Lasith Malinga is the only man to ever take two World Cup hat tricks. Photo: Reuters

This World Cup will be the last of many modern-day greats of the game.

The following are five players who will most likely never play in a World Cup again, though you can never say never.

Due to the increasing popularity of T20 franchise cricket, many players are now playing well past the age of 40 and maintaining high levels of fitness.

1 Chris Gayle (West Indies)

Gayle announced that he will be retiring from 50-over cricket after the World Cup, though he will continue to be available for selection for T20 matches and likely look to play in the Mzansi Super League next year.

Gayle will bow out as a modern-day legend of the game, and will not only be missed by West Indians, but the international cricket community at large.

As he is a T20 legend, Gayle will likely continue to play T20 franchise cricket well into his 40s.

The West Indies do have problems with consistency and should they struggle to find an opening batsman to serve as Gayle’s replacement, it will not be surprising to see him come out of retirement.

If there is one man on this list who could potentially come out of retirement and make a shock appearance at the next World Cup, it is most likely Gayle. 

2 Hashim Amla (South Africa)

While he has yet to confirm his retirement, this is almost certainly Amla’s final World Cup.

While he is one of the greatest South African batsmen and one of the best of all time at playing the anchor role, Amla has struggled to replicate his form of old during the past two years.

This is reflected by the fact that he averaged over 50 in both Test and 50-over cricket for the vast majority of his career, but this has fallen below 50 in both formats of the game during the last two years.

South African have some blossoming young talent set to come through the ranks such as Sinethemba Qeshile, Janneman Malan and Ryan Rickelton coming through the ranks, and there will be no shortage of capable long-term replacements for Amla during the next World Cup cycle.

3 Shoaib Malik (Pakistan)

One of the few international cricketers that has been playing internationally since before the dawn of the 21st century, Malik made his international debut for Pakistan during a One-Day International against the West Indies in October 1999.

Malik will go down as one of the most consistent all-rounders of the modern generation, and is among an elite few who have taken more than 100 One-Day International wickets and scored more than 7 000 runs.

Malik will be retiring from 50-over cricket after the World Cup, but will look to play for his country during the T20 World Cup in 2020.

4 Dale Steyn (South Africa)

Though still a world-class bowler, Steyn has been plagued by injuries during the last five years and spent more time on the sidelines than on the pitch.

This will almost certainly be the Phalaborwa Express’ last World Cup.

He has played his part and as one of the best producers of fast bowlers in the world, the Proteas will have no trouble finding a long-term replacement for the 36-year-old.

Lutho Sipamla and Daryn Dupavillon are just two of the talented fast bowlers in South African franchise cricket who can be summoned during the next World Cup cycle.

5 Lasith Malinga

While he has never won a World Cup, Malinga is a Cricket World Cup legend. His unorthodox bowling action saw him become a cult figure in the Cricket World during the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

He also claimed a hat trick against South Africa, which consisted of four wickets in four balls.

During the 2011 Cricket World Cup, Malinga recorded a second World Cup hat trick against Kenya.

He is the only man to ever take two World Cup hat tricks, and his record will be difficult for even the most world-class bowlers to beat.

Malinga is set to retire from 50-over cricket after the World Cup, and will retire from all forms of international cricket after the T20 World Cup next year.

He retires at a time during which Sri Lanka are undergoing a difficult period, and the Lankans are likely to have difficulty finding a replacement for the veteran.  

@eshlinv


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