Irfan Pathan selects team ‘Farewell XI’ comprising legends to take on Virat Kohli’s India
Amid the talk surrounding a farewell match for the recently-retired MS Dhoni, former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan has put forward an interesting idea. Pathan suggested a ‘charity-cum-farewell game’ between a team comprising retired Indian cricketers who never received a proper send-off against the current Indian team led by Virat Kohli.
Pathan, who announced his retirement from cricket earlier this year, along with some of India’s biggest match-winners, never received a farewell game. Pathan has narrowed it down to the following names – Gautam Gambhir (retired in 2018), Virender Sehwag (retired in 2014), Rahul Dravid (retired in 2012), VVS Laxman (retired in 2012), Yuvraj Singh (retired in 2019), Suresh Raina, Dhoni, Pathan, Agarkar (retired in 2007).
“Many people are talking about a farewell game for retired players who didn’t get a proper send-off from the game. How about a charity cum farewell game from a team consisting of retired players vs the current Indian team?” Pathan tweeted.
The clamours for a farewell match started doing the rounds when Dhoni and Raina announced their retirement from international cricket last Saturday. Dhoni’s last India appearance was the 2019 World Cup semifinal against New Zealand in Manchester which resulted in a heartbreak for Kohli and his team, while Raina’s was an ODI against England at Leeds in July of 2018.
Former India all-rounder Yuvraj believes the BCCI did not manage his former teammates such as Harbhajan, Sehwag and Zaheer well towards the end of their careers and hoped the board will recognise the efforts of match-winners in the future and honour them for their contribution towards Indian cricket.
Yuvraj, who retired from international cricket last year after playing for 19 years, did not get a farewell game and neither did Zaheer or Sehwag. Yuvraj also feels that the way BCCI handled him towards the end of his career was ‘unprofessional’, although it wasn’t surprising for him. In July, Yuvraj said he wanted the BCCI will pay respect to some of the greats of the game, who couldn’t finish their careers on a high.
“Giving someone a farewell, that’s not for me to decide. It’s up to the BCCI,” he had said. “But in the future, anybody who has played for India for a long time and has been through tough situations, you should definitely honour him. Give him that respect, somebody like Gautam Gambhir, who has won two World Cups for us. Sehwag, who has been the biggest match-winner after Sunil Gavaskar in Tests. Zaheer, who has 350 wickets, Laxman... and all these guys.”
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