Going out with a bang

Players who ended their international careers in style

Steven Lynch

September 10, 2012

Comments: 84 | Text size: A | A

Seymour Nurse flicks, May 1, 1966
Seymour Nurse: made his highest score in his last Test innings © Getty Images

Seymour Nurse
Nurse, the big Barbadian, had announced his retirement before the final Test in New Zealand early in 1969. He'd warmed up for his Christchurch curtain call with 168 in the first Test, and now powered to 258, his highest Test score. Wisden observed: "In very poor light, he punished the New Zealand pace bowlers with superb drives off the back foot... it was a magnificent display of aggressive but responsible batting." Despite blandishments from his captain, Garry Sobers, Nurse stuck to his retirement plans.

Imran Khan
It's not a bad way to bow out: holding the World Cup aloft as captain of the winning side. That's the way Imran rounded off his stellar career, in Melbourne in 1992, after top-scoring and then taking the final wicket in Pakistan's defeat of England. The only others whose last international appearance came as part of the winning side in a World Cup final were Rohan Kanhai of West Indies in 1975, and the Australian pair of Paul Reiffel (1999) and Glenn McGrath (2007).

Bill Ponsford
The tall-scoring Victorian opener Ponsford retired from international cricket after the 1934 Ashes tour of England. He scored 181 in the fourth Test, then, in the final match at The Oval, added the little matter of 266, most of it during a partnership of 451 with Don Bradman, who made 244. This helped set up a crushing 562-run victory, one that reclaimed the Ashes, lost by Australia during the Bodyline series 18 months previously.

Barry Richards
As South Africa completed their 4-0 whitewash of Australia in Port Elizabeth in 1969-70, the peerless opener Richards made 81 and 126. After that, objections to South Africa's apartheid government meant they played no more official international cricket for 22 years, by which time Richards had retired. "If I'd known that was my last Test," he once said, "they'd never have got me out..."

Jason Gillespie
High-stepping, hair-flowing fast bowler Gillespie was an automatic choice for Australia for around six years, but he lost his place after struggling for penetration in the 2005 Ashes series, in which he took three wickets at an average of 100. Gillespie got his place back for the tour of Bangladesh early the following year, and did well enough with the ball... but it was with the bat that he surprised everyone. In the second Test, in Chittagong, "Dizzy" went in as nightwatchman late on the first day, after the early departure of Matthew Hayden. He was still there at the end of the (rain-affected) second day, and at the end of the third, by which time the man whose previous-highest score in first-class cricket was 58 had completed a maiden century. On the fourth day he accelerated, and eventually - after nine and a half hours at the crease - reached 201, at which point Australia declared, and went on to win by an innings. The sting in the tail was that this turned out to be Gillespie's final Test appearance.

Andy Caddick
The tall Somerset fast bowler Caddick bowled England to a satisfying victory in Sydney in the New Year Test of 2003 with ten wickets, including a decisive 7 for 94 in the second innings as Australia made it only halfway to a target of 452. The bad news for England was that this only reduced the series deficit to 4-1, as the Aussies had won the first four Tests. And the bad news for Caddick was that, mainly because of a foot injury which kept him out of the following English season, he never played for England again.

Anthony Stuart celebrates his hat-trick, Australia v Pakistan, Carton and United Series, Melbourne, January 16, 1997
Anthony Stuart: hat-trick and done © Getty Images

Andy Sandham
What happens when you score Test cricket's first triple-century? Well, you don't play for your country again. That was the fate of the Surrey opener Sandham, who made 325 for England against West Indies in Kingston in 1929-30. Sandham's later non-selection isn't quite as bizarre as it might now appear: he was nearly 40, and the team in the Caribbean did not include many England regulars - especially the first-choice opening pair of Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe - who returned for the Ashes series at home in the summer of 1930.

Bill O'Reilly
The combative Australian legspinner O'Reilly was a major handful in the 1930s - and he showed, in the first postwar Test in 1945-46, that he was still a force to be reckoned with, taking 5 for 14 and 3 for 19 as New Zealand were humbled for 42 and 54 in Wellington. But O'Reilly, who was 40 and had been having knee trouble, knew it was time to go: "Returning to our dressing room... I removed my cricket boots and threw them through the window as a gesture of complete surrender."

Anthony Stuart
The lanky New South Wales fast bowler Stuart was naturally delighted to make his debut for Australia in a one-day international in January 1997 - and even more delighted less than a fortnight later when, in only his third match, he claimed a high-class hat-trick to reduce Pakistan to 29 for 5 at the MCG. But that was Stuart's last hurrah - he lost form and, not much more than a year later, couldn't even get into the NSW side.

