Cricket is the most followed sport in India. Around 227 players have represented India in One-Day Internationals and 295 have donned the white jerseys for the country. Amongst these, many players have made a name for themselves throughout the world and some of them have been immortalized in the chronicles of cricketing history. However, there are some players who could not make the cut in the opportunities provided to them.
Many of these players had promising starts to their career and some of them were even endorsed as the ones who hold the future of Indian cricket. However, after some below-par performances, they were dropped and could not make a comeback into the national side. At present, these cricketers are largely out of favour for being selected in the team.
Here we present a list of 5 active Indian cricketers who faded away:
Pragyan Ojha of India. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
Pragyan Ojha is a slow left-arm orthodox bowler who played for Hyderabad in the domestic circuit. He came into limelight during the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League where he scalped 11 wickets. He was called up to the national side and made his ODI debut against Bangladesh in 2008. Till date, he has played 18 ODIs in which he picked 21 wickets at an average of 31.05. His exploits are far more noticeable in the longest format of the game in which he has 113 wickets to his name in 24 matches at an average of 30.27 including seven 5-wicket hauls.
Ojha had been particularly consistent on the Indian pitches which provided hospitable conditions for his left-arm spin. However, he was never considered for overseas tours because of the pace-friendly wickets. Eventually, he lost his place in the Indian team to Ravindra Jadeja as the team had to strengthen its batting in the lower order. He experienced another low point in his career when he was barred from bowling in December 2014 after his action was found to be illegal. He cleared the test in the very next month and was allowed to resume bowling.
However, Ojha’s stint with the Indian team did not last long as he last played for India in a Test match against West Indies in 2013, just 4 years after his debut. With the emergence of Ravindra Jadeja as a Test player and new players like Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal showing a lot of promise, the career of the 32-year-old spinner might be already over.
Rahul Sharma. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
The tall spinner hailing from Jalandhar in Punjab, Sharma was known more for his ability to extract extra bounce from pitches due to his height rather than his leg-break or googlies. He also shot to fame through his performances in the IPL where he scalped 14 wickets whilst keeping an impressive economy rate. His spell of 4-0-7-2 against Mumbai Indians created a lot of buzz about his name.
In recognition of his accomplishments, he was rewarded with an Indian cap in the 4th ODI against West Indies during the home series in 2011. He immediately made an impact, scalping 3 wickets. The career of the leg-spinner was marred by a scandal in which he was accused of taking drugs along with the South-African pacer Wayne Parnell. However, he later came out clean and cleared the doping test conducted by BCCI. His career was further cut-short by injuries which kept him out of competitive cricket for a long time.
After impressing a lot in the limited opportunities he got, the now 32-year-old player is nowhere to be found. His resurgence and comeback to the Indian team seem highly improbable because of his increasing age and the presence of quality young leg spinners like Chahal and Rahul Chahar.
Naman Ojha. (Photo by IANS)
The wicket-keeper batsman from Madhya Pradesh is a classic example of untapped potential. In 19 years of his first-class career, he has scored 9560 runs in 143 matches with 21 hundreds and has also effected 471 dismissals. Despite having an exceptional record in the domestic circuit, he never got as many opportunities at the highest level.
In the solitary Test match he played, he could score only 56 runs. Also, he was dismissed for a single run in the lone ODI he played. Ojha’s performances were overshadowed by the brilliance of MS Dhoni, Wriddhiman Saha and Parthiv Patel.
He had been an integral part of the IPL since 2009. He made some valuable contributions for Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad. The highlight of his IPL career came in a match against Kings XI Punjab wherein he smashed 79 runs from 36 balls. In the cash-rich league, he has scored 1554 runs in 94 innings’ at a strike rate of 118.35 with the highest score of 94*.
Lately, Ojha has been out of contention for a spot in the Indian team. The presence of wicket-keepers like Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha and Sanju Samson has kept him out of the hunt. In the auction for the 12th edition of IPL in 2019, he went unsold. Rejuvenation of the 36-year-old wicket-keeper’s career seems implausible.
Vinay Kumar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Popularly known as the ‘Davengere Express’, Vinay Kumar is a pacer who relies more on accuracy, cutters and slower balls rather than express pace. He has the ability to extract awkward bounce from the pitch. The Karnataka born seamer made his international debut in 2010 against Zimbabwe but didn’t accomplish anything noteworthy. Impressive performance in IPL 2011 for Kochi Tuskers Kerala led to a national call-up for him. He has played 31 ODIs till date taking 38 wickets at an average of 37.45 with the best bowling figures of 4/30.
In the only Test match he played, he could scalp a solitary wicket while leaking 73 runs. His International career presents a deep contrast with his domestic stint. He has scalped 459 wickets in 130 matches at an average of 23.53 and best bowling figures of 8/32. He also led Karnataka to a treble of domestic titles in the years 2013-14 and 2014-15.
With the arrival of quality pacers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, Kumar was soon out of contention for selection in the Indian team. He also went unsold in the auction for the 12th edition of IPL. It is clear that the curtains are almost drawn on the career of the 35-year-old seamer.
Wasim Jaffer. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Wasim Jaffer is one of the legends of Indian domestic cricket and unfortunately, one of those players who could never get a chance to prove his mettle at the highest level. Currently, he is the person having maximum runs to his name in the 85-year long history of the tournament. He has scored 19147 runs in 253 first-class matches at an average of 51.19 with 57 hundreds and the highest score of 314*.
He made his Test debut against South Africa in 2000 in Mumbai. The only thing which remained consistent throughout Jaffer’s International career was him being in and out of the team regularly. However, he experienced a turnaround in the tour to England in 2006 where he scored 81 and 100 in the first Test.
Jaffer impressed over the next few years scoring two double hundreds in the process. However, because of his ‘slow’ and ‘old-fashioned’ approach to the game, he was dropped from the team which paved the way for Sehwag-Gambhir’s formidable opening combination. Since then, Jaffer has not been able to make a comeback into the national team. With his age crossing the 40s, his career in competitive cricket seems practically over.
~ Written by Sanjam Singh Arora
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