Some players retire receiving a guard of honor from the opposition, some have farewell matches scheduled for them while some just wither away from the limelight without anyone noticing.
Pakistani left arm spinner, Abdur Rehman, has gone down the same way too. He was away from the international arena for well over four years and sensing that he doesn’t really have a chance to make a comeback, he’s decided to call it a day.
“I am taking this moment to sign off from international cricket with a heavy heart. It was a tough decision, but I’ve decided to call it a day.”
Rehman remained an integral part of Pakistan’s team from 2007-2014. He represented Pakistan in 22 test matches, 31 ODIs, and 8 T20s, picking up 99, 30 and 11 wickets respectively. He rose to stardom during Pakistan’s various test series in the UAE where he formed a deadly duo with Saeed Ajmal.
The Sialkot born spinner made his international debut in 2006 under Inzamam’s captaincy. The following year, he was selected for the test series against South Africa. Rehman made an instant impression in the longest format of the game, ending with twin four-wicket hauls on his debut. He also ended up as the highest wicket-taker in the series.
The pinnacle of his career came in 2011-2012. England, the then World No.1’s were touring UAE to face Pakistan in a 3 match series. Rehman ended up taking 19 wickets in the series and his 6-25 in the Abu Dhabi test brought Pakistan back from the clutches of defeat to complete a remarkable come-from-behind victory.
Abdur Rehman played his last test against Sri Lanka in Colombo. He took three wickets in the match, ending his career with 99 wickets. Had he got just 1 more wicket, he would’ve become only the second left-arm spinner from Pakistan to take 100 wickets (Iqbal Qasim remains the only one). While addressing the press after he bid farewell to international cricket, he expressed his disappointment of not getting there.
“I’m sad I couldn’t get that 100th wicket, that would’ve really been something, but I’m still grateful for 99 wickets in 22 Tests. Very few left-arm spinners have that.”
Rehman’s reputation took a hit when he was given a 12-week ban for failing a drug test. When he came back, he had lost his killer instinct. The zip was no more there and Pakistan soon replaced him with Zulfiqar Babar, who cemented his place quickly.
Professional cricketers start thinking about retirement around 35-36. Abdur Rehman hung up his boots at 38. The fact that made his retirement more bitter than sweet is that he last played an international game in 2014 when he was 34 and probably had much more cricket left in him. And had he not been involved in the doping scandal, God knows where he would’ve ended up among Pakistan’s best spinners.
Abdur Rehman has now limited his career to only domestic cricket. He is expected to add more to his already fantastic domestic numbers. He currently has 640 wickets from 179 first-class matches, and 237 wickets from 169 list A appearances.
Pinata congratulates Abdur Rehman on a stellar career and wishes him a very happy retirement!