African to 100 ODI wickets (58 matches); no other spinner from the country has even got to three figures. He will go down as South Africa’s best spin bowler of all time. The 40-year-old has retired from ODIs with the end of South Africa’s World Cup campaign. He finishes with 173 ODI wickets, at an average of 24.83 and a remarkable economy rate of 4.65. Tahir gave the pace-heavy South African attack a new dimension, his flat, fast leg-spin providing vital breakthroughs when the team needed them. Fans will miss his trademark celebration: sprinting unstoppably into the distance, arms outstretched, hair flapping in the wind.

Hashim Amla

 

Hashim Amla’s World Cup call-up came as a surprise, considering his indifferent form in all formats in the lead-up to the tournament. The veteran opener didn’t pull up any trees, scoring only two fifties as South Africa limped out of the World Cup. Amla has not spoken of retiring yet, but at 36, this is certainly his last World Cup. The South African has been a force in Test cricket, but his achievements in white-ball cricket must not be forgotten. He has over 8,000 ODI runs at an average nearing 50, and at a strike rate of 88. He has 27 one-day hundreds to his name, the most by a South African. Amla has been a phenomenal one-day player, and — lest it be forgotten — was the fastest batsman to 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000 runs in ODI cricket. He is irreplaceable.