Hugh Trumble
The tall Victorian offspinner Trumble came closer than anyone else to bowing out of Test cricket with a hat-trick: in the final Ashes Test of 1903-04, he took 7 for 28 to seal a 218-run triumph, and there was only one wicket left after he dismissed Bernard Bosanquet, the touring captain Plum Warner and Dick Lilley with successive deliveries. The last pair added 40 before Trumble finished things off with his last ball in Test (and first-class) cricket. He "bowled in his finest form, and was practically unplayable", according to Wisden.

Dennis Amiss
The last act of Amiss' distinguished international career was to hit the winning boundary in an Ashes Test - at Old Trafford in July 1977. That was Amiss' 50th Test - and his last, as after this the prodigal son, Geoff Boycott, returned to the fold and took his place. The previous month Amiss had played what turned out to be his last one-day international... and made 108 at The Oval.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012

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Posted by AmissWasGreat on (September 11, 2012, 23:41 GMT)

A C Russell scored a century in each innings for England in his last match in the 1920s.

Posted by   on (September 11, 2012, 23:14 GMT)

Don't forget good ol' Murali who reached his 800th with the last wicket of the Indian 2nd innings and taking his 67th 5 for in the first innings while finishing with match figures of 8/191 in 61.4 overs

Posted by ATC1810 on (September 11, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

Very good point made by johnathanjosephs about Murali. However far more players these days announce their retirement before playing their final match and to some extent, there is an argument that anyone who has done this should be excluded from the list.

Posted by tusharkardile on (September 11, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

Dennis Amiss? Seriously??

Posted by Cricketer2010 on (September 11, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

Saeed Anwar Scored century in his last test, and ODI (completed innings) In his last ODI he made 40 not out, match was abandoned due to rain.

Posted by harshthakor on (September 11, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

Never forget Sunil Gavaskar's 96 at Bangalore against Pakistan in his last test innings in 1987.It was a masterpiece which even Bradman or Tendulkar may not emulate on a broken track.

Posted by   on (September 11, 2012, 10:16 GMT)

what abt kapil's record 434th wicket in his last match??

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (September 11, 2012, 3:07 GMT)

Did the author seriously leave out Murali's amazing last 8 wickets to get 800 wickets?

Posted by   on (September 11, 2012, 2:35 GMT)

In his last test appearance India's Mohamed Azharuddin scored a brilliant century at Bangalore in 2000-2001 season when others failed against South African fast bowlers. Thus he achieved a unique record of scoring century in his first and last test matches. More over Azharuddin still holds the record of scoring a century in his first three test matches.

Posted by kensohatter on (September 11, 2012, 2:19 GMT)

That Gillespie innings still amazes me... He averages 20 with the bat in test match cricket yet has a higher test score than many many more accomplished batsmen! Id retire at that point as well!

Posted by   on (September 11, 2012, 1:46 GMT)

It surely won't be Tendulkar - very sad indeed. Sachin - stop chasing records and think about the country and more importantly, the fans, who have meant so much to you. RETIRE now please. We will still cherish the moments that you have provided. If you keep up this charade, we might not think as highly of you as you might like. Being very honest from someone who moved to the US 35 years ago and still follows Indian cricket for some odd reason. Go away please SRT. Thanks you very much.

Posted by   on (September 11, 2012, 0:50 GMT)

Greg Chappell bowed out with 183 in his last test with DK Lillee also achieving the 350 milestone and Rod Marsh with the highest number of catches. Three greats retiring on one day with some bang. Cannot get better than this!

Besides SMG 96, what about Azhars 100 in his 99 and last test!

Posted by Naresh28 on (September 10, 2012, 23:51 GMT)

The old SA players like Richards and Pollick were great players. SA keeps churning out great players. Some have left SA and settled in Eng - like Pieterson.Today Kallis and Amla have led them to NO1 with another great ex-player like Kirsten as coach. The whole current SA team should be congratulated - Indian fan

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 22:43 GMT)

I thought maybe Richard Hadlee's final test performance could have made the list.... a 5-for in your final innings and a wicket with your final ball. Not bad.

Posted by ATC1810 on (September 10, 2012, 22:13 GMT)

@Shan156 Firstly, if you don't know who Barry Richards is then you shouldn't even be commenting and secondly, having heard the man talk on numerous occasions, I can assure you that he is one of the least arrogant men you could care to to meet and views the sacrifing of his test cricket career for the greater good of South Africa a minor inconvenience. If you want to see how good he was, I suggest to watch some of his innings for Hampshire which are available on UTube.

