Out of the Blue: Shocking retirements in sports in pictures
Kevin Pietersen: His retirement was practically 'enforced' on him, after he was omitted from the tour of the Caribbean and ICC World Twenty20, with the 33-year-old all but conceding in a statement that it was the end of the line for him with England. (Pic/ AFP)
VVS Laxman: His decision to retire in 2012 was so sudden that didn't just surprise the cricketing fraternity but also shocked his wife Sailaja. (Pic/ Suresh K.K.)
Brendon McCullum: The New Zealand captain announced his sudden retirement from all forms of cricket come February 2016. This was a day after New Zealand won the Test series against Sri Lanka. What came as a shock was that MucCullum would retire before the ICC World Twenty20 series beginning in March 2016.
Graeme Swann: The England spinner announced his retirement from international cricket, with only four days to go for the Boxing Day Test against Australia at the MCG. The 34-year-old spinner shocked the cricketing world because of his timing since the retirement was announced with the two Ashes Tests remaining.
Jacques Kallis: The South African all-rounder shocked cricket fans with his decision to retire from Test and first-class cricket midway through the 2013 India series while still in great form.
Graeme Smith: The 33-year-old South African skipper, caught everyone including team-mates and fans unawares, when he informed them of his decision to retire from international cricket at the end of the ongoing third test against Australia at Newlands. He informed his team-mates and Cricket South Africa (CSA) chiefs only at the end of the third day'ÃÂÃÂs play on Monday. (Pic/ AFP)
Michael Hussey: The Australian middle-order batsman took everyone by surprise when he announced that he would retire from international cricket in 2012 in order to spend more time with his family. (Pic/ AFP)
Adam Gilchrist: Australia's hard-hitter stunned the cricketing world when he announced he was retiring from all forms of the game during the fourth and final Test series against India in 2008. His reason for retiring was he felt that his 'competitive edge' was lost after he dropped VVS Laxman. (Pic/ Atul Kamble)
Shoaib Akhtar: The fast bowler announced his retirement from international cricket in the middle of the ICC cricket World Cup 2011. The Rawalpindi Express was derailed after being dropped for PakistanÃÂÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs last two pool matches, against Zimbabwe and Australia, after being hit for 28 runs in the 47th over against New Zealand. (Pic/ Suresh K.K.)
Damien Martyn: Former Australian batsman announced his shock retirement midway through the 2006-07 Ashes series due to lack of form. (Pic/ AFP)
Tatenda Taibu: Zimbabwe's first black captain shocked the cricket world in 2012 when he ended his 11-year-long international career at the age of at 29 to concentrate on his gospel mission. The wicketkeeper-batsman had become the youngest Test captain in history in 2004. (Pic/ AFP)
Not just cricket...Sir Alex Ferguson: 'Fergie' left the football word stunned after announcing his decision to step down as Manchester United manager at the end of the season May 8, 2013. He won 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups and the Champions League twice in his 26 and a half years in charge.
Marion Bartoli shocked the tennis world when she abruptly retired at the age of 28 in August 2013 - a month after winning the Wimbledon. Bartoli cited injuries as the primary reason for her retirement. (Pic/ AFP)