End of the road: which Test stars could be joining Indian great Sachin Tendulkar by deciding to call it quits next year?
Next year will be yet another busy one in the international calendar, however, it also threatens to be the final throes in the Test careers of five legends of the game.
In recent times, we have already seen the likes of Australia’s Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey, England’s Andrew Strauss and India’s VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar all decide to call time on their illustrious international careers.
And now likely to be joining those five stars in retirement in 2014 are these following luminaries…
Test debut: 1997
You get the distinct feeling that 2014 could very well be the last year that we see the great Sri Lankan in action, 17 years after the 36-year-old made his Test match bow against India in Colombo.
However, there is now very little left really for Jayawardene to achieve in the game, unless he wants to hang on to have one last crack at winning the World Cup in Australia in 2015.
Otherwise, the silky-smooth right-handed batsman from Colombo has already racked up over 10,000 Test runs, with 31 hundreds to his name, and could in all likelihood see his country’s tour of England next May as the perfect place and time in which to hang up his bat once and for all, by which point he will be 37.
Test debut: 1995
Just how much longer can the great all-rounder go on for? For one thing, Kallis made his Test-match debut way back in December 1995 against an England team containing the likes of Jack Russell, Richard Illingworth and Peter Martin for crying out loud!
And in the intervening 18-year period, there is nothing that the great man has not seen, done or achieved in the game apart from, that is, get his hands on the World Cup, despite featuring in five tournaments.
Meanwhile, the 38-year-old is still just under 3,000 runs away from overtaking Sachin Tendulkar at the very top of the Test match run-scoring chart, which is probably one of the few remaining landmarks left for the boy from Cape Town to achieve.
So do not be surprised at all if Kallis opts to suddenly call it quits at some point in 2014 as he nears his 40th birthday.
Test debut: 2008
While the ever-smiling Nottinghamshire spin bowler may only have been playing Test match cricket for the past five years, Swann was a late entry into the international arena and will already be 35 by the time Sri Lanka arrive in England for the start of next summer’s tour.
And given the fact the off-spinner has also been plagued by a chronic elbow problem of late which forced him home early from this year’s trip to New Zealand, it is hard really to envisage Swann remaining on the international treadmill much longer than the end of next year’s busy home series with both the Sri Lankans and India.
Especially when you consider that Swann will be past his 36th birthday by the time England are back in action in the Test arena following next summer’s subcontinental double header, while his recent form Down Under hardly bodes well for his future prospects either.
Test debut: 2001
The big-hitting and fast-scoring opener’s last appearance for his country came in the second Test against Australia in Hyderabad back in March.
However, Viru has not been seen since and with Duncan Fletcher’s new youthful Indian team having been winning with great regularity in the veteran’s absence, coupled with the fact that the 35-year-old’s replacement, Shikhar Dhawan, has also been scoring bucketloads of runs at the top of the order, the writing now appears very much to be on the wall as far as Sehwag is concerned.
In fact, with his non-selection for India’s current tour of South Africa, it is almost certain that we have now seen the last of the Delhi-born batsman in the Test arena, with Sehwag sure to announce his retirement from the game at some point early next year.
Test debut: 1994
The little Guyanese just keeps on going strong, with the left-handed middle-order batsman having just finished his 151st Test against New Zealand in Dunedin.
And what is more, the 39-year-old’s form is also holding up too, but it is still remarkable to think that it will be 20 years ago in March that Shiv made his Test match debut alongside former West Indies greats such as Desmond Haynes, Richie Richardson, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh.
However, with now over 11,000 Test runs to his name and fast closing in on Brian Lara’s West Indies run-scoring record, next year could be a fitting way for Chanderpaul to finally bow out at the very top.