You'll be missing me

As the world prepares for Sachin Tendulkar's last hurrah, a look at some successful farewells

Steven Lynch

November 11, 2013

Comments: 39 | Text size: A | A

Rod Marsh, Greg Chappell and Dennis Lillee pose after their final Test, March 14, 1984
Rod Marsh, Greg Chappell and Dennis Lillee pose after the final Test in Sydney in 1984 © Getty Images

Steve Waugh
Waugh's glittering career brought him more than 10,000 runs in 168 Tests, a record at the time. Unusually, though, he wasn't on the winning side in his last match - a draw against India in Sydney in January 2004 - after a sentimental season-long goodbye. The script demanded that Waugh should bow out with a century, but after reaching 80 in his final innings, as Australia made a gallant attempt to chase 443, Waugh swept uppishly to square leg, where he was caught by a sheepish Sachin Tendulkar, who then ran over to shake his hand.

Nasser Hussain
A farewell hundred, swiftly followed by the winning runs... and at Lord's too: that's how Hussain bowed out of Test cricket, after his 103 not out helped England beat New Zealand early in the summer of 2004. Very few people knew that this was his last innings, but Hussain did - and announced his official retirement shortly afterwards despite being only four caps short of 100.

Seymour Nurse
The hard-hitting Nurse had announced before the third Test in Christchurch in 1968-69 that it would be his last, and he marked it with a superb 258, still the highest score for West Indies against New Zealand. Several people - including his fellow Barbadian and captain, Garry Sobers - tried to persuade Nurse to carry on, but he stuck to his retirement plan.

Muttiah Muralitharan
Murali piled the pressure on himself by announcing that the first Test against India in July 2010, in Galle, would be his last: he went into it with 792 Test wickets. Rain threatened to play spoilsport, washing out the second day, but Murali looked back on track to reach 800 when he took five wickets as India subsided towards a follow-on. The magic figure looked on when he took two more as India declined to 197 for 7, but the last three wickets hung on for more than 50 overs as Murali (and the crowd) became increasingly frustrated. Finally there was one wicket left, with the local hero stuck on 799, and he narrowly missed a chance to run someone out. Finally Pragyan Ojha edged low to slip, and Murali could walk into the sunset with exactly 800 Test wickets to his name.

Chappell, Lillee, Marsh
Three of the biggest names in Australian cricket took their leave of Test cricket in Sydney in January 1984. Greg Chappell signed off with 182, which took him past Don Bradman as Australia's highest scorer at the time. He also broke the record for catches by a fielder. Dennis Lillee took eight wickets to end with 355, while Rod Marsh's six catches left him neatly perched alongside his big mate with 355 dismissals as well.

Imran Khan
There aren't many better ways to go than by captaining your team to victory in the World Cup - and that's how Imran ended his international career, early in 1992. After shoring up Pakistan's faltering innings against England in Melbourne with a responsible 72, the 39-year-old Imran defied shoulder pain to bowl, and claimed the last wicket, to seal a 22-run triumph. He never played seriously again.

Sunil Gavaskar
Sachin Tendulkar's predecessor as India's "Little Master" signed off from Test cricket (although no one knew that at the time) with one of his greatest innings, a brilliant 96 on a treacherous pitch to take India close to victory over Pakistan in Bangalore in March 1987. When he finally fell, the other batsmen were quickly polished off and Pakistan won the match, and the series, by just 16 runs. Gavaskar actually bowed out after the World Cup that year, scoring his only one-day century in his penultimate such match (his 107th).

Imran Khan with the World Cup trophy, Melbourne, March 26 1992
Imran Khan bowed out of international cricket after winning the 1992 World Cup for Pakistan © Getty Images

Glenn McGrath
Australia's metronomic fast bowler managed a double sendoff that would be hard to beat. In his last Test, in Sydney in January 2007, he took six wickets as Australia completed a satisfying 5-0 whitewash over England in the Ashes series. Then, in his final one-day international a few months later, Australia retained the World Cup by beating Sri Lanka in the final in Bridgetown.

Bill Ponsford
He might have been rather overshadowed by Don Bradman, but Ponsford scored two first-class quadruple-centuries, which even the Don never quite managed. And in his last Test match, at The Oval in 1934, Ponsford - for whom cricket was never quite the same after Bodyline - made 266, and shared a then-record partnership of 451 with Bradman (244). He played only one more first-class match after that 1934 tour, and retired with an average of 65.

Aravinda de Silva
One of Sri Lanka's finest batsmen, and arguably their most stylish, de Silva signed off from Test cricket with 206 against Bangladesh in Colombo in July 2002. He was rested from the next match, and retired not long afterwards, thus becoming one of only five men to have scored a double-century in their final Test. The others are Seymour Nurse and Bill Ponsford (see above), Andy Sandham (325 for England v West Indies in Kingston in 1929-30), and nightwatchman Jason Gillespie (201 not out for Australia v Bangladesh in Chittagong in 2005-06).