Posted by njr1330 on (September 10, 2012, 20:46 GMT)

'Shan 156'. Presumably they don't do irony wherever you are.

Posted by Jediroya on (September 10, 2012, 20:37 GMT)

@Shan156 - the answer to your question is: YES!

Posted by Shan156 on (September 10, 2012, 19:46 GMT)

"they'd never have got me out...", says Barry Richards. What is he? Some kind of a God or Sachin Tendulkar? Some arrogance that. Considering that he is a Saffer, it hardly comes as a surprise though. Saffa players are some of the most arrogant.

Posted by anilkp on (September 10, 2012, 19:30 GMT)

Hi Steven, one more thought; rather, a sincere request: please design all "ESPNCricinfo XI" lists just as a playing XI would look like. That is, two specialist openers, sound middle order, a wicket keeper, and a bunch of bowlers--and nominate a captain. That way, we can--to some extent--hope not to see the comments like "a certain XXX or YYY was not mentioned; why?".

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 19:18 GMT)

What about Sunil Gavaskar's 96 on a bangalore minefield. probably one of the best Indian innings played in a losing cause.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 18:29 GMT)

How about our own M.P. ?It should be the question why instead of why not.

Posted by anilkp on (September 10, 2012, 18:25 GMT)

Hi Steven, this is an erroneous list. "Going out with a bang" means that someone was going out knowingly (e.g., Imran Khan), not by unexpected turns of event (e.g., Jason Gillespie). Who knows, Jason may have been gone with no wicket or run to show in his last game had he been allowed to continue! So, I would have liked this column to be judiciously designed; that is, should have listed only those who knew their day was up. Some stats are for pure assessment of scholastic reality, some are for sheer fun; I agree. But I am not ready to accept your posts/articles as sheer fun. I miss something if I see lack of genuine scholarship in your articles.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 17:37 GMT)

Nasser Hussain? Taking England to victory v NZ?

Posted by rahul258 on (September 10, 2012, 16:38 GMT)

@shibuvin ... yeh Sachin will score 401* in SA next yr against a formidable bowling attack :D

Posted by Rajdev on (September 10, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

Greg Chappell and Reg Duff (Aus) scored centuries in their last and first test innings. As also did Bill Ponsford. Rajan

Posted by akasavani on (September 10, 2012, 15:11 GMT)

seriously no Tendulkar? oh wait...he's not gone yet !!!

Posted by HawksEyeFocused on (September 10, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

@Deepak Tembe: Dear you didn't get the point I reckon. The topic is about supreme performance just before the retirement not just below average performance that Suil Manohar Gavaskar showed!!! Honestly speaking, Imran Khan is the only player who retired on the highest note i.e. winning the world cup 1992 with a style!!!

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (September 10, 2012, 14:09 GMT)

One thing is for sure - you will never see 10dulkar in this list. He will retire only after he is completely humiliated by every fast bowler in this world. Way to go tendulya!

Posted by Charith99 on (September 10, 2012, 13:57 GMT)

despite needing 8 wickets to reach 800 muraly had the confidence to announce his retirement before the match (against the indian batting line up) and he achieved it and won the match what more do you need.

Posted by thegaffoor on (September 10, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

Dear Mr Lynch, Where is Murali and McGrath ??

Posted by shibuvin on (September 10, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

I know Its not gonna happen, But I really wish something similar happen with Sachin!!!!

Posted by Drewthur on (September 10, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

Murali took 8 wickets in his last test. Not bad, but hardly "Going out with a bang"

Posted by Migara on (September 10, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

Aravinda de Silva made 206 in his last test.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

Guys, this is about INTERNATIONAL retirement, not test retirement. Murali retired with 0/39 off 8 overs, Gavaskar scored 4 off 7 balls, the only thing of note Flintoff did in his last test was the run out, McGrath bowled 1/31 from 7 overs. Read the list properly before rushing in with the first cricketer that pops into your head.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (September 10, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

Imran Khan had the best retirement in Cricket - very few can retire as a captain who won the World Cup and who was a major contributor in those wins. 10dulkar should have take Imran Khan's advice and retired on a high after world cup 2011. But I guess, greed got the better of him. There's a reason 10dulkar was one of the worst captains - he's too selfish.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 12:55 GMT)

Glenn McGrath? Man of the series in 2007 world cup

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

why no gavaskar after great knock at banglore......

