For cricketers, every World Cup is a milestone. As boys and girls, they dream of playing at the highest stage, and before the end of his/her career, they would like to have at least one World Cup medal. Almost every cricketer plans his/her career based on World Cups. Hence, we usually see many of them bidding adieu to the game after participating in a World Cup.
The T20 World Cup which was scheduled to happen in 2020 was pushed to 2021 owing to the COVID-19 situation. There are quite a few players who could retire after participating in this tournament. We list six of them in this article.
1. Dale Steyn
South African speedster Dale Steyn has already pulled out from IPL 2021. He is also out of the South African setup across formats. Moreover, Steyn is going through a rough patch in his career. This could be linked to his age and therefore, the legend could take a call in the coming days. He might target the 2021 WC as his last assignment and could hang up his boots after the tournament.
2. Lasith Malinga
While Gayle is the poster-boy with the bat, Lasith Malinga has taken responsibility with the ball. He is someone who pioneered the art of bowling in the T20 format. Over the years, despite many players coming with loads of tricks and trades, Malinga has been able to maintain his reputation. That said, the last few years have not been too good for the Sri Lankan. It has been the recurring injuries that have plagued his playing time. Hence, Malinga could arrive at the crucial decision in the coming months. We feel the T20 World Cup in 2021 could be his last project as a player.
3. Imran Tahir
2021 T20 World Cup could be the final tournament that Imran Tahir participates in. However, even that rides on whether South Africa would pick him for the showpiece event. Anyways, the Pakistan-born cricketer might bide his time until the end of the World Cup. A 40+ player, the CSK man has been a fine contributor for South African cricket. He has also done well for the franchises he has represented across the globe. However, his form is dropping, and intensity is missing too. Therefore, we feel he could hang up his boots this year.
4. Mohammad Hafeez
A long server of Pakistan cricket, Mohammad Hafeez could retire from the T20 format after the World Cup. Pakistan might struggle as Hafeez was their run-scorer in the T20 format in 2020. In fact, Hafeez’s T20 runs were the highest across the globe last year. Not to forget, the player is also a fine asset with the ball. He can roll the arm whenever needed, and even has a knack for breaking crucial partnerships. Pakistan could stand to lose all of this if Hafeez decides that ICC T20 World Cup 2020 will be his last task.
5. Shoaib Malik
Shoaib Malik is only active in the T20 format at the moment. Despite being at the highest level forever, the Pakistani all-rounder is still a fine cricketer. His fitness is also a good example for the youngsters and even for fellow Pakistani cricketers. For the player, winning the World Cup could be the ultimate dream. A sincere servant of his nation, Malik could bring out his best at the event. All said and done, the tournament could also mark his last appearance at the highest level. Pakistan Cricket is evoluting and they might not stick with Malik after the World Cup.
6. Ross Taylor
It is so disappointing that Ross Taylor hardly gets his due in international cricket. He consistently scores runs for his team but very often gets overshadowed. That said, New Zealand Cricket is aware of his importance and will surely have him in the upcoming critical tournaments. T20 World Cup is the next big event, but that could be Taylor’s last project with the Kiwis. He is aging, and with the team likely to prepare for the upcoming World Cups, Ross Taylor could retire from the game. Taylor is a fine reader of the game and could explore a role in cricket management.