Most Indian cricket players of the past have usually followed the trend of announcing their retirement before their final few games. This allowed the BCCI and Team India to give them a fitting farewell and also for the fans to bid them an emotional goodbye.
Who can forget Sachin Tendulkar being carried on the shoulders of his teammates after his final game or Sourav Ganguly getting a standing ovation as he bid goodbye? However, some players in recent years have bucked that trend and chose to retire without getting the chance at a final game or a fitting farewell.
Why Did The Retirement Process Change?
Some of these players did not get a chance to play their final game because they were dropped from the squad due to poor performances and never selected again. Players like Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, and Suresh Raina always believed they had a few games left in them and could make a comeback.
That did not work out as the selectors decided to move on from these players, who were already at the end of their careers. They were forced to retire as they knew they would never play for India again. MS Dhoni could also fall in this category as there was talk of him playing the T20 World Cup in 2020 and then calling it time on his career. However, the COVID-19 situation saw the T20 World Cup being postponed to 2021, and Dhoni announcing his retirement on Instagram.
Give Ex-Players A Farewell XI Game
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren has called on the BCCI to pay honour to MS Dhoni, who hails from Jharkhand. CM Soren wants MS Dhoni to wear the blue jersey one last time and play a game in Jharkhand in front of his home fans. CM Soren made an emotional plea stating that millions of fans want to see MS Dhoni in blue again and show him the love they have for him one last time.
Irfan Pathan also believes it is fitting to give former players a fitting send-off. However, Pathan is not calling for an official ODI to take place but for a charity game between the current Indian team led by Virat Kohli and a Farewell XI. Pathan has called on the BCCI to make this happen once the 2020 IPL is finished.
The Farewell XI Squad
Pathan said that there was a long list of players who retired recently who the fans wanted to see one last time. Pathan said the BCCI could have done a better job in managing the careers of Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag better. He feels they should have been told that they were not going to be considered for selection from now on and given a chance to retire on the cricket field.
The former all-rounder said the Farewell XI would consist of one of India’s best opening pairs coming together for the last time. Virender Sehwag will open with Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid will take his spot at number 3. VVS Laxman will slot in at number 4 followed by the dynamic Yuvraj Singh at 5.
Suresh Raina, who recently retired with MS Dhoni, will come in at number 6, and MS Dhoni will captain the side and slot in at number 7. Pathan puts himself in at 8 as the all-rounder, followed by the bowlers. Ajit Agarkar will get a chance to say goodbye and come in at number 9, Zaheer Khan will come in at 10, and the final spot will go to Harbhajan Singh while left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha will slot in as the 12th man.
T20 or ODI Format?
There is no indication as to whether this Farewell XI vs. India XI game will be an ODI or a T20 game. The BCCI has also not answered CM Soren’s request to host a special game for Dhoni, nor was there an answer given to Pathan’s call for a Farwell XI game.
The BCCI currently has its hands full trying to get the 2020 IPL up and running successfully in the UAE. It is also interesting to note that players like Rahul Dravid, Zaheer Khan, and Ajit Agarkar have not made any remarks so far regarding the proposed farewell game.
Suppose the fans start putting pressure on social media and calling for a Farewell XI vs. India XI game during the next few weeks, the BCCI will be forced to reply and either put an end to the suggestion or get around to organizing this charity farewell game.