Thursday, June 2, 2011

Baap of all Cricket Retirements !

Why do I believe Pakistan Cricket has the ‘X-Factor’ ? Because they have the largest number of ‘Ex-Captains’ in their team.
Everyone seems to be in a hurry there; to retire, come back, retire again and come back again and then retire finally. Or do they ?
We have retirements, premature retirements, immature retirements and non-retirements. There are much awaited and anticipated retirements like that of Rahul Dravid. Then of course the extremely catastrophic event of the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar. The fear is looming large. Well of course, that should not be much of a problem if you are a Pakistan supporter.
So finally the day the whole world was fearing about has arrived. No, not Sachin’s retirement day. Not even the end of the world, but much larger and infinitely terrible tragedy. An end of an era or say any buffalo dung you like. Shahid Afridi has retired !
But that is old news, some might say. So we will twist it a little bit. Shahid Afridi has re-retired. Now, that sounds better. We can add more ‘re’s as we progress. But wait, has he re-come back ?
It would be unfair to talk only about Afridi. Cricket has evolved from being ‘Gentleman’s Game’ to ‘Mental Jam’s Game’. Everybody plays ‘Mental Games’. Sometimes games and very often just mental. Steve Waugh believed ‘Everything was fair in Cricket and War’. Ponting believed nothing was unfair in Cricket and Ashes.
But coming back to Afridi, what is he playing ? Game ? Mental Game ? Mental ? War or plain dumb ? Last heard he is contemplating return to Cricket. I swear on Ijaz’s Butt, Pakistan Cricket is a marvel like nothing before and nothing since.
A lot of discussion has already taken place on Afridi’s retirement. Enough and more has been said about this re-retirement. But how can I retire without my say ? So I decided to take a random look at retirements of our Cricketers from the past; distant and not so distant.
Don Bradman retired because ‘99.94 ain’t so bad‘. It in fact appears a lot sexier than 100 today.
Gary Sobers retired after he found out that he could no longer drive after drinking.
Geoffrey Boycott retired after proving to himself that he was technically a better batsman than Sunny Gavaskar.
Bishan Singh Bedi retired because the butterfly wasn’t able to float and the bee wasn’t stinging either as Zaheer Abbas and Miyandad made him look ordinary.
Sunny Gavaskar said, “Quit when people ask why rather than when”. He retired scoring a tragic 96 in his last test innings and a hundred and a duck in his last first class match. A man of his words.
Mohindar Amarnath retired after he was convinced that nobody will break his record of come-backs. The ‘Bunch of Jokers’ made his decision easier.
Dilip Vengsarkar retired after the stupid adjudicators gave Man of the Match award to Kapil Dev for taking 434 wickets. There of course was other reason. There was no test to be played at Lords in nearest future at that time.
Kapil Dev retired after Javagal Srinath threatened to retire and Richard Hadlee almost died of boredom waiting for his record to be broken.
Azaruddin retired because of ‘Maine match banaaya’. Today, he is playing a different innings in Indian Politics. He is an Iconfor the likes of Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamer, Ajay Jadeja and Sulman Butt. Politics on either side of Indo-Pak border will not suffer for want of Sportsman Spirit.
Kim Hughes retired in tears. A real tearful adieu !
Alan Border retired because he had scored more runs than Gavaskar.
Manoj Prabhakar was retired by Sanath Jayasuriya.
Ravi Shastri was tired down by his knee and retired by Indian crowds baying for blood.
Sanjay Majrekar was retired by his shoulders. After shouldering arms to all balls outside the off stump in a One day match in the 49th over, he developed a fixed shoulder deformity. He has since proved to be a much better commentator and blogger.
Miyandad retired like only he could; like a street fighter. He fought with opponents, Umpires, Dennis Lillee, Ian Botham, his mother in law and Zaheer Abbas before there was nobody left to fight.
Imran Khan retired because he became bigger than Pakistan Cricket and in one of the proudest moments in Pakistan Cricket, he forgot his team.
Clive Lloyd retired because he had nothing more to achieve as Captain and only a little more in him as batsman.
Vivian Richards retired because he saw the beginning of the end of Caribbean domination.
Richie Richardson retired because he seriously began to believe he was in the wrong team.
Brian Lara retired because nothing else was right and he was left handed and stranded all the time.
Steve Waugh retired because he couldn’t have continued for long without facing the risk of axe. He made ‘Retirements in Installments’ a fashion.
Inzamam ul Haq retired because there was no one left in entire Pakistan who was not run out by Inzy Bhai.
Courtney Walsh retired because people started taking advantage of his magnanimity and started running even before he marked his run up. Once a pair of Australian batsmen actually completed 2 runs before Walsh reached the bowling crease.
Shane Warne retired because 6 weeks of IPL was more lucrative than 1 year of ‘Baggy Green’. And he didn’t have to slog for ten and a half months. He retired from IPL because he wanted to badmouth a RCA Official in public.
Glen McGrath retired because Warne was retiring and he could no longer dare to predict 5-0 white wash without sounding silly.
Saurav Ganguly retired from International Cricket after scoring a double century because he was ‘once bitten, twice shy’. He retired from domestic Cricket and came back to help his team qualify and then re-retired. He again faced the axe in IPL. But the Tiger roared again in IPL-2011 and we are waiting for total retirement.
Younis Khan retired because he couldn’t handle the foul smelling posterior that heads Pakistan Cricket. He looks both tired and retired as of now.
Anil Kumble retired because the graceless Cricket fans in India wanted him to and anoint Dhoni the Captain. Why ? They want Dhoni to retire ! Kumble again retired from IPL because even the President of Karnataka State Cricket Association is not allowed to play Cricket in suits.
Muralidharan retired because 800 is a huge number and the ICC rules still don’t allow runners for fielders.
But no retirement or re-retirement is quite like that of Mohammad Yousuf / Yousuf Yohana. His was the first retirement that came with a clause and a comma. He retired for the time being ! Later he was re-retired by Selectors. Before that, he retired from his religion. With that he also took retirement from shaving. In between he retired from ICC Cricket and signed up for ICL Cricket. But even before it began, he retired from ICL and wanted to Captain Pakistan. Then he retired as Pakistan Captain and now we don’t know. Even he doesn’t know if he is retired or is on a come back trail or on a go back trail. Move over Afridi, Yusuf is the most retired man on earth. And his is the ‘Baap of all Cricket Retirements‘ !
Govind Raj Shenoy For DieHard Cricket Fans

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