Wednesday, May 22, 2019

ICC World Cup Swansongs ...

The ICC World Cup 2019 is 8 days away! It is every cricketers dream to not only represent their team at a World Cup, but to be a part of a World Cup winning team. For some, the dream comes true; but for many it remains just that... a dream.

This World Cup will be the last for a number of cricketers. Here is a look at those who will most likely be taking part in their last ever World Cup.


Shaun Marsh
Despite making his debut in 2008, this will be Shaun Marsh's first ever World Cup; and most likely his last too considering he will be close to 40 by 2023. He has represented Australia in 70 odd ODIs in over a decade and has been in and out of the team due to indifferent form. He goes into the World Cup as part of the defending champions team.

He may not be a sure starter in Australia's first XI, but he would definitely be looking forward to making the most of this first, and probably last opportunity.


MS Dhoni
Not only will this be Dhoni's last World Cup, at the age of 37, it may be the last we see of Dhoni as an international cricketer. He has had a distinguished career and is already a World Cup winner. This will be his 4th World Cup and from the lows of 2007 when he witnessed his house being stoned after India were knocked out of the World Cup in the group stages to the highs of 2011 when he led India to its second World Cup win, Dhoni has seen it all.

He will definitely be looking to sign off from India's international duties by adding another World Cup to his long list of achievements.


Ross Taylor
Also playing his 4th World Cup, Taylor will be 39 by the time of the next World Cup. He was part of the team that lost the final at the previous World Cup in 2015 and being New Zealand's most experience player, he would want to make that right the last time he represents his team in a World Cup.


Shoaib Malik
He is one of the only two cricketers who made their ODI debut in the previous century and are still playing. The other being Chris Gayle.

Despite playing for Pakistan for two decades, Malik has played only 3 World Cup matches, in 2007. For someone who has been around for so long, this would have been his 5th World Cup, but it is only his 2nd and definitely his last. He may still continue to play T20s for Pakistan, but this will be the last time he represents Pakistan in ODIs.

He will be looking to call time on his ODI career with a World Cup win, which will complete his ICC triple having been part of Pakistan's teams that won the ICC World T20 and ICC Champions Trophy.

Mohammad Hafeez
Hafeez has served Pakistan for 16 years and this World Cup is likely his last international assignment. He has been a great servant for Pakistan and has represented them in two previous World Cups in 2007 and 2011. He was part of the squad in 2015 as well but had to miss the World Cup due to injury.

Hafeez played a vital role in Pakistan's Champions Trophy win in 2017 and he will be looking to do the same during his swansong appearance for Pakistan.


Faf Du Plessis, JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir
At the ages of 34, 35, 36, 35, and 40 respectively, these 5 are unlikely to be part of South Africa's campaign in 2023. This also makes South Africa the team with the highest average age in this World Cup.

This quintet will try to achieve what none of their predecessors could. The likes of Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Graeme Smith, AB De Villiers and many more all left the game without a World Cup win. A dream that has remained elusive to South Africa, despite being one of the best, if not the best, ODI outfit during many a World Cup.


Lasith Malinga
He is at the tail end of his international career and this will surely be his last appearance for Sri Lanka in ODIs. This will be Malinga's 4th World Cup. He has represented Sri Lanka in two World Cup finals, in 2007 and 2011, both of which Sri Lanka lost. That will not be the memory he would want to go into retirement with.


Chris Gayle
The man, the universe boss, the legend! He is one of the greatest limited overs batsman of this era and at 39 this is the last time he will represent West Indies in international cricket. With this being his 5th World Cup, Gayle will be the most experienced World Cup cricketer over the next 6 weeks in the UK.

He has already made his intentions clear and he plans to retire from the game with a bang! We should expect no less from him given his recent form. He already has two World T20 wins under his belt and would love to end his international career with a World Cup win.

As all these stars bid adieu to the game at the end of World Cup 2019, there will be new stars that will emerge and make a name for themselves. Till that happens, here's hoping that all these cricketers can entertain us for one final time on the biggest cricketing stage there is.

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