The South African announced his retirement from the Test match format on the eve of the second Test against India during the just concluded two-nation ODI and Test series tournament in South Africa.
A Zee Research Group (ZRG) study of cricketers that exited from one or the other format of the game in the recent past showed an overall general decline in their performance in formats they continued to engage in. The study takes into account the performance of matches played across formats as of January 7, 13.
The study evaluated batting and bowling averages before and after retirement. Therefore, two sets of averages emerged: average for all international matches played post retirement by a cricketer and cumulative average in that format before retirement.
The list of cricketers whose performance thus deteriorated is long. Former captain of Australia Ricky Ponting announced his retirement from One Day Internationals (ODIs) in February 2012 while choosing to stick to play Test cricket. Ponting’s Test batting average before his ODI retirement decision was 53.44 but for the matches he played after the retirement it skid to a career low of 18.44.
Likewise, master blaster Sachin Tendulkar registered a drop in Test average after quitting ODI cricket in December 2012. His Test average was 54.64 before leaving the 50-overs game but dropped to 33 for Tests he played thereafter.
Similarly, former England captain, Andrew Strauss, who retired from one-day cricket in May, 2011 following the World Cup couldn’t perk up his game in Tests. His Tests average which was 42.98 dipped to 30.74 for matches played post retirement move.
The study highlights the importance of one go retirement for batsman as well as bowlers. The tiered approach comes with a negative performance tag. Here is how:
Sri Lanka’s premier fast bowler Lasith Malinga gave up Test cricket in April 2011. His ODI bowling average before partial retirement stood at 26.38 and has now increased to 28.32 post retirement. The one day average of another Sri Lankan, Muttiah Muralitharan who quit Test cricket in July, 2010 also marginally increased from 23.07 to 23.21.
Moreover, Indian spin legend, Anil Kumble who said goodbye to limited over cricket in March 2007 couldn’t improve his Test form thereafter. His bowling average which stood at 28.65 before retirement from ODIs jumped to 37.22. Similarly, with retirement bowling average of English fast bowler, Darren Gough, who quit Test cricket in August 2003, went up from 24.96 to 32.23.
However, there are a few exceptions, where players have scaled up after retiring from one format. Performance of current Australian captain, Michael Clarke has improved after he quit 20-20 cricket in January 2011. After the retirement, his batting average in Tests has gone up from 46.49 to 60.86, while, his ODI average has scaled to 48.92 from 44.01.
The ODI batting average of Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan who retired from Test cricket in October 2013 has reached 53 from 37.46. Pakistan former skipper Younis Khan who quit his T20 career in June 2009 has improved his batting average in Test afterwards but failed to repeat the same in ODIs. Khan’s batting average in Test has increased from 51.80 to 52.04 but in ODIs the average has dropped to 27.71 from 33.40.
Will South African all rounder reverse or follow the trend?
Kallis, of course, has the attitude and skill set to established trend of partial retirement not changing the fortunes of the cricketer.
Among those who announced Test cricket retirement in last two years included Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Andrew Strauss. Unlike Kallis they did not score a ton on their last Test outings.
Exhibit – Performance of players in other format after quitting one format