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ICC World T20: Big retirements on the cards

News18 logoNews18 11-03-2016
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The latest edition of the ICC World Twenty20 (WT20) may well turn out to be the swan song of many of stars who are in the twilight of their careers and would look to bow out in style in what could be their final hurrah.

With age catching up with them, speculations have been rife about several of the game’s greats calling it a day.

Topping the list is India’s very own ‘captain cool’ Mahendra Singh Dhoni, though the skipper always has a surprise up his sleeves by playing knocks like on the Asia Cup final (20* off 6 balls), which showed he is far from over. Known for his unconventional and destructive batting style, the 34-year-old, has won the hearts of the fans and pundits alike and with two World Cups in his kitty, he will surely go down in the cricket history as one of the best Indian captains who led the side with a panache.

Having already hung up his boots in the longest format of the game, it wouldn’t be a surprise but surely a heartbreak if the ‘best finisher in world’ decides to bid adieu to the game even as over a billion Indians wish him to take the final bow only after laying his hands on the coveted WT20 trophy for the second time.

Ever since his arrival on the scene 16 summers ago, the charismatic Yuvraj Singh has been a constant newsmaker be it on the field or off it. One of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball, the sight of the southpaw hitting six sixes off a hapless young Sturat Board shall forever remain etched in the minds of Indian cricket buffs.

Aleardy 34 and with a bevy of youngsters waiting in the ranks, time and age are surely catching up with Yuvraj.

Curtains may also come down on one of the most exciting Pakistani cricketers in world- the ‘forever young’ Shahid Afridi. Having served Pakistan cricket over the last two decades, the allrounder and also the highest wicket-taker in the shortest format of the game, has already retired from ODI and Test cricket.

And Afridi, 36, doffing the hat to his fans for the last time is almost confirmed as he had said last year that he would quit the game after the 2016 World Twenty20.

With an unusual but might effective round-arm action, he has been a batsman’s nightmare ever since he exploded on the pitch in 2004. This world cup may turn out to be the last act of one of the world’s most feared bowlers - Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga.

While the batsmen may appear happy on the prospect of not having to face him anymore in international cricket, the game surely will be left poorer if the 32-year-old toe-crusher, who can single-handedly change the course of a match, decides to call it quits.

At his age, many players of his ilk would prefer to hold a microphone and play the role of a TV commentator or mentor youngsters, but at the age of 37, Ashish Nehra continues to steam onto the popping-crease with the enthusiasm and energy of a youngster as the left-arm pacer from Delhi believes age is just a number.

However, with a long list of young and exciting pacers waiting in the wings, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the old warhorse bringing the curtains down on his career.

Australia's premier allrounder Shane Watson, may also join the list of the retirees. A fearsome hitter with the bat and equally adept with the ball, Watson, who is 34, has been a revelation in the shortest format the game, which is why Cricket Australia selectors recalled him to the T20 squad.

One of the 19 players featuring in the event for the sixth time, Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza, has already dropped hints about his retirement.

The first genuine fast bowler to emerge from Bangladesh, the 33-year-old has been a darling of cricket fans in his country since bursting onto the scene 15 years ago.

Slideshow: Crazy cricket records

Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan bats during the third day of the first test cricket match against India in Galle, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, July 20, 2010. Crazy cricket records

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