It took the ‘God of cricket’ five World Cups and a journey of 22 years to finally lay his hands on the 50-overs World Cup. Tendulkar continued to play for more than two years after that, eventually retiring from international cricket with a memorable send-off in November, 2013. The Little Master has continued to remain a private person that he was, apart from playing the mentor’s role for the IPL team Mumbai Indians and making the odd guest appearances with a bat in hand. He has also started his own academy in collaboration with the Middlesex County.
It was Captain Cool’s last-ball six in the final which helped India regain cricket’s biggest prize after a gap of 28 years at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Dhoni had earlier lifted the first-ever T20 World Cup in 2007 in South Africa with a ragtag team and followed up the 2011 success with the ICC Champions Trophy – making him the only captain to boast of all three major ICC trophies. The realistic chances of him turning out in the blue Indian shirt again is extremely remote now, unless he proves himself in the Indian Premier League 2020 – which may be postponed altogether because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It had been a fairytale journey for Kohli since 2011 during which he has established himself as the most influential cricketer of this generation. While he has established himself as the heir apparent to Tendulkar’s throne, Kohli is yet to tick a few boxes as captain though – be it for the Indian team or his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore. He is yet to win a major ICC championship, having lost in the semi-finals of the last World Cup in England, World T20 while his Men in Blue also lost the 2017 Champions Trophy final to Pakistan. He is yet to land a single IPL for RCB, despite being one of the most prolific scorers in the tournament’s history.
The Player of the Series in the tournament (362 runs), Yuvraj had life throwing a gauntlet at him when soon after the World Cup, he was diagnosed with a rare germ cell cancer and had to undergo a prolonged treatment in the US. In what could be termed as the mother of all comebacks in the sport, ‘Yuvi’ played in the T20 World Cup the very next year as well as domestic cricket with fierce commitment. However, he started to be in and out of the team thereafter – though the crowdpuller was a quite a big draw among the IPL franchises. His last IPL season with Mumbai Indians was bit of a letdown as he mostly warmed the benches and eventually called it a day in mid 2019.
A gritty southpaw, Gambhir played a crucial role behind India’s triumph in 2011 as his innings of 97 laid the foundation for the hosts’ successful chase against Sri Lanka in the final. However, he was sidelined from the Indian team thereafter but continued to play domestic cricket and led a turnaround in the fortunes of Kolkata Knight Riders by winning two IPL trophies with them. He was called up to the Test squad for the last time in 2016 but failed to impress the selectors since then. Gambhir finally bid adieu to the game in late 2018 and took a plunge in politics, where he is now a Member of Parliament for Bharatiya Janata Party from New Delhi.
One of India’s leading matchwinners at the start of the new millennium, the swashbuckling opener’s stay in the Indian team didn’t last long post the World Cup with the rise of youngsters Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. After announcing his retirement on his 37th birthday, Sehwag has donned multiple hats being part of commentary teams, serving as a cricket expert for various media outlets besides serving as the mentor of Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.
Hailed as one of the most crafty left-arm pacers in the game after Wasim Akram, ‘Zaks’ ended the World Cup as the joint highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 21 scalps. However, he was laid low by a hamstring injury that forced him out of the side and seemed to have lost some of his venom on his return to the international stage. In the IPL, he continued to out-think batsmen with his guile while leading the Delhi Capitals (formerly Delhi Daredevils) during the 2016-17 editions. Having hung up his boots altogether as a player, Zaheer has now joined Mumbai Indians as their Director of Cricket Operations.
‘Bhajji’ proved to be a handful on the slow surfaces of India during the tournament with his variation and experience. Expected to lead the spin attack after Anil Kumble’s retirement, he however lost his edge by having fewer wickets to show for with each passing game. The simultaneous rise of Ashwin didn’t help Singh’s case either – who continued to be overlooked but seemed to be content with producing impressive IPL performances. He now has four IPL winners’ medals to show for Mumbai before moving on to Chennai Super Kings last year.
He came into the mix with on the back of a good showing in the IPL for Chennai Super Kings, but Ashwin only played a couple of matches during the tournament. A thinking cricketer, Ashwin soon rose as India’s No.1 spinner across formats and ruled for a number of years till he was jettisoned from Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri’s plans in the white ball game after a poor outing in the 2017 Champions Trophy. Since then, though Ashwin continues to be a regular feature in the Test format, he has been missing the bus in the shorter formats though he captained Kings XI Punjab in the IPL last year and was traded to Delhi Capitals for the 2020 season.
The spunky left-hander’s weakness against the short ball meant that he wasn’t going to be a consistent feature in the Indian side for long even though he kept piling up the runs consistently for Chennai in the IPL. Though he has had his chances a few times – as late as July 2018 in England – his exploits in the domestic scene and IPL often failed to match his international runs. A recent knee surgery which has now put a question mark over his fitness, along with the emergence of the likes of rivals like Shreyas Iyer or Manish Pandey in the Indian middle order, it looks virtually end of the road for him in an Indian shirt.