IPL: 5 players who might be playing their last season

With less than a week to go for IPL 2020, teams have started to assemble in UAE, undergoing a six-day quarantine before they began their training. The anticipation is mounting among fans to see their favourite cricketers in action, but it could also be the final season for a few ageing superstars.

5. Chris Gayle

The undisputed champion of T20 cricket, Gayle will be 41 by the time IPL 2020 gets going. In the past, he’s had issues with his back and hamstring, even though it has done little to arrest his run-making. With indifferent form in the last year or so, and his West Indies career also in doubt, we could be seeing the last of the Universe Boss in the tournament.

4. Harbhajan Singh

One of only three bowlers to take 150 wickets in the IPL, Harbhajan could be turning out for his last IPL season, given the lack of cricket throughout the year for the cricketer. The only competitive cricket he has played in recent times is the IPL, and at 40, an India comeback is also unlikely for the off-spinner, making IPL 2020 a possible swansong for him.

3. Shane Watson

The all-rounder has been a retired international player for the last four years, but continues to ply his trade in domestic T20 cricket. In 2018, he turned out to be CSK’s second-highest run-maker, taking them to the title with a century in the final, and scoring a valiant 80 in the IPL 2019 final too. However, the lack of cricket throughout the year, and an ageing body that has been subjected to a lot of injuries could mean this is his final season.

2. Dale Steyn

The ferocious pacer retired from Test cricket last year, a few months after his World Cup dreams were cut short by a shoulder injury. It’s an issue that has been bothering him for the last four years, which has made the final leg of his career pretty start-stop. He has an eye on the T20 World Cup next year, but no contract at CSA, and therfore, lack of international cricket, as well as his injury problems could also bring an end to his career in the IPL.

1. Lasith Malinga

The slinger from Sri Lanka, the highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL, could well be playing this last season this year. He made a surprise entry into the Mumbai Indians lineup after being named a bowling coach in 2018, and was a key figure in their title win last season. However, age is not on his side, and his Sri Lanka career is also moving towards sunset, and he’s set to miss at least the first half of this season, which could indicate that he might make space for a youngster next year.