The year 2018 brought us a lot of exciting moments. Howbeit, alongside some cherishing bits, this year we also witnessed some of the cricketing greats hanging their boots once and for all. It seemed as if an era ended as we saw a lot of cricketers retiring from the early 2000s who once were the face of modern-day cricket. The list also includes a few Indiancricketers.
Gautam Gambhir, S Badrinath, Praveen Kumar, and Mohammad Kaif are some of the Indian players who considered retirement this year. Thus, having considered the retired players from 2018, we will try and churn out a competitive playing XI that can turn out to be a real deal for the other teams all over the world. Here, we bring you the best-retired XI compiled from the players who called it a day in the year 2018.
1. Gautam Gambhir (India)
The latest addition to the list is Gautam Gambhir – the man behind India’s two World Cup wins. The left-handed Delhite announced his retirement from all the forms of cricket on 3rd December. The left-handed batsman made some vital contributions to the Indian team. Be it match-winning knocks in World Cups or match-saving knocks in Tests, Gambhir was always there for India. Besides, he also ended his career as the fourth-highest run-getter among the Indian left-handed batsmen in ODIs.
And in Tests, as the second-highest run-getter among the Indian left-handers. Gambhir played his last international match against England in November 2016. It was the first Test of England’s tour of India in 2016. The left-handed batsman couldn’t make the most of it as he scored 29 and 0 in the first and the second innings respectively. Gambhir, who for long had been away from international cricket, called it quits with the Ranji Trophy match against Andhra being his last competitive game.
Moreover, Gambhir also scored a stupendous century in the first innings of his farewell game which ended in a draw yesterday. The Delhite played 58 Tests, 147 ODIs, and 37 T20Is for India. In 58 Tests, he notched-up 4154 runs at an excellent average of 41.95. Besides, he also amassed 5238 from 147 ODIs and 932 runs from 37 T20Is respectively. Thus, with exceptional records up his sleeve, Gambhir would be a definite in this playing XI as an opener.
2. Alastair Cook (England) (C)
Accompanying Gambhir would be Alastair Cook – the legendary left-handed batsman who also captained England in 59 Tests, and 69 ODIs. Cook bid adieu to international cricket with a Test century in his last Test and also became only the fifth batsman to hit a century in his debut and final Test. Cook notched-up a brilliant 71 in the 1st innings besides his 147 in the 2nd innings against India.
Having played his last international game against India, Chef played 161 Test, 92 ODI, and 4 T20Is. Although Cook didn’t relish stately T20I records, he had an overpowering Test and ODI record. Being a part of 161 Tests, Cook accumulated 12472 runs at an average of 45.35. Moreover, from 92 ODIs, the experienced campaigner racked up 3204 runs at an average of 36.40.
Accounting for the highest Test runs among the English batsmen – 12472 to be precise – Cook asks for a place in this XI. Cook also has an impressive captaincy record in Tests, and ODIs. He accounts for the second most number of wins as a captain, both in Tests (24) and ODIs (36). Thus, with such a prominent captaincy record, Alastair would be the one to captain the side as well.
3. Kevin Pietersen (England)
Kevin Pietersen was presumably the first player to announce his retirement in the year 2018. Pietersen left the game with majestic records up his sleeve across all the formats. The fiery batsman called it a day after playing his last competitive game in March 2018 which was for Quetta Gladiators against Islamabad United in PSL 2018.
For England, Pietersen finished as the fourth-highest run-getter in T20Is, fifth-highest run-getter in Tests, and sixth highest run-getter in ODIs. Pietersen played his last international game against Australia at Sydney in January 2014. It was also the final Test of the Ashes 2013-14.
Pietersen played 104 Tests, 136 ODIs, and 37 T20Is. From 104 Tests Tests, he scored 8181 runs at an average of 47.28. In addition to that, he also had 4440 ODI runs, and 1176 T20I runs against his name. Hence, with such impressive numbers, the Englishman would be an inevitable addition to this playing XI.
