The Heavy Ball

So you think you can retire from Tests?

Retiring from specific formats of the game is so yesterday. There are plenty of other things waiting to be retired from

Andrew Strauss is beaten and bowed after England's sixth defeat in a row against Australia, England v Australia, 6th ODI, Trent Bridge, September 17, 2009

Andrew Strauss takes a quick nap at a press conference called to announce England's retirement from ODIs  •  Getty Images

After the spate of recent retirements from specific forms of the game (Ricky Ponting from Twenty20s, Chaminda Vaas and Andrew Flintoff from Tests), cricket is now witnessing a bizarre outbreak of retirements from even more specific aspects of the game.
Indian allrounder Irfan Pathan has retired from bowling to focus on his batting. In a press release Pathan said, "With immediate effect, I announce my retirement from all forms of bowling such as pace, swing, medium pace and unintentional spin, which I have been bowling of late. I will continue to be available for selection as a batsman." Pathan feels that being considered as a batsman will improve his chances of making it to team India. "Everyone knows that I'm a better batsman than Virat Kohli or S Badrinath, although I have to admit that they may be marginally better bowlers," he quipped, showing that, unlike his swing, his sense of humour had not deserted him.
In an even more interesting development, umpire Rudi Koertzen has retired from giving lbw decisions. "No more of that crummy leg-before stuff for me, mate. You've got to listen to your body when it tells you: 'Rudi, there's no way you can figure this out if you haven't done so in over a decade of umpiring. Time to hang up that forefinger,' said Koertzen, conjuring up some rather macabre imagery. Koertzen will now concentrate purely on bowled, run-out and caught-behind decisions, apart from focusing on not being constantly referred to by Indian fans as "Kirsten".
Australian player Shane Watson has added to the confusion, by saying that he is retiring from taking his run-up. "Stand and deliver from now on, mate. If Sehwag can do it, why can't I?" grinned a grinning Watson, with a grin. "As they say in Power Point presentations, it's all about optimisation to boost core competencies by streamlining processes to ensure quick and efficient delivery," he said, immediately causing the unexplained and sudden appearance of a delighted-looking Greg Chappell, holding a laptop.
In a typically bold and innovative move, IPL boss Lalit Modi has retired from being a purely Indian sports administrator in order to freelance all over the world. He has refused a contract from the BCCI, allowing him to pick and choose the Twenty20 tournaments he would like to convert into crass, loud, disgustingly profitable ventures. "I thought, at this stage why focus on IPL? There are plenty of opportunities, with so many Premier Leagues mushrooming, such as the KPL, NZPL, SLPL, SAPL and 3PL [the 3, South Boag Road (1st floor) Premier League]," said Modi, showing his talent for attaching the word "Premier" to just about anything.
"This is nothing new. I retired from using articles when giving commentary years ago," pointed out former bowling great-turned-commentator Wasim Akram, finally shedding light on why he keeps saying things like "What wonderful performance from Pakistan team to win tournament."
There may be more to come, if rumours are to be believed. According to sources, the South African team is retiring from playing important matches, Mohammad Asif is retiring from Dubai, and Arun Lal is retiring from commentary to concentrate on identifying and naming lots of extremely common birds.

Anand Ramachandran is a writer and humourist based in Mumbai. He blogs at
Any or all quotes and facts in this article may be wholly or partly fiction (but you knew that already, didn't you?)