After contributing a huge portion of life to cricket and serving the nation each cricketing legend deserves a farewell match. A match that would give the fans a proper chance to show their respect to their heroes. But not all cricketers are fortunate to get a farewell match.
Situations have often influenced some of the legends to take sudden action on one fine day. There are many such cricketers around the globe who have not received a farewell match. We are listing down such five Indian greats whom fans still miss and who deserved a proper stage to bid adieu.
Rahul Dravid is arguably the most reliable bat Indian cricket has ever witnessed. Famously known as ‘The Wall’, Rahul Dravid is truly that ‘wolf who lived for the pack’. Rahul Dravid scored 23,208 runs across all the formats in his sixteen years of career. Although he was the second Indian batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to score 10000 runs both in ODI and test, Dravid wasn’t a conventional limited over batsman. When he was dropped in 2009, not a lot hoped for his comeback. But surprisingly he was recalled in ODI in 2011 against England. He decided to retire after the series from ODI. After a successful stint in England test series and a not so great performance during the 2011-12 tour of Australia, Dravid announced his retirement from international and domestic cricket in March 2012. It was such a sudden call that Indian cricket couldn’t bid goodbye to its most dependable son.
The very very special artist of Indian cricket who has been a nightmare to Australia for his entire career is one of the unsung heroes of Indian cricket. VVS Laxman played some match-saving innings at number 5 or 6 positions which eventually helped India to win the matches. His heroic 281 at Eden Gardens is one of those moments that took Indian cricket to another level. He was not an ODI specialist but managed to score 8,781 test runs without being a top order batsman. Although he was a threat to the yellow army, Laxman didn’t have a memorable tour of Australia during 2011-12. He eventually retired from cricket after the tour and Laxman’s last match was the same as Dravid’s, against Australia at Adelaide in Jan 2012. Indian cricket is still in search for the most suitable replacement of VVS Laxman at number 6 position.
The Sultan of Multan, Virender Sehwag also never got any farewell match. The Hyderabad test match against Australia in 2013 was the last test match played by Sehwag. He was one of the most destructive batsmen who never really cared for any grammar book cricket. He played only the way he wanted to. But this nature of Viru didn’t stop him doing extremely well even in test cricket. He scored 8586 test runs at a strike rate of 82 which is even difficult to achieve in limited overs cricket. He was the first Indian batsman to record a triple hundred in test cricket. During India’s tour to Pakistan in 2006 Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid almost broke the opening partnership world record of Vinu Mankad and Pankaj Roy (413) but Sehwag got out for 254. Dravid mentioned in an interview how it was impossible to ask Sehwag to bat carefully just for the record whereas he reached that 254 with his own ‘careless’ batting style. This careless attitude is what made Sehwag special and this is exactly why the Indian cricket fans still miss the Delhi guy.
One of the most skilled Indian fast bowlers of all time, Zaheer Khan had everything in his stock from yorker to inswinger. His bowling troubled many cricket legends like Graeme Smith and Kumar Sangakkara. He achieved the feat of 300 test wickets against South Africa in 2013 by picking up Jacque Kallis. During 2011 world cup Zaheer was India’s trump card and finished the tournament as the joint highest wicket-taker with Shahid Afridi with 21 scalps. But being a fast bowler the injuries never spared him. Zaheer had his issues too but he kept on trying and made comebacks against all the odds. He played his last test against New Zealand in 2014 and was dropped after the New Zealand tour. He didn’t take much time and immediately called it off on 15th October 2015.
Gautam Gambhir is the recent one to join the league who definitely deserved a farewell match. After 15 years of international cricket for India, Gambhir scored 4154 runs in 58 test matches and 5238 runs in 147 one day matches. He was probably the most balanced batsman of Indian cricket. He could produce aggressive shots whereas he was capable of showing class and consistency at the same time. He was dropped from the team before the 2007 World Cup. But months after that he took the charge of India’s batting in twenty 20 world cup in the same year and won it for India after a crucial 75 runs from 54 balls in the finale. He finished as the second highest run-getter with 227 runs and three fifties. Life took a full circle when Gautam Gambhir became one of the reasons behind the world cup triumph of India in 2011 and scored a blistering 97 in the final against Sri Lanka. He kept on proving himself whenever he got an opportunity. He has been that warrior of Indian cricket who kept on serving the team silently whenever he was asked for.