A number of great batsmen and lethal bowlers retired from the game in 2018. From AB de Villiers to Alastair Cook, let us take a look at some prominent cricketers who called it quits during the year.
Veteran Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez announced his retirement from Test cricket after a dismal batting form in the series against New Zealand in UAE.
The 38-year-old came back after a two-year gap in October, notching a brilliant 126 against Australia in Dubai but struggled since.
Hafeez, who has also played 203 one-day internationals and 89 T20Is, featured in 55 Tests for Pakistan, scoring at an average of 37.64.
Also an off-break bowler, he took 53 Test wickets but his career as a bowler was marred by questions over the legality of his bowling action.
His action was reported on three separate occasions, the last in October last year.
AB DE VILLIERS:
Arguably the greatest name in modern-day cricket, South African batman AB de Villiers announced a surprise retirement from all international cricket in May this year after a 14-year career.
De Villiers, 34, was famed for mixing traditional and unorthodox shots, as well as his fast scoring and ability to hit the ball to all parts of the ground, thus earning him the nickname ‘Mr 360’.
He holds the world record for the fastest half-century (16 balls), hundred (31 balls) and 150 (64 balls) in ODIs, and is one of the few batsmen to top the Test and 50-over rankings at the same time.
He represented South Africa in 114 Test matches, 228 ODIs and 78 T20Is, with a Test average of 50.66 and as the fourth-highest run-scorer for South Africa with 8,765 runs, with 22 centuries.
England’s leading Test run-scorer, Alastair Cook retired from international cricket after the fifth Test against India in September. The 33-year-old hung up his boots as the sixth-highest scorer in the red ball format.
The left-handed opening batsman, who captained England in 59 Tests, led his side to two Ashes victories over Australia but suffered a 5-0 series whitewash Down Under in 2013-14. He resigned from the captaincy in 2016 after a 4-0 defeat in India.
He averaged 45.35 in 161 Tests and 36.40 in 92 ODIs.
Former Australia paceman Mitchell Johnson, who terrified England during the 2013/14 Ashes series and captured 313 Test wickets through a roller-coaster career, retired from all cricket.
The left-armer had quit internationals in 2015 but remained a useful bowler in Twenty20 competitions, including for Perth Scorchers in the Australian ´Big Bash´ tournament.
Johnson struggled for consistency through much of his career but was a human wrecking ball in the 2013/14 whitewash of England, capturing 37 wickets in a legacy-defining series.
He also amassed 239 wickets in ODIs and was more than a handy tail-end slogger, scoring a century and 11 fifties in his 73 Tests.
South African pacer Morne Morkel bid adieu to his international career citing a demanding schedule that put a strain on his family, as the Proteas completed a 3-1 dramatic series win over Australia in April.
The 33-year-old retired with 309 Test wickets to his name, and finished fifth on the all-time South African Test wicket-takers list.
Morkel, who made his Test debut against India in 2006, represented South Africa in 86 Tests, 117 ODIs and 44 T20Is.
West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo announced his retirement from international cricket in October 2018.
The 35-year-old Trinidadian, who made his West Indies debut in 2004, played 40 Tests, 164 one-day internationals and 66 T20 internationals. His last appearance for his country came in the shortest format against Pakistan in September 2016.
‘DJ’ Bravo, known for his big-hitting ability and a wide range of slower deliveries, ended his international stint with 2,200 runs at an average of 31.42 in Tests.
In ODIs, he finished with 2,968 runs at 25.36, while claiming 199 wickets at an economy rate of 5.41.
Bravo will be in action for Quetta Gladiators during PSL 2019. He also represents the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League and other teams in T20 competitions around the world.
Former Pakistan left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman, who along with teammate Saeed Ajmal famously stunned England during a 3-0 defeat in 2012, announced his retirement from international cricket in October.
The 38-year-old took 19 wickets and Ajmal finished with 24 when Pakistan whitewashed the then-world number one Test team in United Arab Emirates six years ago in one of the finest performances of his career.
He finished his 22 Test career just one short of a deserved hundred wicket mark, while he took 30 in 31 one-days and eight wickets in 11 Twenty20 internationals.
Rehman´s last Test was in Sri Lanka in 2014 before the selectors began picking younger players in his place to form a new team.
His reputation was also briefly hit by a 12-week ban after failing a drugs test during a stint with Somerset just a few months after his brilliant bowling against England in 2012.
One of the most explosive batsmen of his generation, Kevin ‘KP’ Pietersen bid farewell to his cricket career after appearing in his final game for Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Quetta Gladiators in the 2018 edition.
Pietersen, 37, left the sport as England’s second highest run-scorer across all formats of the game combined. In 104 Tests for England, he scored 8,181 runs at an average of 47.28 with 23 centuries and 35 fifties.
In 136 ODIs, he hit 4,440 runs with nine centuries and 25 half-centuries. He also appeared in 37 T20Is, scoring 1,176 runs with seven half-centuries.
With his colourful – and often divisive – career behind him, Pietersen has since focused his efforts on conservation of rhinos with his SORAI initiative (Save Our Rhinos Africa/India).
Indian opener Gautam Gambhir announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, after years of sitting out of the national team.
Gambhir, who played a key role in two of India’s World Cup triumphs, scored 4,154 runs in 58 Tests since making his debut in 2004 against Australia.
He also represented India in 147 one-day internationals and 37 T20 matches, before he started to lose favour with the selectors. His last Test came against England in 2016.
Gambhir has also led Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders to two titles in 2012 and 2014.
Indian batsman Mohammad Kaif retired from all forms of cricket — nearly 12 years after he last stepped out to play an international match for his country.
Kaif, who played 125 ODIs during his six-year career, is famous for his match-winning 87 in the Natwest final against England at Lord’s in 2002.
The 37-year-old decided to quit on the same day he hit the memorable knock — July 13.
Kaif, who played just 13 Tests for India, last featured in an ODI against South Africa in November 2006 before falling off the selectors’ radar.
He scored 2,753 runs in one-day cricket and 624 runs from 13 Tests.
Women cricket legend Jhulan Goswami of India retired from Twenty20 internationals in August.
Fast bowler Goswami, 35, featured in 68 T20Is, including India’s first ever match in the format back in 2006. Since then, she went on to take 56 wickets in the format, including a career-best 5/11, against Australia in 2012.
Goswami is the leading wicket-taker in the world in ODIs and the only one with 200 wickets in the one-day game.