With just a week to go for the 2019 World Cup, the teams are in their final round of preparations for the marquee event. While a lot of players will be playing their maiden World Cup, there are a few stalwarts who are likely to call it a day post the major ICC event.
Onmanorama picks five players who have thoroughly entertained the crowd with their stellar performances over the years and are now in the final phase of their illustrious career.
For the past decade, Ross Taylor has been a vital cog in the Black Caps wheel. The middle order batsman holds the record for scoring most number of ODI centuries (18) for New Zealand. He has also been a great influence on the young Kiwi team led by Kane Williamson. The 35-year-old will be looking to fulfill the dream that he came so close to achieving in 2015 where the Kiwis lost to Australia in the final before calling time on his career.
Shoaib Malik may not be in his best form, but the 37-year-old remains a pivotal figure for Pakistan if they are to go all the way in the tournament. He has served his country for almost 20 years, but has only featured in one World Cup where Pakistan crashed out in the group stages after losing to debutants Ireland in 2007. But the veteran would like to change that when he steps on to the field and will be expected to make a difference to his team's fortunes with his batting down the order and handy off-spin.
At 35 and with so many injuries in the last few years, Dale Steyn will be having a final shot at World Cup glory. He has featured in two World Cups and is one of the best fast bowlers to have played for South Africa. The pace legend was instrumental in Proteas reaching the 2015 World Cup semifinals before their heart-breaking loss to New Zealand. Steyn, who has scalped 196 wickets in 125 ODI matches would look to erase the stigma and help his country lift their maiden World Cup.
Chris Gayle, the 'Universe Boss', is one of the only two players to have scored a World Cup double hundred, with Kiwi opener Martin Guptill being the other. A part of his national team for four World Cups, the swashbuckling West Indian opener is one of the few players to have debuted in the 90s and has played under 13 ODI captains. The 39-year-old has been in great form in the recent times and has played numerous blistering knocks. This World Cup would be the perfect opportunity for the fans to witness one last 'Gayle Storm'.
M S Dhoni
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has achieved almost everything in his glorious career, including being the only captain to lift all three major ICC trophies (World Cup, ICC World T20 and Champions Trophy). Recently, 'Captain Cool' shared his childhood dream of becoming a painter after quitting cricket, fuelling speculations about his retirement. Although Dhoni’s finishing abilities in ODIs have been criticised in the recent past, he remains an important part of the Indian outfit with his constant inputs from behind the stumps to skipper Virat Kohli and the bowlers. Dhoni, who will turn 38 on July 7, would love to replicate India’s success at the 2011 edition and finish on a high.