5 Indian legends who didn’t get a farewell match
Ashish Nehra had the privilege to finish his career on a high on Wednesday, but few Indian cricketers never had the chance to bid adieu respectfully.
Published - Nov 2, 2017 6:23 pm | Updated - Nov 2, 2017 6:35 pm
All’s well that ends well! We’ve been listening to this saying from a long time and it’s hard to argue with that. Heath Ledger receiving an Oscar posthumously for his notorious cum diabolical portrayal of the Joker, Tendulkar finishing off on a high having all the accolades he ever wanted in his cabinet, Ross patching up with Rachel after all the “We were on a break” stuff, we all love fairytale endings and it makes us believe that life can be beautiful.
Well, not every time things finish on a good note. A talented young career which was bound to go a long way was cut short catastrophically when Phillip Hughes was hit by a bouncer and lost his life. Lionel Messi lost three big finals for Argentina in three consecutive years (Fifa WC 2014, Copa America 2015 and 2016) and contemplated retirement at one point, but maturity prevails in realizing life’s hard and we just have to move on.
Every sportsman dreams of finishing his career with a grand farewell game, with the guard of honors and the emotional speeches, but not everyone gets it. Ashish Nehra had the privilege to finish his career on a high on Wednesday, but few Indian cricketers never had the chance to say “Farewell” properly.
1. Sunil Gavaskar (1971 – 1987)
Yes, the farewell trend didn’t hit the cricketing shores back then. But for everything Sunil Gavaskar did for Indian cricket, he deserved a proper farewell. The first man on the planet to reach 10,000 Test runs, the third cricketer to play 100 Test matches, the immortal who went past Sir Donald Bradman’s 29 centuries tally, the river of records kept flooding during his era.
Yet, his last game for the country was against England in the 1987 World Cup. It was the Semifinal of the World Cup which didn’t finish on a great note and Gavaskar didn’t get selected again in the Indian side. Although he would’ve continued for a very short time after that, his career didn’t have a great finish. Nevertheless, the fans never stop cherishing the great moments the “Little Master” has provided.
2. Rahul Dravid (1996 – 2012)
Harsha Bhogle once described him as the “Wolf who lived for the pack”, and I don’t believe one can put it more perfectly. Rahul Dravid stood like a wall guarding the Indian side and few of the second-fiddle knocks he played will remain in people’s hearts forever. Whenever the side needed, he didn’t hesitate in turning a protagonist and no matter what he did, he excelled.
After all his selfless contributions, Dravid was dropped from the Indian side post his disastrous run in 2011. Sadly, one of the greatest batsmen to have ever graced the gentlemen’s game, announced his retirement with immediate effect in 2012. He came, he conquered, he won hearts, and left without asking for anything, typical Dravid!
3. Virender Sehwag (1999 – 2015)
It still hurts people that the Sultan of Multan never got a testimonial. In the final stages of his cricketing career, Virender Sehwag was nowhere close to his imperious and destructive best and slowly was turning a liability to the side. One of the uncrowned kings of Indian cricket, Sehwag was a fan favorite and not many deserved a farewell game more than him.
After playing the second Test against Australia in 2013 at Hyderabad, he was dropped and never got a callback again. After trying his best to get back, he finally chose to call off the majestic career in October 2015. Yet, Sehwag remains to be one of the greatest in the game’s history and his contributions will stay immortal.
4. VVS Laxman (1996 – 2012)
The Australian nightmare, the “Very Very Special” Laxman, played some unbelievable innings coming in at number 5 or 6. People often rate him as the greatest ever in that batting position as he managed to amass 8,781 runs without being a top order batsman. His love affair with the Kangaroos is something no one needs an introduction to and the way he troubled the Mighty Aussies speaks volumes of his stature.
Though it was fitting that his final International appearance was against Australia, he too was dropped from the side and eventually hung his boots after getting discarded. 2012 brought curtains to his amazing career and the Hyderabadi has been doing a fantastic job as a mentor for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL and as a Hindi commentator in Star Sports.
5. Zaheer Khan (2000 – 2015)
After Ashish Nehra’s farewell game against New Zealand, VVS Laxman recalled Zaheer Khan and Nehra as two of the most intelligent bowlers he worked with. Without a doubt, Zaheer was a gem of Indian cricket, who contributed every time when it mattered. Who can forget his exploits in the 2011 World Cup, where he was literally unplayable.
Injuries are an indispensable part of a fast bowlers life and not many cope with it well. Zaheer had a fair share of issues, but he always stood up and against all the odds, he returned to International cricket in 2013 and completed 300 Test wickets against South Africa. He was dropped after the New Zealand tour and in October 2015, he called it the day.