Cricket has always given opportunities to talents and most of them have become stars of this game. Some of the individuals have received cult status because of their successful cricketing journey. Still, there is a saying that cricket is a cruel game and it is true in every sense.
Unfortunately, some of the promising cricketers have been at the receiving end of its cruelty. It can be in the form of an injury or a decision which can completely put their professional career in a comatose state. Finally, these players had to leave the game in their prime with mental and physical agony.
Here is the list of 5 players whose careers shortened suddenly:
1) James Taylor, England – Heart problem
James Taylor. (Photo Source: Twitter)
The short-statured cricketer from Leicestershire was once touted to solve the middle-order batting problems of Three Lions across formats. Scoring his first-class hundred at the age of 18, James Taylor showed his appetite for success and within a short time, he was leading the batting charts in county cricket.
Finally, he was tracked to the senior team in 2011 and made his international debut in an ODI game against Ireland. Thereafter, he got his due in the classic format and cemented his spot in the side. The right-hander quickly found his feet in the international team as he averaged 42 in 27 ODIs. It was a perfect start to a promising career that was cut short by a serious heart condition called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC).
With a heavy heart, Taylor announced his retirement from his professional career at the age of 26 in April 2016. Then he started doing commentary work for BBC and a year ago he was drafted into the England cricket selection panel. His decision-making skills have helped the nation lift its first 50 overs World Cup.
2) Ryan Harris, Australia – Knee injury
Former Australian player Ryan Harris. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
One of the few cricketers who flourished in the international stage even after making his debut at the age of 30 is Ryan Harris. With his accurate line and length coupled with his nippy pace, the speedster from Sydney was a dangerous customer. He was equally potent in all the formats and particularly in a couple of years he was leading the bowling unit of Kangaroos in red-ball cricket.
Harris could prize out wickets irrespective of the surface he played on. Fondly know as Ryno he was a workhorse who bowled several overs with the same intensity but his injury-prone body always held him back. He was in his prime after back to back Ashes heroics where he scalped 46 wickets in 9 games.
Immediately after that, a knee injury halted his expedition in 2014 sidelining him for six months. He returned with the same vitality and was set to lead the pace battery in the 2015 Ashes. Unfortunately, another knee injury forced him to retire just days before the most revered Test series in cricket history.
3) Ambati Rayudu, India – Man Mismanagement
Ambati Rayudu. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
The batting talent who caught the attention of cricketing fraternity in the 2004 U19 World Cup was Ambati Rayudu. The Hyderabad cricketer was supposed to take the world cricket by storm with his lofted shots and attractive strokeplay. Suddenly a series of bad choices left his career in deep trenches.
Then like a true champion Rayudu revived his career with his IPL stint and made his way to the senior team in 2013 where he stroked a half-century in his debut game. For a couple of years, he played odd games and made most of his opportunities but was dropped owing to his low strike rate. Then he ground out in the domestic circuit and was picked again when the Indian side was in search of a proper middle-order batsman.
At the start of 2019, it was all rosy for him as he was to set to represent his nation in the World Cup but a sudden dip in form cost him. Soon when he was even ignored after being named in the stand-by list Rayudu decided to bring down curtains on his career. A batsman who averaged 47 in ODIs left the game because of the poor communication from the selectors.
4) Craig Kieswetter, England – Nose fracture
Craig Kieswetter. (Photo by Bob Thomas/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)
At an early age of 20 the South African born cricketer, Craig Kieswetter moved to England to follow his passion for the game. Somerset roped in the wicketkeeper-batsman and within a season he became a regular in the side. His power game made him a rare commodity and was picked in the England side when the team travelled to Bangladesh in 2010.
After playing a handful of games for Three Lions Kieswetter got his big-ticket when he was selected for the 2010 T20 World Cup. He piled on 221 runs in the series while opening the innings including 63 in an all-important final. His dream run came to a stopover when he had an indifferent series against Australia and Bangladesh. Since then he remained a back-up option for England but performed consistently for Somerset.
One such instance when Craig was batting in a game against Northamptonshire he suffered a freak accident. A bouncer snuck through his helmet grille and fractured his nose and cheekbone. He went under the knife and got his face reconstructed. Keiswetter returned to the game but he was uncomfortable in his trade due to the vision problems borne out of facial surgery. Thereafter he announced his retirement at 27 and the game lost a fine talent.
5) Nari Contractor, India – Skull fracture
Nari Contractor. (Photo Source: Twitter)
In the initial years of Indian cricket, many individuals helped the game grow in the country and one such personality is Nari Contractor. Making his first-class debut at the age of 21 he showed his brilliance with twin centuries in the game. Soon he was fast-tracked to the Indian team and he opened the innings for his side.
The southpaw showed his class when he amassed 438 runs in the series against Australia. In the same series, his 74 in Kanpur was important in giving India their first Test win over Kangaroos. His rise continued when he was given the leadership of the Indian side. Under Nari, the team won a series against England and it seemed that Nari will take the side to new heights.
All the dreams came crashing down when India took on West Indies at Barbados. While batting against Charlie Griffith, Contractor got distracted and a ripping bouncer hit his back of the skull. He was rushed to the hospital and required multiple surgeries to survive. In the end, his life was out of danger but his cricketing journey was at crossroads. Sadly he never played internationals again.
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