2019 was a busy year for the Indian cricket team. They played as many as 52 games across the three formats – eight Test matches, 28 ODIs and 16 T20Is. The Men in Blue won 35 games, lost 15 and drew one as well. In fact, they had the second-best win-loss ratio (2.33) behind Australia’s 3.44.
There were 40 players that donned the India jersey across all formats. Out of those, there were eight players who donned the national colours for the first time ever in an international game. Vijay Shankar, Shivam Dube, Navdeep Saini, Shubman Gill, Rahul Chahar, Mayank Markande, Shahbaz Nadeem and Mohammed Siraj made their international debuts in 2019.
However, there were a few who deserved a chance as well and were unlucky not to feature in the national team. Thus, here are five such cricketers who were unlucky not to play for India in 2019.
Here are five cricketers who deserved to get a chance of 2019:
1. Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson was touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket. The talent and the ability was on display in the IPL and also, in the 2014 Under-19 World Cup. He may not have the best of records in domestic cricket but Samson is a high-quality player and is rated pretty highly.
In fact, the Kerala player also made his India debut back in 2015 in a T20I against Zimbabwe. He made a laborious 24-ball 19 as India lost the game. That is the only international Samson has ever played. With some good form behind him this season, including a good IPL season, the Kerala wicket-keeper batsman received another call-up in the Indian T20 side to face Bangladesh.
However, he continued to warm the benches for six games in a row. Along with Manish Pandey who barely played four games in 2019, the 25-year-old didn’t get a single opportunity. But when India did go to Thiruvananthapuram for the second T20I against West Indies, it was Samson who got the biggest roar. He has continued to sit on the sidelines even against Sri Lanka.
2. Krishnappa Gowtham
It wasn’t a great start to the year 2019 for Krishnappa Gowtham. He didn’t feature in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy towards the end of the 2018-19 domestic season owing to a shoulder injury. The Karnataka all-rounder didn’t have a great IPL either. However, he managed to turn it around in the second half of the year.
He had a phenomenal run in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) which included a game where he scored a ton and also picked up eight wickets. Gowtham was a key man in Karnataka’s white-ball triumphs (Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy). He put in some good performances and showed nerves of steel as well. Moreover, he had a wonderful start to the Ranji season as well.
However, Gowtham never got a chance to make it to the national team. Despite the struggles of Washington Sundar who picked up just five wickets from 11 T20Is in 2019, Gowtham was ignored by the selectors. Thus, Gowtham who is currently recovering from a fracture will be hoping he can get a chance at the international stage before the T20 World Cup.
3. Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav has been in fabulous form in the recent past. It started towards the end of the last season where he scored 360 runs at an average of 51.42 and a strike-rate of 145.16 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He carried that form into the IPL where he finished as the second-highest run-getter for Mumbai Indians (424 runs). Yadav hasn’t missed a beat in this domestic season either.
Irrespective of the format, he’s been the key man for Mumbai and has delivered consistently as well. In the four innings he played in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the 29-year-old batsman scored 226 runs at an average of 113.00 and a strike-rate of 154.79. In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Yadav smashed 392 runs at a strike-rate of 168.96. Moreover, he’s got a couple of half-centuries and a ton in the Ranji Trophy already as well.
Thus, the Mumbai lad has been in fine touch. He is someone who can bat anywhere in the batting order. He can open or bat in the middle and also don the finisher’s role. Hence, it was surprising that he never got a chance to make it to the Indian T20 squad either.
4. Priyank Panchal
For the last few years, there’s been one name dominating run charts for Gujarat in domestic cricket and that is Priyank Panchal. He has been in fine form for the last few years and has been knocking pretty hard on the selectors’ doors. He is someone who can bat for long periods and get the big scores.
Rohit Sharma has started his career as a Test opener excellently. However, it was slightly hard on the Gujarat opener that he was overlooked. He hasn’t averaged under 55 in a single season in the last four completed Ranji editions. Panchal has amassed 3571 runs at an average of 62.64 since the start of the 2015-16 season.
He has even done well for India ‘A’ and has been on most of the tours in the last couple of years. Despite scoring a truckload of runs for the last four-five years, he hasn’t got an opportunity. India also had top-order woes in Test cricket and he was unlucky that he didn’t get a chance despite that.
5. Jalaj Saxena
Jalaj Saxena has been around for almost 15 years now but he’s never got an opportunity at the highest level. However, he’s been a consistent performer in domestic cricket. Saxena comes as an all-round package and has the ability to make an impact with both bat and ball.
In fact, earlier this year, he joined an elite group of Indian cricketers who’ve achieved the double of 6000 runs and 300 wickets in first-class cricket. However, Saxena is the only one in that list who hasn’t played Test cricket. He averages 37.01 with the bat and 27.82 with the ball in first-class cricket.
The Indore-born all-rounder started his domestic cricket with Madhya Pradesh moved to Kerala in the 2016-17 season. Despite proving his worth on multiple occasions, Saxena didn’t break into the Indian Test squad and was slightly unlucky on that count.
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