It really is difficult to understand how certain sports personalities end up being loved by every single mortal who knows the game. While there were some cricketers like Rahul Dravid, Adam Gilchrist, and Brendon McCullum, the other sporting world had people like Roger Federer, Ronaldinho, David Beckham and various others who ended up earning the love of billions.
Cricket provides ample opportunities for a sportsperson to win the hearts of the supporters, but things don’t transpire the way they want most times. That is one of the main reasons why we see only a few players end up doing a Rahul Dravid or an Adam Gilchrist. Pleasing every fan in the world is nearly an impossible job, even for some absolute legends of the game.
Here is a list of some cricketers, who achieved outstanding numbers as players or captains, but a lot of fans found reasons to not love them.
5. Hansie Cronje
Hansie Cronje. (Photo by Getty Images)
One of South Africa’s most beloved sons, one incident changed Hansie Cronje career and his legendary status in the game. The all-rounder did a great job in developing the team as a captain and perhaps built the best side in the post-apartheid period. Yet, a little bit of fate and some bad personal choices ruined what could’ve turned out to be an astonishing career.
Cronje was a pretty effective bowler and a brilliant batsman in the middle order. He took over the captaincy from Kepler Wessels in 1994 and the rest, as they say, is history. He formed a brilliant pair with coach Bob Woolmer and in his leadership, South Africa won an astounding 99 ODIs in just 138 ODIs.
After accepting his involvement in match-fixing publicly, Cronje was dropped from the South African team and eventually banned. Almost a couple of years later, he passed away in a tragic flight accident, an incident which shocked the whole nation, not to mention the cricketing world. He did leave a mark on the game, but couldn’t save it from the rust.
4. Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
The demigod of the masses, the flag-bearer of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar cannot be described in a page or two. His contribution towards globalizing the game is often under-discussed, but no fan can ever forget those 24 years which he devoted for Indian cricket, shedding blood and sweat every time he came out to bat.
Despite the 34,000 International runs he scored and the 100 centuries he smashed, there were many fans who felt he was a bit selfish and stuck with the team a little too longer than needed. While that definitely is a debatable and controversial opinion, it still makes very little sense to not love someone who did so much for the game.
Most of this hatred came towards the end of his career when he was struggling for runs and the team management wasn’t courageous enough to send anyone else at number four. Nevertheless, when he came out to bat for one final time in Mumbai in November 2013, tears flooded all across the country and without a doubt, it was the most emotional farewell game Indian cricket had seen.
3. Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)
An enigmatic personality who won over the hearts of many cricket lovers with his innovative strokeplay and dynamic approach, Kevin Pietersen till date remains as one of the most underappreciated legends of world cricket. He definitely falls in the top draw of the category “Best batsmen to have donned the English jersey”.
Yet, he had his fair share of controversies. Kevin Pietersen was a fan favorite for the locals, but that wasn’t the case elsewhere, especially in a country in pacific named Australia. He also was criticized for some of the things he said as a captain during his tenure and a poor relationship with ECB director Andrew Strauss subsequently led to his departure from the team.
His dramatic career came to a very abrupt end, which according to many wasn’t the right way it should’ve happened. During his playing career, many objected and many loved what he did, but he was a poster boy of English cricket for a major while, something no one can deny.
2. Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)
Arguably the finest captain cricket history has seen in terms of statistics, Ricky Ponting was a cult figure in cricket who led a world-beating side, which many termed the “Mighty Aussies”. His unparalleled legacy in the game as a batsman and as a captain was definitely enviable, but not some of his acts as a captain.
We all know the Australian way of playing, they play to win the game, not to win any hearts. That attitude helped them scale mountains, but also put them into various controversies over the years and many of those came during Ponting’s tenure as captain. While his ingenuity was definitely applauded, not many appreciated his sportsmanship.
Nevertheless, Australia lost just 51 ODI games in his 230-match tenure as captain from 2002 to 2012. It will take a miraculously monumental effort from another captain to beat this gobsmacking record and his 71 International centuries tally remains the second best, only behind Sachin.
1. MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Perhaps the most revered cricketer in Indian history after Sachin Tendulkar, it will be difficult for a cricketer to earn a market-value like MS Dhoni. Coming from the small town of Ranchi, he broke a lot of stereotypes, from what a small-town boy can do to how the game should be approached.
His unorthodox batting style won over the hearts of many and his captaincy was one of the biggest reasons why fans remained divided in his case. Dhoni was famous for some uncanny and unexpected decision making, something which didn’t resonate well with everyone. At the same time, he became pretty calculative as a batsman in the last couple of years, a strategy which once again didn’t work every time.
Nevertheless, he is the only captain to have won all the three ICC trophies and no one can ever forget that winning runs he scored in 2011 to help the nation win the World Cup. A lot of people will continue to protest for him to retire, but once he will leave the scene, people will understand his value.
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