Posted by Akshita29 on (September 10, 2012, 12:41 GMT)

@shantiratnamaj exactly Kp scored a century in his last odi match , scored 69 in last t20 match ,and then that epic 149. He should top this list .

Posted by QingdaoXI on (September 10, 2012, 12:37 GMT)

Murali should be at the top of the table. Without Murali, McGrath, Hadlee and also ganguly( as ganguly score 90 odd runs and was important member in Thrashing World no 1 Australia by 2-0)

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

Can people not read? The subheading says" players who ended their international careers in style". Murali's last international was an ODI where he took 0/39 of 8 overs. That's not going out in style for anybody, let alone someone with a career as great as Murali.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

No Steve Waugh.. I remember his match saving innings. How can you exclude him?

Posted by cloudmess on (September 10, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

Nasser Hussain? His last first class, let alone test innings, was an unbeaten, match-winning century in a stiff run chase v NZ. Hussain hit a sumptious cover drive for his century, and then repeated the shot next ball to win the match.

Posted by sanh on (September 10, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

why not Sunil Gavaskar? He scored a magnificient Hundred at Lord's in his last Test.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

yaa..Where is murali??? He must be included in this list!!

Posted by dsig3 on (September 10, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

No McGrath, no deal. The fact that you list dizzy's last test against bangers 'n' mash shows me you are writing for laughs.

Posted by rajatmehra on (September 10, 2012, 9:52 GMT)

Murali and McGrath definitely deserved a mention. Way above people like Anthony Stuart!!

Posted by Daveptee on (September 10, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

Two more names......Dennis Lillee took a 5 for in his last test and Richard Hadlee took a wicket with his last delivery in test cricket !

Posted by shantiratnamaj on (September 10, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

why not Kevin Pieterson? He played well in his last series for ENG against SA.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 8:51 GMT)

what about Greg Chappell ?

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

No Murali ??? Now that's a surprise !!!!!!!!

Posted by VinnersX1 on (September 10, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

Hello!! Where is Australian great Glen McGrath? Didnt he play last in 2007 world cup final? Winning match, winning MOS award!

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 8:07 GMT)

No Murali ??? Now that's a surprise !!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

No Murali ??? Now that's a surprise !!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 7:57 GMT)

murali surely a must in this list ....taking 800th wicket as the last wicket of the match that too in a winning cause could have been easily a script of a bollywood film.. also think NEhra and munaf can be included considering that their last match was world cup victory... unlikely that they will ever play any ODi again

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 7:46 GMT)

Steve Waugh's last innings???????that ranks amongst the best.

Posted by K_McEwan on (September 10, 2012, 7:39 GMT)

KP @ Leeds 2012: 149 & 3/52, man of the match, 1 youtube interview and 1 or more texts too many. He did it his way

Posted by Head_gear on (September 10, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

This is all abt the end of Intenational careers man.not abt the end of ODI Test or T20 careers

Posted by AnantNyunt on (September 10, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

Sunil Gavaskar too. Brilliant 96 in Bangalore before he decided to hang his boots

Posted by MJKR on (September 10, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

The information on Imran Khan is wrong. He retired from all forms of International Cricket in 1987 after Pakistan's world cup loss. After 4 months he was recalled by the the then President of Pakistan. He thought about it and then considered to reenter the sports again after a break of 7months. He again joined back in 1988. So basically he retired twice. So you can't call it graceful retirement...

Posted by birkat on (September 10, 2012, 6:40 GMT)

Seriously Steve? Marali went out on a fairytale high... I don't think anyone can beat that. An ending to end all endings... I guess this post is only about those who went out with a "bang". Murali's was more like a KABOOOM!!!

Posted by LakshmiNarasimhan_S on (September 10, 2012, 6:29 GMT)

Remember the same stuff from "The List" by George Binoy and Travis Basevi, a year back

Posted by ajit2004rta on (September 10, 2012, 6:26 GMT)

Seriously no Murali , Need some improvement and addition of Murali

Posted by blackjesuz on (September 10, 2012, 6:17 GMT)

@Rishi, Murali retired after a WC loss and a poor display with the ball.. not very glamorous.. although his test match exit was superb, but that's not really the point, you think that EVERYONE who had a grand exit will be mentioned? this is just a select few by the Author

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

Ya man...seriously where is Murali? One of the most unforgettable retirements of our time.

Posted by tim3237 on (September 10, 2012, 5:57 GMT)

What abt Glenn McGrath???? 2007 WC winner medal.....highest wicket taker in the same tournament...

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 5:56 GMT)

8 wickets in a match is not even his average for Muralitharan.

