Top 5 exceptional players whose careers ended on a sour note

Tarun Kumar Singh

James Taylor looked a promising talent for England

Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. Over the years, there have been many career-ending incidents or series of them that have happened on the field, and even off it, that brought down curtains on the careers of some highly-talented cricketers.

While some incidents are tragic, quite a few of them were sudden, bringing a screeching half to careers of top-quality players. Among numerous shining careers in cricket, there are a few which ended abruptly.

Here we will look at 5 players whose careers were cut short due to injuries or various other factors.

#5 James Taylor

James Taylor

James Taylor represented England in the Under-19 World Cup and went on to make his international debut at the age of just 19. It was his textbook technique and hunger for runs that saw him earning praise from the national team selectors.

Although the right-handed batsman was always in the mix, the chances started coming his way regularly after England's 2013-14 Ashes debacle. Gradually growing in stature over the period, Taylor was at peak of his career, having helped England beat South Africa in a Test series in 2015-16.

But tragedy struck soon after as he was diagnosed with rare heart disease (ARVC) which forced him to take early retirement from cricket when he was just 26 years old.

He would have been a dependable middle-order batsman had his health allowed him to play but since then, he has been forced to try his hand in coaching and commentary.

#4 Jonathan Trott

Stress got the better of Trott

Born in South Africa, Jonathan Trott was selected to play at the highest level for England. The right-handed batsman played at the Under-19 level for South Africa. However, his family history allowed him to play for England, with Trott having roots in Britain.

Trott rose to fame, playing at the No.3 spot for England in Test cricket. He was the ICC and ECB Cricketer of the Year in 2011 and was gradually slotting into the role of the England team's anchor in the batting order.

However, his career faced a debacle in the 2013-14 Ashes series in Australia as it proved for many other English cricketers. It was during this series that Trott faced major stress and anxiety-related issues. Trott did take an indefinite break from cricket and tried returning afterwards, but soon retired from all forms of cricket.

#3 Mark Boucher

Mark Boucher is arguably the greatest wicketkeeper in South African history

Probably the best wicketkeeper to have played for South Africa, Mark Boucher's international career was halted by a freak accident.

Although he had planned to retire after the England series in 2012, an accident during a practice game against Somerset forced him to call it quits earlier than planned.

The incident occurred when Boucher was keeping wickets for South Africa against Somerset. A ball from Imran Tahir hit the stumps and the bail flew straight into his eye, causing serious damage.

Boucher was forced to retired from the sport based on medical advice, bringing down curtains on a highly successful career.

#2 Vinod Kambli

Kambli failed to live up to his immense talent

Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli were childhood friends and started taking giant strides in cricketing circles together. They forged a partnership of 664* against St. Xavier's College in which both the batsmen scored unbeaten triple centuries.

Unlike many other gifted players who had circumstances going against them, in Kambli's case, it was a different outlook that brought about his downfall.

The left-handed batsman was immensely gifted. He had two double hundreds and two hundreds in his first 8 innings in Test cricket but seemed to lack the intent and hunger required at the highest level to keep up with the demands of being a professional cricketer.

His form soon dipped and was dropped from the team before falling out of the reckoning altogether. His approach towards cricket was rather questionable and it is a big shame that such a talented cricketer couldn't live up to the billing.

#1 Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen brought the swagger back into cricket

One of the most naturally gifted cricketers to play the game, Kevin Pietersen announced his arrival in a big way at the international stage in 2005.

It was his innings of 158 in the 2005 Ashes series at Oval against an Australian attack comprising of Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne that brought him accolades from all over the world.

The South African-born batsman remained an integral part of English batting for nearly a decade. However, he often found himself amidst controversy and had many well-publicised multiple fallouts with fellow teammates.

After the 2013-14 Ashes catastrophe Down Under, Pietersen was made the scapegoat and was ousted from the team despite being the highest run-scorer for England in the series.

It can be attributed to his differences with former teammate and then Director of ECB, Andrew Strauss, but he never played for England after that and retired from all forms of cricket recently.