Year-ender 2018: Biggest cricket retirements of the year

As 2018 draws to a close, a number of big names, some ambassadors of the game, bid adieu to the sport.

AB de Villiers

Arguable the best cricketer across all three formats, AB de Villiers caught everyone off guard when he announced his retirement from international cricket in May after a 14-year long career. De Villiers, who was given the epithet of ‘Mr 360’  after his mixture of flamboyant shots all around the park, holds the record for the fastest half-century (16 balls), century (31 balls) and 150 (64 balls) in ODIs. He is among the few batsmen who have topped the Test and 50-over rankings at the same time. In 114 Tests, he scored 8765 runs at an average of 50.66. In ODIs, he boasts an average of 53.50 scoring 9577 runs in 228 matches with 22 centuries. He finished as the fourth-highest run-scorer for South Africa. (ALSO READ: AB de Villiers: a career in numbers)

Alastair Cook

Among the nicest men to have graced the field, Alastair Cook couldn’t have asked for a better setting to retire. England sealed the series against India in September at the Oval. Cook scored a century in his final innings and walked off after playing 161 Tests, in which he has scored a whopping 12472 runs, an achievement he can be chuffed about. Leading England a record 59 times in Test cricket, including 24 wins, Cook will be remembered for his scores of 60 and 104 not out on his debut in Nagpur in 2006. His 766 runs and three centuries started as England won an Ashes series in Australia in 2010-11, the first time in 24 years. He captained England to a 2-1 victory in India the following winter. The 33-year-old Cook, who retired as the sixth-highest scorer in red-ball cricket, averages 45.35 in Tests and 36.40 in 92 ODIs. (ALSO READ: Alastair Cook: The analog man in a digital world)

Rangana Herath

Sri Lanka’s most successful bowler after Muttiah Muralitharan, Rangana Herath called it a day from the field after playing in the first Test against England in November at Galle. He picked up only one wicket, but that does not erase his phenomenal numbers in his illustrious career. Emerging out of the shadow of Muralitharan, the left-arm spinner played 71 matches and bagged 362 wickets at an average of 26.15. He picked up nine 10-wicket hauls in this period. With records galore, the 40-year-old Herath ended his career with jaw-dropping 433 wickets in 93 Tests; 398 of those wickets came after the age of 30.

Rangana Herath bowed out of international cricket with 433 Test wicket
Rangana Herath bowed out of international cricket with 433 Test wickets. @AFP

Gautam Gambhir

After sitting out of the national team for over two years – he last played a Test in 2016 against England at Rajkot – Gautam Gambhir announced his retirement from all formats of the game on December 4. The two-time World Cup-winning champion’s most notable knocks were the 97 off 122 that came in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka and, in 2007, he top-scored for India with a 54-ball 75 in the final of the inaugural ICC World T20I. Gambhir finished as highest run-getter of the tournament. The Delhi batsman also led Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders to two titles – in 2012 and 2014. (VIDEO: Gautam Gambhir announces retirement)

Morne Morkel

South Africa allrounder Morne Morkel’s retirement came as a surprise when he made the announcement in the last week of February ahead of the home series against Australia which the Proteas won 3-1 in April. Injury marred his final Test. Morkel, who cited strain on his family as the reason for his sudden retirement, left the field 40 minutes before lunch on the third morning but returned soon after and also spent the break between sessions testing if he could bowl again. The 33-year-old Morkel, who made his debut against India in 2006, retired with 309 Test wickets and finished fifth on the all-time South African Test wicket-takers list.

Dwayne Bravo

After falling out with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Dwayne Bravo, a consistent Twenty20 campaigner, called time on his international career in October. The 35-year-old Trinidadian hung up whites and maroon Windies uniform after playing 164 one-day internationals scoring 2,968 runs at an average of 25.36. In 40 Test matches, Bravo made 2200 runs with 13 half centuries and three centuries to his name. He claimed 86 wickets, including his best bowling figures of 6/55. His last appearance for West Indies came in a T20I match against Pakistan in September 2016.

The ODI in 2014 against India in Dharamsala was Bravo's last for West Indies. (Getty Image)
The ODI in 2014 against India in Dharamsala was Bravo’s last for West Indies. (Getty Image)

Grant Elliott

South Africa-born New Zealand allrounder Grant Elliott announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in August. Elliott, who made his debut in 2008 against England at Napier, has played only five Tests, but it will be his contribution in ODIs that he will be remembered for specially the six from the bowling of Dale Steyn to clinch New Zealand’s win over South Africa  in the semi-final of the 2015 World Cup. Elliott played 83 one-day internationals and scored 1976 runs, while in 17 Twenty20 internationals he has 171 runs to his name.

Niall O’Brien

Ireland wicketkeeper batsman Niall O’Brien announced his retirement from international cricket, bringing an end to a 16-year-long career. O’Brien, 36, is the second cricketer from the country to walk away from the game this year following Ed Joyce’s retirement in May. O’Brien retired having affected 133 international dismissals making him the country’s most successful wicketkeeper. In 103 ODIs for Ireland, the left-handed batsman scored 2581 international runs with a century and 18 fifties, which included a precious 72 against Pakistan in Ireland’s famous win during the 2007 World Cup that sent the 1992 World Champions crashing out of the tournament. He also played 30 T20Is, scoring 466 runs with one half-century and was part of Ireland’s maiden Test earlier this year against Pakistan where he tallied 18 runs across both innings.

Niall O'Brien scored 3065 runs at an average of 25.54. (Getty Image)
Niall O’Brien scored 3065 runs at an average of 25.54. (Getty Image)

John Hastings

Health issues forced Australian bowler John Hastings to retire from all formats in November after doctors warned him he could bleed to death while out in the middle. The 33-year-old, who made his ODI debut against India in 2010, has represented Australia across all three formats, but could not determine the cause of him coughing up blood whenever he bowls which forced him to end his career. He has played 29 ODIs and picked 42 wickets. The former Melbourne Stars captain has played one Test and and nine T20Is. He had signed with the Sydney Sixers for the upcoming Big Bash League season, but as fate had it, his career had to be cut short.

Isobel and Cecilia Joyce

Twins Cecelia and Isobel Joyce decided to retire from international cricket as Ireland’s campaign at the ICC Women’s World T20 came a winless close. As New Zealand Women thumped Ireland by eight wickets to bag a consolation win, Cecelia and Isobel announced their decision to the team in the dressing room after the game during a team hurdle.

In a career that began in July of 2001, Cecelia went on to play 57 ODIs and 43 T20Is for Ireland. In the 50-over format, Cecelia scored 1172 runs from 54 innings at an average of 23.44 with a highest of 78 not out. Her sister Isobel represented the country for the first time in 1999, and then played another 79 times in ODIs and on 55 occasions in T20Is, scoring 995 and 955 runs in the two formats respectively. Allrounder Isobel also picked up 33 T20I wickets.