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Top 10 probable retirements in 2016

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The year promises to be eventful, both on and off the field, with a plethora of marquee cricketers potentially deciding to hang up their boots.

2015 saw cricket aficionados across the world engulfed in melancholy as the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Michael Clarke and Virender Sehwag bid an emotional goodbye to the sport.

On a similar note, several high-profile retirements are expected throughout the coming year. Here are the ten most impactful players who could leave us glum-faced at the end of 2016 by bringing the curtains down on their remarkable careers.

(Age as of January 15, 2016)

Imran_Tahir_South_Africa_cricket10. Imran Tahir (36)

The sight of Imran Tahir setting off on a marathon run after outfoxing a batsman is one of the more enduring images associated with modern-day cricket.

Tahir is a prominent feature in the South African limited overs side with his vicious leg-breaks and accurate googlies. However, with the next 50-overs World Cup 3 years away, the Proteas would be looking to blood a younger spinning option which could force the Lahore-born cricketer to retire at the end of the ICC World T20 in April.

The journeyman's Test sojourn has already been brought to a screeching halt after falling down the pecking order to the off-spin duo of Dane Piedt and Simon Harmer.

 

Lasith_Malinga_Sri_Lanka_cricket9. Lasith Malinga (32)

Sri Lanka might have to do without those searing yorkers of Lasith Malinga, who is struggling to don the dark blue jersey after being ravaged by multiple injuries.

Reluctantly working towards regaining his fitness, Malinga's performances have deteriorated rapidly since the end of the previous T20 World Cup.

Though the emerging pace stocks in the island nation are limited, the curly-haired fast bowler could find it difficult to prolong his international limited overs career.

 

Shivnarine_Chanderpaul_West_Indies_cricket_WI8. Shivnarine Chanderpaul (41)

Often the saving grace in a notoriously fallible batting unit, Chanderpaul spent most of his career trying to carry West Indies to a competitive total in both Tests and ODIs.

In spite of this, the selectors chose to axe him from the setup in the aftermath of the England series after a noticeable slump.

Though he has expressed intent to stage an implausible comeback, only the official announcement regarding his departure remains.

 

Tillakaratne_Dilshan_Sri_Lanka_cricket7. Tillakaratne Dilshan (39)

Already depleted by the departure of iconic names such as Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews' agony will be aggravated when Tillakaratne Dilshan calls time on a noteworthy career.

Enterprising with the bat, wily with the ball and exuberant in the field, Dilshan has consistently given bustling starts at the top of the order.

Already retired from the longest format of the game, the former captain will look to end on a high by helping his team defend their World T20 title.

 

Shahid_Afridi_Pakistan_cricket6. Shahid Afridi (35)

Afridi, the face of Pakistan cricket for an extensive time period, has publicly announced that the ICC World T20 in India will be his last international outing.

The flamboyant all-rounder is an advertiser's delight in his hometown. Despite an unfulfilling Test career, his limited overs exploits have endeared him to the masses.

The T20I captain would want a final flourish with both bat and ball, thus leading his team to glory in a hostile environment. But knowing his penchant for revoking retirements, will 2016 actually be the end?

 

Rangana_Herath_Sri_Lanka_cricket.jpg5. Rangana Herath (37)

The portly left-arm spinner took over the mantle from the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan and has served his country with aplomb. He even played a pivotal role in Sri Lanka's inaugural Test win in South Africa.

Since then, he has consistently delivered impeccable spells and confounded numerous batsmen with a combination of relentlessness and control.

Recently, Herath has become inconsistent after his creaky legs started becoming his own nemesis. The arrival of a couple of prospective tweakers could hasten his retirement plans.

 

Misbah_ul_Haq_Pakistan_cricket4. Misbah-ul-Haq (41)

The sturdy leader inherited a disconsolate Pakistani team in the aftermath of the 2010 spot-fixing scandal and then proceeded to shape the crew in his own image. An inconsistent squad filled with flamboyant players was replaced with a resolute and successful Test outfit.

He propelled his country to number 2 in the Test rankings and led Pakistan to a historic ODI series victory in South Africa.

However, with his age catching up to him, Misbah could find himself struggling to adapt to a grueling 4-Test series in England as a sequence of away series looms.

 

Brendon_McCullum_New_Zealand_cricket3. Brendon McCullum (34)

Charismatic, optimistic and aggressive, Brendon McCullum has announced that he will call it a day at the end of New Zealand’s home Test series against Australia.

The swashbuckling batsman skippered New Zealand to their maiden appearance in the finals of the ICC World Cup in 2015. He also molded the Blackcaps into formidable performers in home conditions while being competitive in overseas games as well.

New Zealand will definitely miss the statesman-like McCullum, who remains the only Kiwi batsman to score a triple century in Tests.

 

MS_Dhoni_India_cricket2. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (34)

One of the most accomplished captains in the history of the sport, Dhoni retired from Tests at the end of 2014. Since then, he has spent his time rejuvenating himself and is looking fitter than ever.

As he has led India to success in every tournament imaginable, across all formats of the game, it remains to be seen whether the wicket-keeper batsman finds the motivation to retain his focus.

With Virat Kohli swiftly establishing himself as a strong leader, the Ranchi-born Dhoni could finish his stellar career with the forthcoming ICC World T20.

 

Dale_Steyn_South_Africa_Cricket1. Dale Steyn (32)

The South African pace spearhead has already registered his name amongst the game's greatest fast bowlers. With his astonishing control and searing out-swingers, Steyn has single-handedly defied non-responsive pitches to help the Proteas to numerous away victories.

But the lethal seam bowler is struggling to overcome a succession of career-threatening injuries. He has missed as many as five out of the previous seven Tests due to a torn hamstring.

It will indeed be a travesty if Steyn is forced to end his career in 2016. The World T20 remains his last shot at finally winning an ICC title. However, the signs are not encouraging even as the South Africans are undergoing a testing transition period.



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Ram Kumar is passionate about all sports, especially cricket. His favorite cricketers include Rahul...

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