4. AB de Villiers (South Africa) (wk)
AB de Villiers, the South African batting legend, called it quits earlier this year in May. However, de Villiers didn’t retire from all forms of competitive cricket and announced himself fit to play domestic and franchise-based cricket. He bid farewell to international cricket with pretty remarkable aggregates. AB ended his international cricket tourney just at the stroke of 10,000 ODI runs.
AB de Villiers’ final international game came against South Africa in March this year. It was the fourth Test of Australia’s tour of South Africa which took place in Johannesburg. He also scored 69 and 6 in the first and the second innings of his final international game. AB de Villiers made vital contributions for South Africa. Mr. 360 played 114 Test, 228 ODIs, and 72 T20Is.
With decent T20I numbers, AB owned breathtaking Test and ODI records. De Villiers has 1672 T20I runs, 8765 Test runs, and 9577 ODI runs to his name. Thus, with an unsullied record in international cricket, de Villiers asks for a place in this playing XI. Moreover, with exceptional wicket-keeping skills, he will also be donning the wicket-keeping gloves for this team.
5. Mohammad Kaif (India)
To end the middle-order proceedings would be an athletic fielder from India – Mohammad Kaif. He hung up his boots in July this year. All through his career, Kaif wasn’t able to present his case as a legendary batsman. However, he did cover that up with vital middle-order and lower middle-order contributions with the bat and some outstanding displays in the fielding department.
Kaif’s last international game came way back in November 2006. It happened to be an ODI game against South Africa at Port Elizabeth in South Africa. It was a game to forget for Kaif as Loots Bosman ran him out at a score of 10. After that game, Kaif wasn’t called back to the Indian team. The outstanding fielder was a part of 13 Tests, and 125 ODIs for India. Kaif notched-up 624 runs in 13 Tests at an average of 32.84.
In addition to that, he amassed 2753 ODI runs at an average of 32.01 with two centuries and 17 fifties to his name. He also took 55 catches in ODI cricket. Thus, with an immense fielding ability and an able batting hand, Kaif happens to be a reliable addition to this playing XI.
6. Dwayne Bravo (West Indies)
Dwayne Bravo, an all-rounder from Trinidad, has been one of best all-rounders in the history of cricket. Recently, in October 2018, Bravo announced his retirement from international cricket (ODIs and T20Is). He had already retired from Tests in January 2015. Bravo played his last international back in September 2016. It was a T20I game against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi.
He had a pretty average game up against his sleeve as he was able to notch-up only 11 runs. Bravo didn’t shine with the ball as well. The all-rounder went wicketless in his final international game. Bravo made a name for himself in international cricket with his multi-dimensional skills. At 199 ODI wickets and 2968 runs, he stands as the third highest wicket-taker and twelfth most run-scorer for Windies in ODIs.
He has decent Test and T20I numbers as well. In 40 Tests, he amassed 2200 runs at an average of 31.42. He also took 86 Test wickets. Besides that, he played 66 T20Is and scored 1142 runs with 52 wickets to his name. Hence, with exceptional all-round abilities, Bravo would prove to be an impressive addition to this playing XI as an all-rounder.
7. RP Singh (India)
RP Singh, the Indian speedster, announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in September this year. The Rae Bareli-born bowler had a roller-coaster ride in international cricket. He testified both the highs and the lows. However, one thing that defined Rudra Pratap was his uncanny ability to swing the cherry in the air. His swinging traits happened to be his archetypal existence in international cricket. The left-handed bowler played his final international game against England in Cardiff in September 2011.
It happened to be an ODI game. Singh had an average game against England as he was able to scalp only one wicket after squandering 51 runs in seven overs. After the England tour, RP didn’t play any international match due to plummeting form and injuries. However, he continued to play domestic cricket. He played his final competitive match against Mumbai in Ranji Trophy 2017 finals with Gujarat as his base.
He made vital contributions in the finals as he scalped two wickets in both the innings and ended up on the winning side. Having played 14 Tests, 58 ODIs, and 10 T20Is, he accounted for 40, 69, and 15 wickets in all three formats respectively. Thus, with a decent bowling hand, Singh would find a place for himself in this team’s bowling department.
