In a sport that is being followed and worshipped like a religion in the nation, the Indian Cricket team is the undisputed ruler from past few years across all formats. The quality of cricketers the nation is currently producing is putting some serious pressure on the already practising players.
Recently veteran left-hander Gautam Gambhir announced his retirement with a heartfelt post: "The most difficult decisions are often taken with the heaviest of hearts. And with one heavy heart, I’ve decided to make an announcement that I’ve dreaded all my life."
Except for the captain Virat Kohli, India have a potential replacement of almost every player. In the last edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), many young talents emerged as the rising superstars such as Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Shivam Mavi.
Following Gambhir's retirement and the emergence of the young talent it is keeping some senior players on their toes, who are out of the national side from past few years and desperately seeking a return. The chances of a comeback, however, are looking slimmer day by day.
With the 2019 ICC World Cup just a few months away, here is the list of some senior players who should enjoy retirement now and stop pushing themselves to get back into the team.
1. Yuvraj Singh
The 2011 World Cup hero of India is undoubtedly the best all-rounder India had after legendary Kapil Dev. Yuvraj Singh clearly deserves a lot of credit for India's 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 ODI World Cup triumphs. Having said that, the warrior has lost his touch after fighting back from cancer.
Yuvraj is not at his prime now and some young talents have replaced him in the national side. The left-handed batsman has always been an extraordinary talent in the world cricket but now it is the right time for the star cricketer to hang up his boots. He just had a disastrous IPL season, in which he scored just 65 runs in eight matches.
2. Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan is surely one of the best off-spinners India ever had. For almost a decade (2000- 2010), he has been the pillar of Indian bowling unit in every format. The spin duo of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan have led India to various historical Test wins, including the 2001 Test match vs Australia at Eden Gardens, where Bhajji picked up a hat-trick and guided India to a path-breaking win.
The Turbanator was an integral part of India's 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 ODI World Cup win. But soon after the 2011 World Cup, his magic faded away and Ravichandran Ashwin replaced him in the national side. He has not found his place back in the Indian team from last few years and it's the right time for him to announce his retirement. The cherry on the cake for Harbhajan would be his successful IPL 2018 season at Chennai Super Kings, who emerged as the champions.
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3. Amit Mishra
Amit Mishra is one of the most complete leg spinners of India, though he didn't find his deserved place in the Indian side. Despite having a good track record in domestic cricket, the 35-year-old leggie struggled to be a permanent member of the Indian side in the era of the off-spinners.
Mishra has played 36 ODI matches for India, in which he picked up 64 wickets with an outstanding economy of 4.73, but the lack of opportunities has always been a case in his career. It is the right time for the senior player to call it a day as India move towards the 2018 Cricket World cup. There is very less probability that he will find his place in the team, considering the excellent form of current spinning duo Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
4. Yusuf Pathan
The 35-year-old all-rounder is known for his power-hitting game, which many people call as 'Pathan Power'. He is much underutilised by the Indian team management regarding his capabilities of hitting the ball out of the park. He made his debut for the national side in the final of the 2007 T20 World Cup and was also a part of 2011 ODI World Cup-winning side.
The current Indian side is only investing in the young talents for future and the ageing Pathan, who last played for India in March 2012, needs to announce his retirement.
5. Wasim Jaffer
Often regarded as Sachin Tendulkar of domestic cricket, Wasim Jaffer's records in first-class cricket are a class apart. We have not seen a glimpse of the stylish opener in international cricket for almost a decade and it might be time for him to hang up his boots. The Mumbai-born batsman has played 31 Test matches with 1944 runs into his account, but his stats in first-class cricket is quite invincible he scored 18428 runs 246 matches with 54 centuries.
There is absolutely no chance that Jaffer can now make a comeback in the Indian team at the age of 40, so he needs to give rest to his body and start a new chapter in life with retirement.