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The Best of 2017: 5 Top International cricketers who retired this year

When the amazing players whose journeys we've witnessed over the years, take the decision to hang up their boots, it makes us proud and yet, leaves us heartbroken at the same time.

Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan
Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan. (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

The life of a cricketer is nothing short of a challenging journey that begins the day he/she chooses to step out onto the field with the intention of dedicating his/her body and soul to the game. As memorable as individual milestones may be, two days figure significantly in a cricketer’s career timeline- the day he first dons his national team’s jersey and the day he makes his last walk back to the pavilion. 2017 saw several such walks from some stellar students of the game.

Player retirements in the game of cricket invoke amongst the fans of the sport a deep sadness and a plethora of emotions. Watching them bat or bowl for years establishes an invisible bond between us, the spectators and them, the embodiment of our very spirit. When such players take the decision to hang up their boots, it leaves their admirers proud and yet, heartbroken at the same time. 2017 was a year drenched in the tears of pride and sorrow at bidding adieu to quite a few amazing cricketers. Let’s take a look at the 5 top International cricketers who retired this year.

1. Shahid Afridi (Pakistan):

Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi, of Pakistan. (Photo by Jan Kruger-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

‘Boom Boom’ Afridi holds the keys to a million cricket lovers’ hearts. Many of us have grown up watching him smash those awe-inspiring boundaries at will and we know for a fact the terror he used to strike in the opposition’s hearts when he’d walk out to bat. Having made his debut as a 16-year old way back in 1996, Afridi was renowned for his swashbuckling hitting, bordering on eccentricity at times. He made headlines time and again for retiring multiple times and coming out of it at the snap of fingers, but this time around, it looks final!

Afridi has had an impeccable track record over the years, having played for Pakistan for close to two decades, Northamptonshire and Hampshire in County Cricket and in various T20 leagues like the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the recently concluded T10 Cricket League, where he picked up a hat-trick in the very first game.

The fiery bowling all-rounder has primarily been a limited-overs specialist, with 8064 runs and 395 scalps in 398 games alongside 1405 runs and 97 wickets in 98 T20Is. The 37-year-old chose to bow out of all forms of the game after scoring a sensational half-century for Peshawar Zalmi in the 2017 Pakistan Super League (PSL).

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