The men's T20 World Cup has been pushed back by a whole year. Which makes us wonder if we will get to watch these men at a world event one more time or not.
It's impossible to speculate when it comes to MS Dhoni, but with the IPL and the World Cup originally scheduled for April and October this year, you'd think Dhoni had a perfect sign-off planned. However, we are talking about another year now, and Dhoni hasn't played any cricket for India since July 2019. He will be 40 by then too, and will need two solid IPLs to stand a chance, which makes it highly unlikely. But it's Dhoni we are talking about - can't rule him out, can we?
The leading wicket-taker in T20Is with 107 strikes, Lasith Malinga had earlier announced that he would be retiring after the 2020 World Cup. Does the change mean he will hang around? He will be past 38 then. That said, the last year or so has been great for Malinga, who helped Mumbai Indians win the IPL again and followed it up with four wickets in four balls against New Zealand in September 2019. Fitness will be a concern, but form might not be, and it might come down to whether he is up for one more tilt or not.
Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo
Chris Gayle is perhaps the most recognisable face on the T20 circuit, and even at 40 - close to 41, actually - he is a force to be reckoned with in the format. Gayle has hinted at extending his career but would be very lucky to make it at the end of the postponement. Also, Gayle has lot of competition for his spot in the side, so making the cut might require a combination of form and fortune, not to mention fitness.
Gayle's old colleague Dwayne Bravo came out of retirement earlier this year with an eye on the World Cup. Since his return, he has taken seven wickets at an economy rate of 7.15. With potentially an IPL and a CPL before the World Cup, Bravo was all gung-ho. It will be interesting to see how he deals with the tweaked situation. From his point of view, the best thing would be to play as much franchise cricket as possible, and hope the West Indies team management still has room for him, and his unique skills.
Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik
The Pakistan duo of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik were expected to script their swansongs in Australia. Hafeez, who will be 40 in October this year, had said that he would delay his retirement if the tournament is rescheduled, and might go ahead and do just that now, though whether he will fit into the team's plans a year on remains to be seen. Ditto for Malik, who will turn 39 in February.
Pakistan may have found many competent youngsters the last few months to not miss the two veterans, and the fact that both of them have similar skills means fitting both of them in the squad could be a bit of a stretch. But big performances between now and then, and who knows…
Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers
Faf du Plessis had announced his desire to captain his side till the end of the T20 World Cup. But that was a long time ago, and Quinton de Kock has replaced him at the helm since then. Du Plessis will be 37 by the time the next World Cup starts, and it's not unthinkable that South Africa would have looked at younger players to take the team forward by then.
As for AB de Villiers, well, the question marks around him linger. The much-speculated comeback has been put on ice, but he is certain to be active in the franchise circuit, whatever the number of tournaments that get on the road eventually. Therefore, there's not much difference between now, when he is 36 and a half, and next year. The bigger issue, of course, is whether he wants it or not.