The factors that lead to a cricketer's retirement
It was indeed a difficult decision to announce my retirement from first-class cricket, which I did a few days ago. It's too early to assess the impact that call will have on my life as I need to find another passion to fill the void left by what I did for the better part of the last 25-odd years.
However the number of factors that a sportsman takes into account while retiring, could be as highlighted in the paragraphs to follow, at least from my thoughts over the last few days:
Maintaining performance level: For a sportsman, something that which is very important is self respect and the respect earned in the dressing room on account of performances. No matter how long an individual has played the game, he cannot live on past history. He needs to be consistent enough so that he continues to be an asset for his team. More so, the performances have to be important for the team's results and have to come at crucial junctures. If a player foresees that there is a dip in form due to decrease in reflexes, he would fall in his own eyes and would stand to lose the self respect that is so important to go out of a group with happy memories.
Overall impact on team ethics: For a player in his late 30s, as I am, no matter how hard you try it is impossible to train in the way that younger players do. A mature team management allows senior players to train at their own pace and expects these players to use their experience in match situations. However, if the privileges allowed at training or the amount of time a player spends on the physio's table increases, there is a danger that the team management will find it difficult to maintain a consistent code of conduct in the dressing room. This is bad for the unity of the team.
Transition phase of the team: A team sport generally requires leaders within the group to ensure the performance of all individuals. Such leaders are required more in the transition phase of the team wherein a team which has played and won championships loses many of its key players due to retirements or non-selection. This transition phase which requires the experience of senior players cannot be too as it can adversely impact the future of the team. In such a case, either fresh selections are wrong of the senior pro has lost his effectiveness.
Ambition within the team: It is very difficult for a captain to lead a team with many senior players because it will be tough to impose his views and ideas. Similarly, if there is already a settled player with right leadership ingredients, the older ones should make way for the new with the assurance that the team will survive and prosper due to the loss of experience.
All the above factors weighted down on my mind in the week before I took the decision to retire as Railways cricketer. There was also the requirements of my family, who wished to have more of a contribution from a father and husband at home. However, in a few months, maybe six or eight, I believe I will find the desire to be attached in some way to this game again.
More about Sanjay Bangar
One of the most experienced active cricketers on the first-class circuit, Sanjay Bangar is a two-time Ranji Trophy – in 2001-02 and in 2004-05, when he led the side – and Irani Trophy winner with Railways. He played 12 Tests and 15 ODIs for India and was part of famous victories from 2001-2003.
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