Posted by Jezmund on (September 10, 2012, 5:42 GMT)

I can't believe you missed out Sir Richard Hadlee, the great New Zeland fast bowler, who took a wicket with his final ball in his final test vs England at Edgebaston finishing with 5 for 53 off 21 overs. OK NZ lost the test but Hadlee was the leading wicket taker in the world at the time!!!

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 5:37 GMT)

I was expecting Shane Warne's name would be mentioned.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 5:35 GMT)

Yep!!!!!! Maurali also retired on a High!!!!! Why is he not in this List and What about Gavaskar's 96 in the Last Bangalore test which he was top Scorer albeit in a loosing Cause....

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 5:31 GMT)

Murali is ostensibly left out and so was steve waugh who scored 80 in his final innings and prevented India from winning a series in Australia. What about Gavaskar ? on a minefield of a wicket he scored 96 against Pak.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

Yes... How can you miss Murali in this article... He was the first one who came in my mind on seeing this topic.... He touched the untouchable feet in style...

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 5:22 GMT)

When I read the headline, 2 names came to my mind at first, Gavaskar and Flintoff. Unfortunately both of them didn't made to the list.

Posted by ckrish51 on (September 10, 2012, 5:16 GMT)

Most surprised at the exclusion of Sunil Gavaskar from the list. He gave up the India captaincy after holding aloft the 1985 world championship trophy and retired after playing a tremendous knock of 96 against Pakistan at Bangalore. Any better way to sign-off?

Posted by DirkL on (September 10, 2012, 5:15 GMT)

Well, clearly this article can only be followed by "Going out with a whimper". And if KP has really played his last for England, "Going out with a whine". It may be hard to find an XI of those.

Posted by kirands on (September 10, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

Greg Chappell scored 182 in his last Test match and also took three catches, won the match for Australia, won the Man of the Match award, and went out with a bang. This was in Jan 1984 in Sydney against Pakistan.

Posted by uncanny on (September 10, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

no mcgrath ? he was man of the series for 2007 world cup...

Posted by CRmadrid on (September 10, 2012, 4:37 GMT)

Muralitharan should be on that list.

Posted by Emancipator007 on (September 10, 2012, 4:23 GMT)

Greg Chappell 184 in his last Test. Ganguly, his bete noire signing off with 85 & Bradmenesque 0 plus Test & series win against arch enemy OZ in Nagpur.Foot player Gang in fact uniquely captained the side during the last few minutes of win showcasing his leadership legacy for Team India -a special gesture by captain Dhoni. Murali's fairytale 800th wicket and victory in final Test.Special mention must be made about Gavaskar's final Test masterclass innings of 96-, the best EVER innings during '80s played on an absolute raging turner in Bangalore, though India lost by just 16 wins. Master 5-wicket-in-an-innings taker Hadlee took 5 wickets (8 in match!) in last innings of his final Test though Eng won-he was also Player of Series.Akram, Waqar deserved better endings to their fantastic careers, plus Lara. Also dazzler Aravinda de Silva though a World Cup ('03) semifinal bow out is not bad.

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 3:56 GMT)

No Mark Taylor as well???

Posted by Ashique129 on (September 10, 2012, 3:44 GMT)

And what about Aravinda? 206 against Bangladesh?

Posted by Anil_Koshy on (September 10, 2012, 3:42 GMT)

I am sure, Tendulkar's name will never feature in this list.

Posted by vipul1512 on (September 10, 2012, 3:42 GMT)

Mcgrath? Shane Warne.....and on top of them...Steve Waugh, no? Match saving innings after virtually struggling the whole series!! made better sense than the likes of Gillespie, i thought!

Posted by Samu on (September 10, 2012, 3:39 GMT)

I thought even Nasser Hussain would make the cut. Scored a hundred in his last test match, retired gracefully for making place for Strauss who himself managed to play 100 tests!! good list never the less....

Posted by   on (September 10, 2012, 3:12 GMT)

Seriously No Muralitharan ?

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Steven LynchClose
Steven Lynch Steven Lynch won the Wisden Cricket Monthly Christmas Quiz three years running before the then-editor said "I can't let you win it again, but would you like a job?" That lasted for 15 years, before he moved across to the Wisden website when that was set up in 2000. Following the merger of the two sites early in 2003 he was appointed as the global editor of Wisden Cricinfo. In June 2005 he became the deputy editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. He continues to contribute the popular weekly "Ask Steven" question-and-answer column on ESPNcricinfo, and edits the Wisden Guide to International Cricket.

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