8. Praveen Kumar (India)
Another Indian bowler who put curtains on his career in 2018 is Praveen Kumar. All along his career, the medium-pace bowler from Meerut made swing his quintessential ability as he didn’t generate a lot of speed off the pitch. Having relied on pure air movement, Kumar succeeded in windy conditions. His best performance came in the CB Trophy 2008 in Australia where he scalped ten wickets in four matches.
He played his final international game in March 2012. It was a T20I game against South Africa in Johannesburg. He didn’t have an impressive end to his international career as he leaked 22 runs in two overs. He also failed to grab wickets in his final international game.
The medium-fast bowler played 6 Tests, 68 ODI, and 10 T20Is for India. In his career, Kumar scalped 27 Test wickets, 77 ODI wickets, and 8 T20I wickets. He also has an ODI fifty to his name. Hence, with impressive swinging abilities and decent numbers in his arsenal, Kumar will be a smart addition to this XI.
9. Munaf Patel (India)
Fifth Indian to feature in this playing XI is Munaf Patel. The Gujarati bowler called it a day in November 2018. Munaf, a significant part of the World Cup winning Indian team, came to fore as one of the quickest bowlers that India had ever produced.
Raw pace, consistent lines, and good seam movement made him a constant in the Indian bowling department. However, injuries turned out to be hurdles for him in the longer run. Nevertheless, he managed to survive in international cricket with vital contributions to the Indian team.
Interestingly, his final international game also happened to be the same as of RP Singh’s final one – against England in Cardiff in September 2011. Alike RP, Munaf also had a below average game as he failed to open his account with the ball. He played his final competitive match in May 2017 for Gujarat Lions against SRH in IPL 2017. He went wicketless in the game with the figures of 22 runs in three overs.
10. Morne Morkel (South Africa)
Morne Morkel, the lanky bowler from South Africa, hung up his boots in March this year. Morkel, all through his career, enjoyed a reputation of being a quick and intimidating fast bowler. He made his case stronger with an ability to generate good seam movement and craft extra bounce off the pitch.
Astonishingly, Morkel’s final international game was also the last international game for AB de Villiers. It was the fourth Test of Australia’s tour of South Africa. Although Morne didn’t have a fairytale ending to his career, he had a pretty decent finish as he grabbed three wickets in his last match.
The tall South African speedster played 86 Tests, 117 ODIs, and 44 T20Is. In Test cricket, he scalped 309 wickets which also include eight five-wicket hauls. In addition to that, he ended up with 188 ODI wickets and 47 T20I wickets.
He finished his international career as the fifth highest wicket-taker (309) for South Africa in Tests. Moreover, with 180 wickets for South Africa (8 wickets for Africa XI), he is the seventh highest wicket-taker for SA in ODIs. Thus, with such prominent numbers, Morkel would surely find a place in this playing XI.
11. Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka)
The only spinner to feature in this playing XI is Rangana Herath. The legendary Sri Lankanspinner bid adieu to international cricket in November this year. Owing to Muttiah Muralitharan’s exemplary contribution for Sri Lanka, Herath got the minimum number of chances to play for the island nation. Nevertheless, he made the most of the opportunities that he got.
Herath’s final international game came against England in November this year. It was the first Test of England’s tour of Sri Lanka. Herath bid goodbye to international cricket with three wickets to his name in the final game. However, Lanka ended up on the losing side in that game.
Herath was a part of 93 Tests, 71 ODIs, and 17 T20Is. In Test cricket, Herath grabbed 433 wickets with 34 five-wicket hauls to his name – the fifth highest for any player in Tests. In addition to that, he also took 74 ODI wickets and 18 T20I wickets with a five-wicket haul in the latter.
With 433 wickets, he ended as the second highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka in Tests. Moreover, he also finished as the eight highest wicket-taker in Tests. Hence, with stately numbers against his name, Rangana Herath will be a welcomed affair in this playing XI.
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