Indian cricket fans have seen a number of stalwarts retire in recent years without getting a proper farewell game. Indian fans are arguably the most emotional fans in world cricket and they have gone used to seeing their cricketing heroes play their last game, usually on home soil before they walk into the sunset of retirement.
Give Retired Players A Chance To Say Goodbye
MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina recently retired from international cricket by announcing their retirement on social media. There was no final game taking place in front of a packed out arena and no Sachin Tendulkar like moment where the team carried him on their shoulders and paraded him around the ground. There was no guard of honour given by the opposing team to mark Dhoni or Raina’s last walk to the crease.
It’s not just Dhoni or Raina who have not experienced a retirement on the cricket pitch. Veteran players like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan have also retired from the game without saying a proper goodbye to their fans.
Irfan Pathan believes one of the reasons for this is because the BCCI has not done a good job in managing the final part of the career’s of these players. Pathan feels the BCCI should have given these players a pat on their shoulders and told them they were coming to the end of their careers. This would have allowed the players to announce their retirement and enjoy their final game in front of their fans.
By not managing their careers properly, most of these players were caught off-guard. They were dropped from the side and believed they could make a comeback to the squad for one last run. However, the BCCI had already closed the door on their careers and hence they were left out in the cold and finally had to call time on their careers.
Pathan believes that one way the BCCI can make amends for this is to stage a Farewell XI vs. Indian XI game that will allow all of these players to once again take the field and say goodbye in fitting style to the game and millions of fans. Pathan has proposed for a Farewell XI vs. Indian XI game to take place after the 2020 IPL. This will most likely be either a T20 game or a ODI game.
Farewell XI Squad
There are a number of players who did not get a chance to say a proper goodbye. The proposed Farewell squad includes veteran openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag who were once the best in the world. The number 3 and 4 positions will be filled by veterans and former teammates Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. The 5 and 6 positions will be filled by left-handers Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina. MS Dhoni will take the gloves and captain the side at number 7.
The bowlers will see all-rounders Ajit Agarakar and Irfan Pathan take the number 8 and 9 squad followed by Zaheer Khan at number 10. The final spot in the squad is between Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh.
TV Ratings Could Soar
Cricket fans have loved to witness games in the past between a World XI and the number one team in the world or a World XI vs. Asian XI side. There is no doubt that 1.2 billion Indian fans would love to see some of the legends of the game take on Virat Kohli and his boys in blue.
TV ratings are bound to go up for such a match and the funds from the game will go towards charity. The BCCI has a number of reasons to sanction this match but we will have to wait and see what the BCCI decides. Till then, we have the 2020 IPL to look forward to.