Nehra’s retirement was anticipated after he was omitted from the first T20Is against Australia. BCCI’s selection of drafting in Nehra for the T20I series was questionable as the 38-year-old veteran was not getting any younger and regular pacers – Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar – were doing a fantastic job, keeping Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav in the reserves.
During a press conference confirming his retirement, Nehra said, “It is always good to retire when people are asking why rather than why not.”
It serves as a valuable lesson for few 35-past cricketers who are in top fitness, but the buzz of retirement will be doing the rounds around them.
Let’s take a look at few cricketers who are next in queue for retirement.
MS Dhoni: Although coach Ravi Shastri has announced that Dhoni is automatic selection for the 2019 World Cup, the former Indian skipper knows he is walking on a thin line as knives will be out if he fails to perform. If he gets stuck in a rut and has a series of low scores, questions of retirement will keep hounding him as few talented keeper-batsmen such as Rishabh Pant, W Saha are waiting in the pipelines to grab the spot. But Dhoni knows he is in the twilight of his career and would look to choose the 2019 World Cup in England as his farewell tournament. But till then, Dhoni’s bat and keeping need to do all the talking.
Rangana Herath: The ageing star recently bowled Sri Lanka to a series win over Pakistan with a 16-wicket haul in the two-match Test series. With lack of better spinning options, Sri Lankan selectors would hope that Herath continues for some more time. But at 39, Herath is in the last phase of his career. He may continue for another season or so as long as his performances and fitness are up to the mark. But sooner or later, Herath will have to hang up his boots.
Marlon Samuels: He was once a devastating limited-overs player. But he is a pale shadow of his old self. He managed just 61 runs in 4 innings in the recently concluded ODI series in England. His struggles with the bat makes him a sorry picture. The only cricketer to score two fifties in two World T20 finals, Samuels would also be targetting 2019 World Cup finish. But closing in on 37, Samuels may call time in the longer and 50-overs format to prolong his career as a T20 player.
Chris Gayle: West Indies would like him to continue till at least the 2019 World Cup. But the 38-year-old ‘Universal Boss’ is more inclined towards T20 cricket where he plays for various franchisees across the cricketing world. With age catching up, Gayle may give the longer format and 50-overs a adieu to concentrate on his T20 career and become a freelance player for various domestic T20 tournaments.
Zulfiqar Babar: He was recalled to the Test squad last year against West Indies at 37. Although the chances of playing for Pakistan national team look bleak at the moment for Babar, trust Pakistan to do the unpredictable and recall the left-arm spinner. At the moment, Babar is busy playing domestic T20 tournaments. He may not need to announce retirement from international cricket as there is always hope for being recalled into the national squad even post 40. That’s how it works in Pakistan.