February 5, 2011

The cricketer's who might be playing their last world cup: Part1

Shoaib Akhtar, 35: Once the fastest bowler in the world, his career has always been on the brink of an abrupt end due to injuries and misdemeanours. But he has surprisingly hung on. Shoaib was runners-up in the 1999 World cup and bowled a delivery at 161 KMPH in the 2003 event. He's now one of the fading stars of a once brilliant team.

Jacques Kallis, 35: The finest all-rounder this side of the 1990s, Kallis has seen many World Cup heart-breaks: the quarterfinal in 1996, semi-finals in 1999 and 2007, and the rain-rule blunder of 2003. His team has a point to prove in 2011.

Muttiah Muralitharan, 38: Murali is the most successful bowler ever in international cricket. He retired from Tests last year with a mind-boggling 800 wickets and will retire from ODIs after the World Cup. Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup with him, reached the 2003 semis and the 2007 final. Playing at home again, can they do an encore for Murali?

Tillakaratne Dilshan, 34: He started his international career at 23, but blossomed late. He is one of the most destructive openers on sub-continental flatbeds and has also invented the ‘Dilscoop’. Sri Lanka is an aging side with lots of senior batsmen in their mid-30s. Dilshan might not be around in 2015.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 36: Chanders will be playing his fifth World Cup. In 1996, he almost took West Indies in to the final but his wicket triggered a collapse leading to an Australian win. Since then, the two-time champs have performed poorly at the World cup. Will this time be different?

Zaheer Khan, 32: Fast bowlers tend to have a shorter shelf-life than other cricketers. Given Zaheer's work-load and injury record, he would do well to stay fit for the 2015 World Cup. It's a difficult task, but let's hope India’s best pacer is still around taking loads of wickets.

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