Barry Richards
As South Africa powered their way to a 4-0 whitewash of Australia in Port Elizabeth in 1969-70, Richards made 126 in their second innings and Lee Irvine 102. They turned out to be South Africa's last Test centuries for 22 years, as the country's apartheid policy led to them being ostracised from world sport. It meant that the international career of Richards, one of the greatest of all batsmen, was over after just four matches, in which he scored two hundreds. "If I'd known that was my last Test," he said later, "they'd never have got me out."

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013

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Posted by   on (November 16, 2013, 8:00 GMT)

Imran had a fairy tale sign-off, picking the last wicket to seal the world Cup for Pakistan as skipper. Magical.

Posted by KingOwl on (November 15, 2013, 21:57 GMT)

Sachin is not doubt a great batsman, an exceptional one even. But I think Rahul Dravid was better.

Posted by cricket_slcsupport on (November 15, 2013, 12:16 GMT)

Plz plz give Sachin a break. He is one of the best, infact he carried the Indian team on his shoulder for two decades. I can remember those days, any team if they can remove Sachin India crumbled. He is a true legend. He preformed against all countries and around the world. He has centuries against all the countries he played against. Eevn on his last match he scored 74 at the age of 40.

He is the best and will be the best. By the way I'm a Sri Lankan supporter. Give him the respect what he deserves.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2013, 7:31 GMT)

Sorry but Sachin is only a legend to Indians... Great batsmen as he is, he was a stand out in a low quality team. Flat track bully who played mainly against minnows and Sri Lanka who have never been decent at test level. When a billion indians put him on a pedestal he is going to look good.

Posted by TenDonebyaShooter on (November 15, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

Some perspective is needed here. Tendulkar was not better than Bradman or Sobers, but there should be no need for "medical assistance" to counter hilarity induced by those making the comparison. After all, Bradman named Tendulkar in his all-time team (the only current player at the time so named, ahead of the likes of Warne and Murali), and while he regarded Tendulkar as less essential to this team than Sobers, when Bradman first saw Tendulkar bat he is purported to have made the observation that he reminded Bradman of himself in his youth.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

There are legends and greats of the game signing off but nobody received more attention for his farewell than Sachin.

Posted by   on (November 13, 2013, 20:23 GMT)

I would say, he was a better cricketer among the ordinary cricketers of indian team. He is very fortunate that he played when the indian cricket is the richest. I would rate Sunil Gavasker and Dravid were better then him.

Posted by xylo on (November 13, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

Wait, are we counting Sachin's farewell as successful? That would be ridiculous!

Posted by Phat-Boy on (November 13, 2013, 1:23 GMT)

Can someone get me some medical assistance while I stop laughing at those saying that Sachin Tendulkar is better than Bradman and Sobers. Thanks.

Posted by TenDonebyaShooter on (November 12, 2013, 20:44 GMT)

@ Udendra; in terms of multiple farewell, Warne, MGrath and Langer's last test in 2007, completing the first 5-0 victory against England in 86 years, runs Lillee, Chappell and Marsh pretty close

Posted by Udendra on (November 12, 2013, 4:28 GMT)

Given the factors & expectations, Murali's farewell was the best, thus completing 800 wickets! "Chappell/ Lillee/ Marsh" is the best multi-farewell, and wouldn't be outdone in a hurry.

Posted by   on (November 12, 2013, 2:38 GMT)

McGrath and Hussain's were pretty top class in terms of how to sign off, Hadlee should have figured in this list as well - but in terms of pure theater, you can't beat Imran.

Posted by Wefinishthis on (November 11, 2013, 23:26 GMT)

What you didn't mention was that Glenn McGrath took a wicket off his last ball in test cricket as well as his last ball in ODI's in Australia. THEN he went on to break records and win man of the tournament in yet another successful world cup campaign for him. He really couldn't have had much more of a fairy tale farewell than that. He was in a no.1 team in both forms of the game pretty much his entire career, broke numerous individual and team records, took the best test hat trick ever (Campbell, Lara, Adams) and won 3 world cups. He had essentially the perfect career and for me it's only a contest between him and Marshall as the best fast bowler of all time.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 22:45 GMT)

i don't think there is any player in history who has a farewell like sachin has. sachin is an sports ICON and the greatest cricketer of all time even better than bradman and sobers.

sachin tendulkar is just the best. i hope BCCI gives him show piece farewell to show the hole world how to give respect to greatest sportsman.

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (November 11, 2013, 20:17 GMT)

Even is Sachin makes Zero his farewell will be the greatest in history. It is not about the last game it is all about your career and how good you are..

Posted by TenDonebyaShooter on (November 11, 2013, 20:08 GMT)

@Ants Bull and Aaron Bell; you are right to suggest that Hadlee's individual achievements in his final test represented a fine way to sign off a great career. However, in addition to the points made elsewhere on this thread regarding the difficulties of selecting moments that will keep everyone happy, I would observe that Hadlee's last test was not such a successful farewell in that his team lost the match and thereby the series, this being the first time they had lost a test against that particular opponent (England) in twelve such encounters. It was also the first time that particular England team had won a test series at home for five years.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 18:00 GMT)

You mention every one of the other major countries, but miss out one of the greatest career endings in Richard Hadlee taking a 5-for at age 39 to end as the greatest wicket taker of all time (at that point in history)?

