Kumar Sangakkara retired after playing his last Test against India in August © AFP
Kumar Sangakkara retired after playing his last Test against India in August © AFP

The year 2015 witnessed many retirements across formats. Some of them were expected, while some took the world by surprise. As many as six Australian cricketers retired in at least one format, with most coming after their loss to England in The Ashes 2015. This was also the year when two of Sri Lanka’s heavyweights, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, retired from all formats. Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan were two other key players who retired from all formats. Pramod Ananth makes a playing XI of cricketers who retired from Tests this year. Yearender 2015: Playing XI of cricketers who retired from ODIs

Openers: Chris Rogers and Virender Sehwag will be apt to get things going for this team. While Rogers is a player who looks to get his eye in before playing his shots, Sehwag — with a Test strike rate of over 82 — gets a move on right from the first ball. Some players like to be cautious when they are nearing a milestone, but Sehwag more often than not gets there with a four or a six. Rogers in his 25 Tests proved to be a steady choice and built a formidable partnership with David Warner in the later stages of his career, while Sehwag will undeniably go down as one of the greatest openers in the history of Indian cricket.

Middle-order: Jonathan Trott may have had a lacklustre end to his Test career, but his record speaks for himself. Though his career virtually ended after The Ashes 2013 in Australia, he got another chance in West Indies this year before finally calling it a day. He will bat at No. 3 given his record there. Kumar Sangakkara played his final Test and ODI in 2015. His last Test appearance came against India at Colombo in August 2015. Meanwhile Michael Clarke too played his final Test at The Oval against England in the final match of The Ashes 2015. Fittingly, he led Australia to an innings win in that game, despite losing the series. Sangakkara and Clarke have a total of 21,043 Test runs between them, which include 66 centuries. That is a lot of runs are perhaps the best candidates to occupy Nos 4 and 5. Between the two, it is Clarke who has a better record as skipper, and more importantly he led Australia for a much longer time than Sangakkara did. This makes Clarke the ideal captain for this side as well. READ: Yearender 2015: Top 10 emerging players

Shane Watson is someone who could never reach his true potential in Tests, but out of the retired players, he is perhaps the best all-rounder. Watson retired prematurely after the first Ashes Test at Cardiff. Mitchell Marsh has since taken his place in the Australian side, and has done reasonably well so far. Coincidentally, the Cardiff Test also turned out to be the final appearance of Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. Haddin headed home as his daughter was ill, which meant that Peter Nevill got his Test debut. He has kept wickets for Australia ever since. Haddin did not get his place back despite making himself available for the final two Tests.  After Sangakkara and Clarke, Watson and Haddin will be the perfect duo to complete the middle-order.

Bowlers: Picking the bowlers was very easy. Former Indian spearhead Zaheer Khan will be the first choice to open bowling. With 311 wickets to his name, Zaheer was one of the main reasons for India’s resurgence in Tests across the world. A genuine swing bowler, Zaheer was a treat to watch when at his peak. Giving him support will be Australia’s Mitchell Johnson — fast, aggressive, and intimidating. Johnson’s aggression was virtually unmatched in world cricket, and he often troubled the batsmen with his pin-point short deliveries. READ: Yearender 2015: Top 10 debut performances across formats

Ryan Harris’ blossoming career came to an abrupt end after he suffered yet another knee injury just before The Ashes 2015. Australian selectors had huge expectations from Harris, but he just could not pull through one last time. Harris, with 113 wickets with an average of just over 23 and a strike rate a tad above 50, was one of Australia’s best contemporary pace bowlers. Glenn McGrath was the epitome of accuracy during his era, and Harris could easily be likened to him. On his day, Harris can run through an opposition just like he did against England at Perth in 2010 and South Africa at Cape Town in 2014.

Daniel Vettori completes the bowling line-up. Vettori was handed a debut when he was 18, and 18 years after that, he is hailed as perhaps the best spinner New Zealand have ever produced. A lot of things changed in New Zealand cricket, but Vettori hung on to his place in the squad and also led them briefly. He retired from all formats after ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, where New Zealand finished as runners-up to co-hosts Australia. Vettori picked up 362 wickets in Tests to go with his 4,531 runs. A batting average of 30 also made him one of the best all-rounders of his era. READ: Yearender 2015: Top 10 most thrilling ODIs

12th man: Dwayne Bravo played his last Test in 2010, but he waited five more years till he announced retirement. He, along with other players like Chris Gayle and lately Shivnarine Chanderpaul, have not been part of the Test team. Bravo and Gayle have been preferred only in limited-overs fixtures, while Chanderpaul has not even enjoyed that. However, Chanderpaul and Gayle are yet to announce their retirement, while Bravo did so.

An XI of cricketers who retired in 2015 (In batting order): Chris Rogers, Virender Sehwag, Jonathan Trott, Kumar Sangakkara, Michael Clarke (c), Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wk), Daniel Vettori, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Zaheer Khan.

12th man: Dwayne Bravo

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)