Similar pattern in Lee, Strauss, Laxman and Dravid retirements
A number of cricketers that have been retiring from the game, and there is a similar pattern among established cricketers who decided to hang their boots this year. Their performances, of late, or the lack of it, was the most important contributing factor along with age for their decision to retire.
WHAT IS the most important reason for a cricketer retiring from the game? Reasons may be many, but along with age, injuries, personal reasons, it must be their performance, which is the deciding factor. It was only yesterday, 29 August 2012 that Andrew Strauss retired from all forms of cricket citing his poor batting form to be the main reason for his retirement. This year, has been a season of retirement with great players hanging their boots, such as Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Brett Lee and Andrew Strauss along with other cricketers. What is common between these players, when they decided to retire? None of these players finished their career on a high, as their recent performances, prior to retirement, were not upto the mark.
Andrew Strauss scored 124 runs in his last four Test matches that he played for England. He was not happy with his performance and rightly so. He has set very high standards for himself, as his batting average lies around 40, which is a good stat for any opener. He has been one of the best English openers playing crucial knocks for the team. But, when he realised that his performance was not up to his mark, he took this decision. Another bowler, Brett Lee who was engaged in strong battle with Strauss in the past also called it a day before many anticipated. His stats also reflect that his individual performance were dipping, where he only took three wickets in his last four ODI's. This is not the Brett Lee whom we know. He has a career bowling average of 23.36 in the ODIs. It was in the year 2008 that he had already played his last Test for Australia and he had played his last ODI on July 2012.
The two Indian batting stalwarts, VVS laxman and Rahul Dravid also just retired from the game, creating a huge hole in the Indian middle order. Their performances also like Brett and Andrew were showing a downward graph. Dravid played international cricket for 15 years, but his last few innings does not make him proud at all, as his score reads 9, 47, 1, 25 in his last two Test matches. He has been one of the most successful Indian batsmen to have ever played the game with a batting average of 52 in Tests. VVS Laxman also falls in the same bracket of class, but his last four innings score reflects a sorry tale reading 31, 0, 18 and 53 against his name. Prior to these matches also, he did not enjoy a good record. For both these Indian players, fitness and age were major problems which led to their retirement, but their batting record is another significant reason for their decision. Had these players been scoring consistently, they might not have called it a day and could have in the ongoing India-New Zealand Test series playing 11.
From the above facts, one realises that a player seems to think about retirement once they see a downward graph in their career. But, these are all positive signs for the game of cricket, as youngsters who must have been waiting in the wings for their turn to represent their country would get a chance. It also helps in the game moving forward. Sometimes, it is best, if the player himself decides to hang his boots than rather being left out of the team due to their performances. They can walk out with grace on their own.