Predicting the Next 10 Great Cricketers to Play Their Last Test in England

Alex TelferFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2014

Predicting the Next 10 Great Cricketers to Play Their Last Test in England

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    Alastair Grant/Associated Press

    Was Sri Lanka's dramatic series win over England, secured on the penultimate ball of the Headingley Test, the last chance UK-based fans will get to see Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in action?

    The world of cricket has always showed great respect to its departing legends with their last appearances on the battlefield often proving to be memorable and emotional occasions.

    With that in mind, Bleacher Report takes a look into the crystal ball (or more precisely England's forthcoming tour schedule) to see which other international stars could soon be making their last Test appearances on British shores. 

    Catch them while you can folks!

1. Kumar Sangakkara

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    Alastair Grant/Associated Press

    Toured England with Sri Lanka in May and June of 2014

    As England have gathered from the 342 runs Kumar Sangakkara scored in just four innings this summer, the 36-year-old is currently the best batsman in the world. But will he play another Test in the UK again?

    The way the joint-sixth (with Mahela Jayawardene) highest run-scorer of all time batted in the first Test at Lord's, to ensure he got on the famous Honours Board for the first time, hints he might not be back.

    Although, with Sri Lanka scheduled to tour England once again in 2016, it might be too early to say we've seen the last of this gifted strokemaker.

2. Mahela Jayawardene

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    Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    Toured England with Sri Lanka in May and June of 2014

    The other half of Sri Lanka's run-machine duo is Mehela Jayawardene, and like Sangakkara, time is ticking on his long, successful, consistent career.

    And considering the next time his country are due to visit England, he'll be one year shy of his fifth decade, has Lord's witnessed its last classical Jayawardene cover drive?

3. MS Dhoni

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    Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

    India tour England from June to September of 2014

    Despite the grey hairs, it isn't purely that the years are catching up with MS Dhoni, but surely the pressure of captaining India across all formats of the game must be taking its toll.

    And given that the 33-year-old is the highest-paid cricketer in the world, primarily for his T20 abilities, it wouldn't be a major surprise if his country's five-Test tour of England this summer was his last visit...in the whites anyway.

4. Brendon McCullum

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    Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

    New Zealand tour England from May to June in 2015

    One of cricket's most destructive hitters, Brendon McCullum is the current New Zealand skipper and, barring an avalanche of bad results, is scheduled to lead his country on a tour of England in 2015.

    But with the Black Caps not scheduled to return for the foreseeable future, the wicketkeeper batsman will surely be plying his trade as a pure T20 mercenary by then.

5. Daniel Vettori

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    Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

    New Zealand tour England from May to June in 2015

    UK cricket fans may already have seen Daniel Vettori's last visit, but the bespectacled slow bowler hasn't technically retired from international duty.

    And with New Zealand's search for a Test match calibre spinner continuing, it isn't out of the question that the 35-year-old, if he stays fit, could be in the squad for one more tour of England next year.

6. Chris Rogers

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    Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

    Australia tour England from June to September in 2015

    Chris Rogers is enjoying an Indian summer to his career after finally getting an extended run in the Australian Test team and seems set to remain at the top of the order until at least next year's Ashes.

    But will the 36-year-old see a series in England, where he's spent a decade in county cricket churning out runs by the bucketload, as the perfect place to bow out in style? Most likely.

7. Mitchell Johnson

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    Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

    Australia tour England from June to September in 2015

    As long as he stays fit and in form, England's winter nemesis, Mitchell Johnson, will be eager to terrorise Alastair Cook and pals next summer when the Baggy Green's arrive for the another instalment of the Ashes. 

    But with the next scheduled Australian visit not due until 2019, the 32-year-old's high-impact action makes it extremely unlike he'll be present. So the Barmy Army might want to get warmed up for one last duel.

8. Michael Clarke

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    Gallo Images/Getty Images

    Australia tour England from June to September in 2015

    Given the slightly less strenuous physical requirements of his daily workload, Michael Clarke has more chance of making the 2019 Ashes than Mitchell Johnson, but Test captains don't tend to last for very long.

    Throw in a chronic reoccurring back injury and next summer could easily be the last time English fans get to cheer...or boo the prolific runmaker on his way to the wicket.

9. Saeed Ajmal

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Pakistan tour England from July to September in 2016

    Spinning maestro Saeed Ajmal came to Test cricket late but has taken 169 wickets in just 33 matches to firmly establish himself as the world's finest twirler.

    With slow bowler's careers tending to go on for longer than other players, there's no reason why the 36-year-old won't be on Pakistan's 2016 tour of England. Could the 2018 trip be a trip too far, though?

10. Chris Gayle

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    Arnulfo Franco/Associated Press

    West Indies tour England from April to May in 2017

    After completing his century of Test appearances recently against New Zealand will the 34-year-old Chris Gayle still be playing the sport's longest format in three years time?

    If so, then the powerful opener will get a warm response as usual from English crowds, but the Lord's pavilion windows could be in grave danger for the very last time.