It has been a week for cricketing retirements.
First, former Indian batter Robin Uthappa made the announcement that he was retiring from all forms of cricket at the age of 36, saying that we wanted to spend more time with his family as well as “chart a new phase” in his life.
And that was followed by the decision of one of the most successful women cricketers in recent years, Rachael Haynes of Australia, to end her international and state career. She has been one of the dominant figures helping Australia become the dominant force in women’s cricket.
Uthappa hangs up his bat
Uthappa made his debut for Karnataka in the 2002/2003 season and soon made a name for himself as a hard-hitting batter, first attracting national attention when he made a century in the 2006 Challenger Trophy at Mohali.
The following year, he made his ODI debut for India against England in Indore, and immediately impressed, making 86 against an England attack that included Jimmy Anderson, Sajid Mahmood and Liam Plunkett.
Later that year he was picked for the World Cup in the West Indies, but both he and the team had a disappointing campaign, as India exited after the first round stage. He was asked to play the finisher role further down the order on their tour of England later that same year, and starred with 47 off just 33 balls at The Oval.
Undoubtedly the highlight of his international career was the T2OI World Cup of 2007, which was held in South Africa.
The two teams then met again in the final, which was played at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Although Uthappa himself could only manage 8 runs with the bat, his team won by five runs to win the trophy, returning home to a hero’s welcome.
He lost his place in the international set-up after that, and despite periodic recalls, never fully regained it.
Although he was never picked for the Test team, he did earn 59 Indian caps in all, 46 in ODIs and 13 in T20Is, and finished with a total of 1,183 international runs.
He had a distinguished Indian T20 league career, though, playing for the Mumbai Indians, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Pune Warriors India, and then, most successfully with the Kolkata Knight Riders.
His best individual season was in 2014, when he not only won the Orange Cap for the highest run scorer but also helped the franchise go on to win the title that year.
Seven years later, this time with the Chennai Super Kings, he lifted the trophy again, and played a major role in the final, scoring 31 off just 15 balls against his former franchise.
He was retained for the 2022 season, but managed just 230 runs in 12 innings, as the Super Kings endured a campaign to forget.
Haynes stellar career
One year younger than Uthappa, Haynes retires having played 6 Tests, 77 ODIs, and 84 T20Is for Australia. She is the ninth-highest run-scorer for her country in limited overs cricket, making 2,585 ODI runs, and 850 in the T20I format.
Since 2018, she has been deputy to Meg Lanning, a period which has coincided with the golden age of Australian women’s cricket. In that period they have won two T20 World Cups, the 50-over World Cup, and, last month, the Commonwealth Gold Medal in Birmingham.
Haynes just missed out on a ton in her first Test, making 98, but she did make three figures twice in ODIs, her highest score coming earlier this year against England in the World Cup when she made 130.
An occasional bowler, she contributed with 13 wickets with the ball, and was an excellent fielder.
Cricket Australia have congratulated Haynes on her career and praised her for being a role model for kids coming into the game.
The opening bat, who coped with the demands of having to bat further down the order later in her Australian career, has also confirmed that she has played her last match for her State side, New South Wales.
She will play for the Sydney Thunder in the Women’s Big Bash League, but again has indicated that this is likely to be her final campaign for them.
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