Former South African captain Graeme Smith recently quit international cricket after his side went down to Australia in the third Test at Cape Town. The 33-year-old, who had been struggling for form, managed only 5 and 3 in his farewell Test as South Africa went down by 245 runs and lost the series 2-1. Here’s a look at a few other greats, who also ended their career on a losing note.
Ricky Ponting: The former Aussie skipper played his last international match in the Perth Test against South Africa in November-December 2012. Ponting struggled in a big way, making only 4 in his first innings and 8 in his second. Australia went down by a massive margin of 309 runs in the Test, the third of the three-match series. The loss also meant that Australia lost the series 1-0 as the first two Tests had been drawn.
Rahul Dravid: The great Indian wall ended his career on a highly disappointing note. He played his last international match in the Test against Australia at Adelaide in January 2012. Dravid did not announce his retirement immediately, but it did turn out to be his last match for the country. He was bowled for 1 in the first innings and, even in the second innings, he only managed 25. India’s batting collapsed in both the innings, and they went on to lose the Test by 298 runs. This was also the 4th Test of their disastrous Aussie tour, which they lost 4-0 in a highly embarrassing manner.
VVS Laxman: Another Indian giant also played his last international match in the same Test as Rahul Dravid. It turned out to be a strange coincidence. Dravid and Laxman had featured in numerous sensational partnerships during their career, and actually also made their international debut in the same year – 1996. It was only fitting that they quit international cricket together. For the record, Laxman made 18 in the first innings and 35 in the second, to complete a surprisingly poor series Down Under.
Brian Lara: The West Indian legend played his final international game during the 2007 World Cup match played at home, in Bridgetown, Barbados, against England on April 21, 2007. Lara would have loved to come up with another magical knock at one of his favourite grounds. He looked in good nick as he raced to 18 in 16 balls with three crisp boundaries before being run-out following a mix-up with Marlon Samuels off his next delivery. West Indies still managed to post 300 batting first. But, Kevin Pietersen’s 91-ball 100 enabled England to pull off a close one-wicket triumph.
Javed Miandad: The Pakistan great came out of retirement for the 1996 World Cup, but could not pull off the incredible. Fittingly, his last game was against India in the high-volatile quarter-final of the tournament played at Bangalore on March 9, 1996. Miandad struggled his way to 38 off 64 balls before being run out.
--By A Cricket Analyst