It is every player’s dream to represent his country. The first match for a player is always an emotional moment. A particular player is always delighted to make his maiden appearance after years of hard work at the domestic level. However, playing the swansong is always a different feeling altogether. In fact, there are players who could have played more but choose to hang their boots from International Cricket.

Consequently, they sent shocking waves in the cricket world even when the age was not their Achilles Heel. Thus, we take a look at five players who retired early from International cricket.

Brendon McCullum

Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, India vs Windies 2018
Brendon McCullum. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Brendon McCullum called it a day when at the age of 34 years. McCullum was at the top of his fitness and it came as a shock when he announced his retirement from International Cricket. In fact, McCullum still comes up with a brilliant acrobatic display in the ongoing Big Bash League while playing for Brisbane Heat.

The former New Zealand skipper always played the game in the right spirit. He was the epitome of the gentlemen’s game and always held the sportsman spirit of the game. The combative right-hander played 101 Test match, 260 ODIs and 71 T20Is for the Kiwis.

The pugnacious batsman scored 6453 runs in red ball version, 6083 runs in 50-overs format and 2140 runs in T20I career. McCullum played his last match against Australia in February 2016.

AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

AB had sent shocking waves in the cricketing world.

South Africa’s talisman batsman AB de Villiers sent shocking waves in the cricketing world when he pulled curtains on his career in May 2018. de Villiers claimed he was too tired to continue playing the International cricket. However, the Proteas linchpin batsman is still playing in the different T20 leagues across the globe. In fact, de Villiers had also taken a sabbatical of almost two years from the red ball version.

South Africa wanted the services of AB de Villiers for the World Cup but he decided to end his International career. AB de Villiers played 114 Test matches, 228 One-Dayers, and 78 T20Is. The right-hander scored 8765 Test runs, 9577 ODI runs and 1672 T20I runs in his illustrious career.

The talisman felt he had no fuel left in the tank and decided to hang his boots. de Villiers could have played more International cricket but he pulled off a surprise for everyone. The right-hander played his last match on March 30 in the Test match against Australia.

Mitchell Johnson

Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson. Image Courtesy: Getty

Mitchell Johnson retired from the game at an age of 34 years. Johnson was bowling with fire but decided to bid adieu to International cricket. The fiery fast bowler played his swansong on November 13, 2015, against New Zealand.

Johnson is well known for his sublime bowling in the Ashes of 2015. The southpaw paceman was well known for his bouncers and asked difficult questions from the batsmen. Furthermore, Johnson had good speed under his belt which helped him in breathing down the neck of the opposition’s batsmen.

The left-handed pacer scalped 313 wickets in 73 Test matches. He took 239 wickets in 153 ODIs and 38 wickets in T20I matches. Furthermore, Johnson was also handy with bat and scored crucial runs for Australia while batting lower down the order. He scored 2065 runs in his Test career and 951 runs in ODI format.

Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith, England vs India
Graeme Smith. (Image Courtesy: Getty Images)

Smith led South Africa with aplomb.

Graeme Smith is one of the most successful captains of the game. In fact, he was the only captain to lead South Africa in more than 100 Test matches. He was handed over the captaincy reins at an early age and grew in confidence after delivering the goods for the team.

The veteran batsman decided to hang his boots at the age of 33 years as he played his last match in 2014. He played his final match against Australia. Smith led South Africa with aplomb and took them to new heights at International circuit.

Smith played 117 Test matches for the Proteas in which he scored 9265 runs. Furthermore, he scored 6989 runs in 197 ODI matches. The talisman right-hander amassed 982 runs in 33 matches.

Shane Watson 

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Watson was one of the best all-rounders.

Australia’s Shane Watson was one of the best all-rounders to have embraced the game. Watson was a power hitter who had the skills to smash any bowling attack in the game. In fact, Watson bowled at express pace in the young days of his career. However, his pace dropped considerably with age and continuous trouble of injuries.

Meanwhile, Shane Watson is currently leading Sydney Thunder in the ongoing Big Bash League. Watson played his last T20 match in Australian colors against India when he was 34 years old. In fact, he is still going strong in different T20 leagues across the globe.

Watson played 59 Test matches for Australia in which he scored 3731 runs and scalped 75 wickets. He collected 5757 runs in 190 One Day matches and bagged 168 wickets in his 50-overs version.

The talismanic all-rounder scored 1462 runs in 58 T20I matches and took 48 wickets in the shortest format of the game.