The Cricket World Cup in England and Wales will be the departure lounge for a host of South Africa’s marquee players. Imran Tahir and JP Duminy have already announced their formal retirement from one-day internationals after the World Cup, while there is every likelihood that Dale Steyn, captain Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla could follow suit.
However, it is not only the Proteas who will be bidding farewell to their veterans. Independent Media’s Zaahier Adams selects five players who are all set to say goodbye to the international 50-over game too.
1. Chris Gayle (West Indies)
Runs: 10 151 HS: 215 Ave: 38.16 100s: 25 50s: 51
Wickets: 165 BB: 5/46 Ave: 35.46 Eco: 4.78 5w: 1
The self-proclaimed “Universe Boss” may be to the young ones a T20 marauder, but Gayle, pictured, also boasts an ODI record that seats him at the main table in 50-overs cricket. He joined the exclusive 10 000-run club in the recent home series against England where he reminded everyone of the “Gayle-force”. Despite his advanced age – Gayle will be within touching distance of his 40th birthday at the World Cup – that limits his movement in the field and between the wickets, he still blasted 424 runs in four innings at a strike-rate of 134.17, which included the fastest half-century (19 deliveries) by a West Indies batsman in the history of this format. Gayle will be playing at his fifth World Cup and holds the record as the first batsman to strike a double century at the tournament four years ago. The World Cup is the perfect stage for a grand send off, and we all know just how much the big Jamaican loves the bright lights.
2. MS Dhoni (India)
Runs: 10 500 HS: 183* Ave: 50.72 100s: 6 50s: 33 Ct: 256 St: 38
Even the great Sachin Tendulkar would acknowledge that Dhoni – or more commonly just known as “MS” – is the most decorated Indian cricketer ever. The silver-haired wicket-keeper/batsman has won everything the limited-overs game has to offer, including the World Cup back in 2011. He continues to defy “Father Time” and silences his critics every time they begin to question whether emerging stars like Rishabh Pant should replace him in the Indian line-up. Dhoni is a finisher par excellence and once again showed his immense value in the recent IPL for his beloved Chennai Super Kings. His experience is invaluable to this Indian team and his mere presence will help deflect the spotlight from skipper Virat Kohli.
3. Shoaib Malik (Pakistan)
Runs: 7481 HS: 143 Ave: 35.12 100s: 9 50s: 44
Wickets: 156 BB: 4/19 Ave: 39.17 Eco: 4.65 5w: 0
Although Pakistan are likely to bid salaams to another 38-year-old veteran Mohammad Hafeez after the World Cup, Malik has confirmed that #CWC19 will his swansong. The all-rounder has enjoyed a new lease on life during the latter stages of his career and is desperate to complete the “ICC hat-trick” after already being part of the Pakistan squads that won the World T20 in 2009 and Champions Trophy in 2017. History is on his side too as both those tournament successes were achieved in the United Kingdom.
4. Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)
Wickets: 322 BB: 6/38 Ave: 29.03 Eco: 5.33 5w: 8
Having burst onto the scene at the 2007 World Cup with four wickets in four balls against SAa in the Caribbean, Malinga was an instant sensation due to his unique round-arm action and blond-tinted curly locks. It not only made him a household name, but also a millionaire with the Mumbai Indians. At 35, Malinga has endured his fair share of injuries. Knees, ankles and hamstrings they have all suffered the wear and tear of sending down the ball at speeds in excess of 140km/* for over a decade. This has obviously meant a reduction in pace, but like all great fast bowlers in the twilight of their careers Malinga has been able to transform himself into a clever bowler that now relies on off-cutters and slower-ball variations to deceive the batsmen.
5. Mashrafe Mortaza (Bangladesh)
Wickets: 262 BB: 6/26 Ave: 31.53 Eco: 4.90 5w: 1
Runs: 1752 HS: 51* Ave: 14.01 100s: 0 50s: 1
The long-time Bangladesh captain may only be 35, but his body is virtually 45 after a string of operations in the early part of his career. A genuine pace bowler in his prime – a first for Bangladesh – Mortaza has also developed into a canny operator in the latter stages of his career. Having led Bangladesh to the Champions Trophy semi-finals in the UK two years ago, there is definite belief that Mortaza may return as a hero to his crazed-cricket nation in a couple of months’ time.
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