Not all players are lucky enough to celebrate their last match at an international level, not all players realize that the time’s up to call it a day and not all cricketers can escape from forced retirement.
The past generation of Indian cricketers was a golden one. They let us enjoy the relief of winning a world cup after 28 years and inspired our childhoods when we thought ( at least once) of carving a career in sports and serving the country throughout. Some of these greats retired this year, some played their last match and some stepped down after being out of the circuit for long. But there are a few cricketers who never announced their retirement and don’t play international cricket. Five of those players are:
1) Harbhajan Singh:
The Turbanator is remembered for the lethal spin he induced to claim the toughest wickets in the opponent’s line up. Harbhajan is 39 years old and last played an international game in 2016 against UAE (Twenty20) but never called off officially. With 417 wickets in tests, Singh is second to Muralitharan in the charts of highest wickets as a spinner. He was also an active part of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad but after the world cup, in 2012 he started sidelining because of Ashwin and Jadeja’s form.
Bhajji will always be remembered for his hattrick against dominant Australia, for each of his 269 ODI wickets.
2) Irfan Pathan:
The younger Pathan brother was India’s ace all-rounder in the 2007 t20 World Cup. Nobody forgets his hattrick against Pakistan in the first over. Irfan is, in fact, younger than Mahendra Singh Dhoni 35 years old), but was sidelined after his swing faded away. Pathan last played an international match in 2012 which was a t20 against South Africa. He has claimed 100 test wickets and 173 in the 50 over format.
Pathan never announced his retirement but is seen in the commentary box quite often.
3) Yusuf Pathan:
The elder Pathan brother also features in this list. Yusuf made a reputation as a hard-hitting all-rounder in international cricket. Unlike Irfan, Yusuf is an off-spin bowler and is playing for Baroda in the Ranji trophy this year. It was the t20 world cup finals (2007) when Yusuf replaced an injured Virender Sehwag and started by hitting a six off Asif.
Yusuf has only 2 centuries in international cricket but both of them were more than awesome knocks. His part-time off-spin also helped the team in tough situations. Yusuf has been out of action since 2012 and should probably call it a great career now.
4) Robin Uthappa:
Uthappa’s career can be defined as a great wicketkeeper-batsman at the wrong time. The 37-year-old started his international career with an 86 run knock in Indore. He also took part in the 50 over World Cup in 2007. Robin’s technique and the variety of his shots attracted people but his career couldn’t last for long, internationally. In 2008, the emergence of a young Virat Kohli snatched the spotlight from Uthappa and he sidelined him. However, Uthappa played the 2014 series against Bangladesh where he failed.
5) Suresh Raina:
This is probably the most unexpected and the biggest name in this list but one has to agree that it has been long since Raina is absent in the international circuit. Only the IPL this year can give him a chance of playing the t20 world cup (his last probably). Raina needs no description, he has been India’s main man in his regular days. He players his last ODI match in 2018 against England and the left-handed batsman performed well but then the national selectors ignored him due to injuries. Raina needs to prove himself loudly or just leave the circuit with a quiet goodbye.