Cricket has a huge following in India. Sachin Tendulkar, one of the most complete batsmen the sport has ever seen, is worshipped as God of Cricket in the country. And even other cricketers like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni among others have immense fan following.
However, some of the fan-favourite players are no more the part of the national team. This leads to their fans, time and again, expressing their disappointment on social media. No wonder the fans love to see their favourite cricketer donning the India jersey and plunder runs or pick wickets. But the selectors weigh in on the form and the performance and pick the team, not by seeing the fan-following.
Here we bring you the five Indian players fans always want to see playing for national team:
1. Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina, known as Chinna Thala in Chennai, has massive fan following and every time the Indian team for any limited-overs series is selected, the fans wait for his name to pop up in the squad. However, the selectors have moved on from him it seems and are exploring other options. However, Raina himself recently said that he is hoping to make a comeback to the Indian team with two T20 World Cups set to be played.
As of now, the doors of the national team seem to be shut for the southpaw. Raina, who became father for the second time earlier this week, last donned the blue jersey on India’s tour of England in the ODI series. He was lucky to get a chance in the middle-order as Ambati Rayudu failed the fitness tests and had a great opportunity to seal his place in the line-up ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
But the left-hander returned with mediocre numbers and was eventually dropped from the team after the series. Since then, Raina has been sidelined and he last played competitive cricket in the IPL last year. Soon after the IPL, he underwent a surgery and missed the 2019-20 domestic season.
2. KL Rahul (Tests)
KL Rahul has had a memorable few months. From being a reserve opener in the limited-overs formats to being a preferred wicket-keeper in the Indian team, he has come a long way. However, same can’t be said about KL Rahul, the Test batsman. He struggled a lot overseas, especially in England, and though he got a majestic 149 in the final Test of the tour, there were very few runs before and after that knock.
Since August 1, 2018, Rahul has only a solitary 50+ score to his name (in 22 innings) which is the 149 he made in London and finally, following his string of low scores in the West Indies, he was dropped last year. He was on the verge of being left out of the ODI and T20I sides as well but a decent domestic season led to him making a comeback.
He grabbed this chance with both the hands and had a fantastic home season in the coloured clothing. He continued his form in New Zealand too and that led to the fans asking for his Test come back. Many felt that Rahul’s confidence was high and should’ve been given a chance in the Tests against the Kiwis. However, he wasn’t picked for the two-match series which India lost by 0-2.
3. Ravi Ashwin (ODIs and T20Is)
Ravi Ashwin, five years ago, was India’s premier spinner across all formats. Rather he and Ravindra Jadeja were the only two Indian spinners, the national team employed in Tests, ODIs and T20Is. However, post the 2017 Champions Trophy final debacle, the management banked on the wrist spinners giving ‘rest’ to the finger spinners (Ashwin and Jadeja) and the ploy worked.
Since then, the likes of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were preferred in the shorter formats while Ashwin and Jaddu continued to be part of the Tests. Jadeja, however, made a stunning comeback and even played the 2019 World Cup. But Ashwin has been completely left out of the set up and to make things worse, Jadeja is being preferred now in overseas Tests.
India though were caught off guard in World Cup after England smashed the wrist spinner left, right and centre. And since the mega event, only either of Kuldeep or Chahal is making it to the final XI. During this period, many felt that Ravi Ashwin should get another chance to prove his mettle as he was dropped from the side saying that he was ‘rested’ and never included. However, it doesn’t seem to be happening in the near future now.
4. Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh is undoubtedly the heartthrob of the Indian fans. He is the country’s World Cup hero and was the Man of the tournament of the 2011 mega event which India won. However, post that, he was diagnosed with Cancer and though he fought the odds and returned to the national team, fitness was always an issue for the southpaw.
However, even then, he played some of the fluent knocks and slammed his career-best score against England in Cuttack in 2017, the match also remembered for his marathon partnership with MS Dhoni. Yuvraj also went on to play the Champions Trophy in England later in the year.
But he was dropped from the team during the following West Indies and never included even in the squad. Even as India’s number four conundrum increased ahead of the 2019 World Cup, the fans time and again warranted for his place in the team. But there was coming back for India’s World Cup hero who eventually retired from all forms of the game during the mega event last year.
5. Ambati Rayudu
Ambati Rayudu was one of the most unfortunate players not making it to World Cup squad last year. He was decorated as the perfect number for India in the build up with even Virat Kohli confirming his place in the side at the middle-order position. But come the new year i.e.. 2019, things changed for the Hyderabad cricketer.
His form deserted out of nowhere and mediocre returns in tough conditions and at the same time, the all-rounder Vijay Shankar showing great signs, the selectors going with the latter in the World Cup squad. It created massive controversy, with the fans backing Rayudu in this case.
But the decision was made by then, and the talented batsman wasn’t going to England with the Men in Blue. He also announced his retirement soon in disappointment only to comeback later. But he hasn’t been picked in the Indian side since then and his international career seems to be over now.
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