x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Muralitharan will lead long list of retirees post World Cup

Ahmed Rizvi makes a note of several illustrious cricketers - Tendulkar and Ponting among them - who could call it quits after World Cup.

The last World Cup in the Caribbean saw some of the biggest names in the game ride away into the sunset. Brian Lara, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Glenn McGrath and Stephen Fleming topped the list of farewells.

The upcoming tournament on the Indian sub-continent could also be a swansong for some of the world's best. Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lanka spin wizard, has already announced his decision to quit international cricket after the tournament, which starts in Dhaka on February 17.

The highest wicket-taker in both Test and 50-over cricket, with 800 and 517 victims respectively, will be making his fifth appearance at a World Cup. He was part of the team that won in 1996 and was a losing finalist in 2007.

Ricky Ponting, the Australia captain, will also be appearing at his fifth World Cup and will certainly be asked about his future. Ponting, 36, has won three consecutive tournaments - two of them as captain - after Australia finished runners-up to Sri Lanka in 1996.

Nobody can write off Australia's chances of winning a fourth in a row. That would be the perfect stage for Ponting to bid farewell.

Brett Lee, Ponting's injury-ravaged pace bowler, could also be on the list. Lee has featured in the last three games against England and will be hoping to stay fit and deliver his valediction speech with the winners' medal in Mumbai on April 2.

What about Paul Collingwood after his retirement from Test cricket? Or Sachin Tendulkar? Just the thought of that would be painful for the Indian fans.