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5 legendary cricketers who retired from the sport while being in their prime

Cricket is a sport that is kinder to athletes in their 30s compared to football and tennis. However, due to the steady deterioration of hand-eye coordination and fitness, all cricketers, particularly fast bowlers, have difficulty selecting when to stop playing.

Even legendary athletes who opted to leave the sport that had given them so much, like Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, who were well past their primes at the time, have noticed this pattern. However, a few fortunate athletes have managed to hang up their boots and do it with pride.

As the saying goes, it’s preferable to ask a cricket player why he retired as opposed to when he will. This article examines five legendary cricketers who left the game during their prime.

5. Brendon McCullum

5 legendary cricketers who retired from the sport while being in their prime
Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum. (Photo Source: Twitter)

One of the best athletes and leaders New Zealand has ever produced is Brendon McCullum. After leading his team to the 2015 World Cup final and retiring from all forms of international cricket in 2016, the powerful batsman.

McCullum was at his dominant best during the biggest tournament in cricket, including a breathtaking 77 off 25 against England. The former Kiwi captain appeared to be far from finished, despite the fact that his team lost to Australia’s neighbours at the very last hurdle.

To the surprise of cricket fans around the world, he did, however, reveal that he would be retiring at the end of the summer. McCullum made the fastest-ever Test hundred off just 54 balls in his final match against Australia in Christchurch, en route to a 79-ball 145 in the first innings. In the game’s longest format, he also set the record for the most sixes.

4. Glenn McGrath

5 legendary cricketers who retired from the sport while being in their prime
Glenn McGrath

Glenn McGrath. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Glenn McGrath, the only bowler on this list, has taken the fifth-most wickets in Test cricket and the seventh-most in ODI cricket. Amazingly, the pacer left the sport as well while he was at his best.

After Australia’s successful 2007 World Cup campaign, in which he took the most wickets with 26, McGrath announced his retirement from cricket. He was selected for the ICC World ODI XI of the year and was named Player of the Tournament.

The 50-year-old’s accuracy and consistency were at an all-time high, despite the fact that he dealt with injuries in the months before retiring. When McGrath decided to retire, he was in his late 30s, but he easily had another year or two left in him. Had he continued, he would have been one of the top bowlers for the Kangaroos.

He then played in the IPL for the Delhi Daredevils and started working for the MRF Pace Foundation.

3. Kumar Sangakkara

5 legendary cricketers who retired from the sport while being in their prime
Kumar Sangakkara

Kumar Sangakkara. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Perhaps Sri Lanka’s greatest batsman of all time is Kumar Sangakkara, and the nation’s cricket has fallen dramatically since his retirement. Following Sri Lanka’s victory against India in the 2014 T20 World Cup final, the stylish southpaw announced his retirement from Twenty20 international cricket.

The 2015 World Cup followed, and Sangakkara shattered numerous records there. The former captain of Sri Lanka scored 541 runs at a Bradman-like average of 108.0 to finish second in the competition. He also scored four (count ’em, four!) straight centuries during that World Cup.

Sangakkara left the longest format of the game after a series against India not long after his nation’s heartbreaking quarterfinal defeat. His countrymen and the board begged the 42-year-old to think twice, but he turned a deaf ear to their pleas.

Currently, Sangakkara is the MCC’s president.

2. Sourav Ganguly

5 legendary cricketers who retired from the sport while being in their prime
Sourav Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: BCCI)

One of the rare Indian cricket players to retire at the pinnacle, albeit not precisely on his terms, is the former captain Sourav Ganguly.

Dada played his final ODI for India in November 2007, and during that time he played 32 ODIs, averaging 44.28, amassing 1,240 runs and 12 fifty-pluses. Ganguly was the fifth-highest run scorer in the 50-over format in 2007, however due to his humiliating World Cup loss and Greg Chappell’s contentious presidency, he never again donned the national colours.

The Prince of Kolkata not only excelled in ODIs but also in the longest format of the game in 2007, earning a spot in the ICC Test XI thanks to his 1,106 runs at an average of 61.44, 3 centuries, and 4 fifties. Ganguly was reliable even in 2008, amassing 5 fifties and 1 hundred in 13 Tests.

Even if his final Test series wasn’t his finest, Ganguly almost appeared to have been driven out of the national team without much justification. The present BCCI President wasn’t nearly as unfit or slow as the media made him out to be, and he had much more to offer.

1. AB de Villiers

5 legendary cricketers who retired from the sport while being in their prime
AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The abrupt shock of AB de Villiers‘ international retirement has left cricket fans still reeling. De Villiers left the sport in 2018, despite being at the peak of his career in all three formats, citing fatigue and a lack of drive.

Mr. 360 averaged 52.18 in ODIs during his final season of international cricket, scoring 5 fifties and 2 hundreds en route to 835 runs. His format career high of 176 also occurred during this time against Bangladesh. De Villiers excelled even more in Test matches. He managed 7 fifties and 1 hundred, and his average was 53.15, 3 points higher than his career average.

The choice to abandon the Proteas before the 2019 World Cup (after their catastrophic campaign) was questioned by everyone. It has been suggested that the former South Africa skipper took the 2015 World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand a little too brutally.

Quinton de Kock, the captain of South Africa’s limited-overs team, has advocated for De Villiers’ comeback to international cricket for the T20 World Cup, but the tournament’s suspension due to the pandemic has put a wrench in the plans.

We may not see AB de Villiers again after his time with Royal Challengers Bangalore. He is one of cricket’s most talented players.

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