The timing of a cricketer’s retirement tends to sometimes govern how he is remembered – a badly timed retirement or an overly stretched career tends to leave a bad taste in the mouth of fans. The following five cricketers ensured that they left a lasting legacy by their well thought out exit plans.
The first bowler to snare 700 Test wickets, Warne, the legendary leg-spinner, retired as a 37 year old in 2007 after a stellar (and rather controversy-riddled) career. In his final series, the Ashes, he was at his absolute best, turning the ball a mile and making the England batsmen dance to his tunes, retiring on a high with an Ashes win.
One of Test cricket’s greatest batsmen, Dravid was a man of crisis for India for over 15 years, showing his mettle even as a 38-year-old on the England tour in 2011. A decent run in the home Tests that followed, but he became a walking wicket by the time the 2011-12 Australia tour came about. Not one to hang around longer than he should, Dravid departed with his head held high.
He might have not retired from LOIs, but Dhoni’s Test retirement, even though it surprised fans and critics alike, can be termed as a well-planned move. Having captained the team through the torrid 8-0 drubbing in 2011-12, Dhoni helped built a team that started to become a force at home, handing the reins to Virat Kohli in time to herald a new beginning
The colossus of Sri Lanka cricket, Sangakkara quit in 2015, not before a bumper World Cup which made people wonder if he ever should ever have announced his retirement. He continued for Surrey for a couple of more years, but timed his retirement in a way that he went out on a high, a year after Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup win.
There was a time when Cook was being considered to be the man to break Sachin’s Test records. While he did fall short of the magical tally, Cook did well to roar back to form after a dip in form, and his relinquishment of captaincy made several wonder about his future. He retired on his own terms after a dream end to his Test career, scoring a century against India at home.