Statistics form an integral part of any sport. More so in cricket wherein individual performances often possess the power to overshadow their bearing on the result. For batsmen, the 50-run mark provides the median of something special. The joy of reaching three figures reverberates all around the arena even as spectators join in on the elation.
When a long-serving player hits the mid 30s, the inevitable question of retirement begins to follow him across the globe. While some have chosen to bid adieu only after ticking all possible boxes, there have also been quite a few great cricketers who retired despite being on the brink of significant career landmarks. Let us take a look at five such batting icons in reverse chronological order of their retirements.
During May 2018, AB de Villiers left everyone befuddled by announcing his retirement from all international cricket. With the all-important 2019 World Cup looming large on the horizon, the 34-year old’s decision to walk away left the Proteas’ plans in sudden disarray. Although they are yet to take the field since their star batsman’s retirement, South Africa face uncertain times in the 50-over format.
Since debuting against England at Bloemfontein in 2005, de Villiers played 228 ODIs in a memorable career across formats. He plundered 9577 runs at an impressive average of 53.50 and remarkable strike-rate of 101.09. If he had scored 433 more runs in the format, the dynamic right-hander would have become only the second South African batsman (after Jacques Kallis) to breach the 10,000-run mark.
Having retired from T20Is at the end of the 2014 World T20, Kumar Sangakkara subsequently revealed his intention to quit ODIs following the conclusion of the 2015 World Cup. The legendary left-hander, who kept getting better with age, reeled off a record four successive ODI centuries in the tournament. The quarterfinal defeat against South Africa, in which he top-scored for Sri Lanka with a gritty 45, was his last appearance in the format.