In recent years, the number of retirements in a year has increased. Especially in India, with the competition intense for places in the senior squad, most cricketers at the domestic level are choosing to explore opportunities elsewhere. BCCI does not allow players to participate in global foreign leagues. However, those leagues have a scope for including Indian players, and there is also a decent commercial benefit. Hence, we have seen a few players quit Indian cricket and register themselves for other leagues. In 2021, due to various reasons, many Indian players retired from the game. In this article, we take a look at the best XI of Indian players who retired in 2021.
Openers: Unmukt Chand and Smit Patel
Unmukt Chand and Smit Patel will open the batting for the best XI of Indian players who retired in 2021. Both the players represented India at the U19 level. It has been a trend for players across the globe to now explore options in the USA. Unmukt and Smit were the two high-profile Indians who made the move in 2021.
It was surprising that Unmukt, who was once considered the future of Indian cricket, decided to quit Indian cricket. Smit Patel was also a good wicket-keeper at the domestic level.
Middle-Order: Milind Kumar and Naman Ojha (WK)
Milind Kumar, who once fell into the radar of the selectors, also retired in 2021. He had once done well exceedingly well in the Ranji Trophy. The player has also been a part of IPL. A few seasons ago, he was in the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad.
Naman Ojha had a decent run in Indian cricket. He got to play for India in the absence of MS Dhoni for a few games. Ojha was part of IPL for a very long time. He has also won the competition with Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Madhya Pradesh man will keep wickets for this unit.
All-Rounders: Yusuf Pathan, Stuart Binny and Manan Sharma
Yusuf Pathan, Stuart Binny and Manan Sharma will be the all-rounders in this best XI of Indian players who retired in 2021. Both Yusuf and Stuart played for a considerable time at the highest level. While Yusuf represented India in two formats, Stuart was part of all three formats for Team India. Both also had a fine run in the IPL, especially Yusuf.
30-year-old Manan Sharma also decided to explore opportunities in other nations by quitting Indian cricket. He played for Delhi in domestic cricket and is a left-handed batter who bowls left-arm off-spin. Bipul Sharma is another all-rounder who retired in 2021.
Bowlers: Harbhajan Singh (C), R Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun and Ashoke Dinda
Harbhajan Singh finally announced retirement at the end of 2021. The decision was long due, especially after most players from his batch, had quit the game. Bhajji will lead this squad.
This XI will comprise three pacers, all of whom played for India. Interestingly, they all faced a similar fate. They did well in the domestic circuit but could not cement their place in Team India. In their own right, all can be considered as legends in domestic cricket. However, they could not do well in the blue jersey.
While Vinay Kumar and Ashoke Dinda did not have age on their side, it was surprising that Mithun also quit the game. He was just 31 years old and had been doing well for Karnataka in recent seasons. It now needs to be seen if he also has plans in the USA. He last participated in the T10 League.