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 16:33 GMT)

I reckon ending of Imran's career seems to be the best because there's nothing more valuable than winning a world cup final for your country in the last match.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (November 11, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

@francispayne, I undertsand your frustration and I doubt if it iis going to help as people will still cry foul, no mater what. Without even reading the ful article people fall into this trap of comparisons, who is better than who. Obviously we are all passionate fans but at times we tend to fall into this trap more often than not.

Posted by obaidulmasum on (November 11, 2013, 14:20 GMT)

I think the most successful ending of all time retirement was Glenn Macgrath. Glenn not only won his last test match but he also played very well throughout the series. His one day retirement was even better. He not only won the world cup title but also he was the man of the series of that tournament. And we should also remember another important thing is that after his retirement Australia turned down an ordinary team day by day. I think he should be mentioned at the first among this great.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 14:05 GMT)

Richard Hadlee's five-fer and eight in the match at the age of the 39?

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

imrans was best . it was great see a captain comjng at no 3 and guiding towards victory.

Posted by liz1558 on (November 11, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

Maurice Leyland 187, personal best in the highest partnership of the world record total, 903/7, 1938, The Oval, v Australia, record innings win. Should be ahead of Nurse.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 11:18 GMT)

Sourav Ganguly contributed quite handsomely in his last Test series with high scores of 102 and 85 in difficult situations.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 10:33 GMT)

In terms of timing his farewell, Mark Taylor did very well. Won his last match against England at Sydney in 1998-99. A match which Australia won by 98 runs with both Warne and McGill bowling.

Bowed out at the right moment. A role model as a cricketer......

Posted by Stark62 on (November 11, 2013, 10:20 GMT)

Pak could really use the services of Inzamam right about now, hence he would be a good fit in this list considering the current crisis of Pak batting line up.

Posted by Treader on (November 11, 2013, 10:16 GMT)

@MrKricket, How about Ricky Ponting's Farewell match???

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

can't wait for SRT's farewell! I predict a 300!

Posted by FrancisPayne on (November 11, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

I can only repeat "Why don't people read properly before posting ????"

Gavaskar's 96 is on the list and described as "brilliant". What more would you like the author to say ?

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 8:55 GMT)

Md Azzaruddin scored a century in his last test innings

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 8:02 GMT)

how about Saeed Anway scoring a hundred in his last completed ODI innings. I think Gawaskars 96 against Pak on a landmine at bangalore in the deciding test match in 1987 shouldve been right up there.

Posted by FrancisPayne on (November 11, 2013, 7:29 GMT)

He didn't "miss" anyone and the list of "shocking" last games would not be longer. Reason is, it an "Xl" as in a cricket team. Get it ? See the heading "ESPNcricinfo Xl"

Almost every time this article appears, there is someone who complains and says the author "missed" so and so. Why don't people read properly before posting ????

Posted by TenDonebyaShooter on (November 11, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

@Mr. Kricket: In fact Mr Williamson has already drawn up a list such as you describe: see No mention of Kim Hughes thereon, however ...

Posted by TenDonebyaShooter on (November 11, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

In terms of Sunil Gavaskar successfully signing off on the world stage, I am surprised that there was not mention of his last successful match at Lords, the bicentennial match of 1987, in which he made 188 (and a second innings duck). Given that for all his achievements Gavaskar (unlike the likes of Ajit Agrakar ...) never actually made a test century at Lords (although personally I think a strong case could be made retrospectively giving test status to that very high-class encounter), this brilliant innings was a highly appropriate way for a class player to bid farewell to English crowds, and to international first-class cricket

Posted by Shehan_W on (November 11, 2013, 6:44 GMT)

Aravinda de Silva also took a wicket in his final ball in test cricket.

Posted by MrKricket on (November 11, 2013, 6:35 GMT)

The list of shocking last games for greats would be longer probably. Getting a pair would be the ultimate. Kim Hughes anyone?

Most players have a mediocre sort of finish which probably indicates they were right to retire.

I remember the last game for Chappell, Lillee and Marsh very well. Chappell needed more than 100 to pass The Don. It was a wise decision for the trio with the West Indies coming the next season. It was very bad for Australia though and it took a long time to recover. We are seeing it again now.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 6:34 GMT)

Where is Sourav Ganguly ??... U missed

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 5:32 GMT)

imran khan. simply d best ending of all time retirements.

Posted by kensohatter on (November 11, 2013, 5:32 GMT)

The best stat of this article. Jason Gillespie being 1 of 5 players in history to end their career on a double century! Too funny. He has a better test score than so many quality batsmen... it always makes me laugh. Well done Dizzy. You were a great bowler but you retired at the right time... I think even you would admit 201* was never going to come round again!

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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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