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Whatever Happened To Good Old Fashioned Retiring?

by achettup

It used to be that when a player felt he could no longer compete at the highest level, either due to the physical limitations age imposes or because he simply no longer had the same motivation, he would retire. It was that simple, really. The player asked himself, "Am I good enough to continue playing for my country?" and then decided for whatever reason that he couldn't anymore, and so retired.

Not anymore. Nowadays, retirements are all about making some statement or the other. If you do want to announce your retirement, you either do it in one format or two, to prolong your career in the other. Its like a caveat you need to add for feeling bad that you're walking away from the game. And of course some people simply can't walk away, even when they clearly are well past their best. In fact, they feel so bad about it that they dismiss all talk about the "r" word. Really.

And then there is the most common use of retirements today, employed mostly by ex-Pakistani skippers and the odd Bangladeshi. These "I'm retiring... for now... but I could be back... in fact, I'd like to be back... in fact only an idiot wouldn't *want* me back... but since you're all acting like idiots... I'm retiring and making you all look like bigger idiots, ha!" Younis Khan, Mohammed Yousuf, Shahid Afridi... often they end up captaining a series not much later and then they're sacked, rinse, cycle, repeat. We could probably classify these as neo-retirements (unfortunately not the TV channel).

Then we have the never-ending retirements. Players who just can't get enough of a farewell. I can't even remember the number of times Flintoff has announced his retirement at some different stage or the other. Or Ganguly. Or Muralitharan. Or Warne. At a test/ODI. Then in T20s. Then in first class cricket. Then in a T20 league. And all the same tributes get written all over again. I blame Steve Waugh for starting the glorious never-ending retirements.

The evolution of retirements from being an honest admission of not having it in you to continue to staging a protest or demanding a fitting farewell perhaps only competes with the change in quality of cricket bats.


straight point said...

format kinda retirement: it simply means that although the players have moved on with the times... we as fans/experts/pundits are still stuck in our cages where counting used to be done on walls...

blackmail kinda retirement: one word... in fact two words... pakistan cricket...

Anonymous said...

Very good article.

Retirements with Pakistan players are part of the ongoing interplayer and Association warfare.

I'm surprised the West Indies players haven't used that tactic more, though I think Shiv has come close.

Warne hasn't retired from anything. He'll still be hogging the limelight on twitter, showing up the Aus selectors with out-there picks that they are stupid enough to take as gospel and having a very public lovelife.
Cricket has felt secondary to all that since just before 2003 World Cup - his first big, if drug induced retirement - in all honesty.

Retirement is like an endless reality show for folks like Flintoff and Warne.

Farzi said...

Cant quite get the exact url, but this seems "inspired" by one of JRod's post at Cricket With Balls.

raj said...

Farzi, retirement is about the only word common to Jrod's post and this one. The events happened last week. Quite likely that more than one blogger gets inspired to write about it. As long as the structure and he sentences arent the same, it really is a coincidence.

P.S; Ache, see I am consistent about this issue(remember the bosey dispute? ;-) )