Test cricket is deemed to be the pinnacle of the sport. It’s a format which tests a player’s skills, technique and most importantly, temperament. The red-ball format also seems to take a lot out of a player.
Over the years, a number of cricketers including the likes of Shahid Afridi, Lasith Malinga and Mohammad Amir,bid goodbye to Test cricket in order to prolong their limited-over careers. On the other hand, there are few names like Cheteshwar Pujara, who doesn’t play a whole lot of white-ball cricket, instead playing Test cricket with grit.
The boom of T20 cricket has given chances to a number of talents across the globe. Even as those players have shone in the shortest format, their first-class career hardly took off. Their style of play could never match the needs of Tests.
In the article, let’s take a look at five lesser-known Test cricketers: –
1. Andre Russell
Andre Russell is one of the sought-after players in the T20 format over the last few years. Not only does he smash sixes at will, but also pick up wickets in the hour of need. One surprising fact regarding him is that he made his debut for the West Indies in Test cricket.
Back in November 2010, when he was a mere 21-year-old, Dre-Russ took the field in whites against Sri Lanka in Galle. In that match, he could manage a couple of runs and picked up a solitary wicket. That has remained to be the only Test in his career.
In 2011, the Jamaican forayed into ODI and T20I cricket and ever since has been weaving magic in the shorter formats. In fact, Russell has played in 17 first-class matches, scoring 609 runs and 54 wickets, and his red-ball career came to an end on March 2014.
2. Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell is one of the most destructive batsmen doing the rounds in world cricket. Having a T20 strike-rate of 154.40, the Victorian pounces on anything loose and there’s minimum margin of error while bowling to them. His immense talent also helped him break into the Australia Test team.
However, his red-ball career hasn’t got going. From 2013 to 2017, he played only seven matches. In those games, he managed 339 runs, but his average of 26.07 raised questions over his tenacity to survive the rigours of Tests.
The 31-year-old gave glimpses of his prowess to play the format when he scored a century against India in Ranchi in March 2017. To his dismay, apart from that, Maxwell couldn’t cross the 50-run mark even once. He has continued to play first-class cricket though.
3. Colin Munro
Colin Munro is a kind of batter, who prefers to live by the sword. The approach has paid off for him in the T20 format where he has four centuries. But the same intent has led to his downfall in the One Day version of the game. Even as he has played T20 cricket consistently, he has been shambolic in the other formats.
Despite his dry run in ODIs, Munro has still managed to hold on to his position. But there are remote chances of him reclaiming his spot back into the Test team. Back in January 2013, the Durban-born made his Test debut against South Africa at the St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
His shortcomings were exposed as in the first innings, he slumped to a golden duck. In the second innings, Munro got 15 runs with three fours, but the Black Caps never resorted to his services from there on.
4. Mohammad Shahzad
The burly Mohammad Shahzad has been an integral part of the Afghanistan ODI and T20I team for over more than a decade. The 33-year-old has been a witness to the highs and lows of Afghan cricket over the time period.
In 115 List A and 122 T20s, Shahzad has churned out 7,500 runs with 10 tons and 44 half-centuries. He was also a part of the national team’s inaugural Test match against India. Then he was a part of the Afghans’ maiden Test win over Ireland in Dehradun. But the Nangarhar-born didn’t have the best of numbers as he could only manage 69 runs at an average of 17.25.
His fitness also came under the scanner massively. The national team currently has the likes of Ikram Ali Khil and Afsar Zazai as the keepers and it will be an arduous task for Shahzad to make a Test comeback.
5. Sharjeel Khan
Sharjeel Khan’s career has been marred with all sorts of controversies. The 2017 PSL ripped him apart after he was found guilty of fixing charges. To his relief, in the 2020 edition of the T20 league, he came back, representing the Karachi Kings.
He made his Pakistan debut in 2013, but found it tough to cement his place. The Hyderabad-born also went to the tour of Australia in 2016-17. In the same tour, he got a chance a chance to play Test cricket.
At the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sharjeel scored 44 runs and then the PSL scandal turned his career over. Pakistan have Shan Masood and Abid Ali as the Test openers and they haven’t put much foot wrong in recent times. At the age of 30, Khan needs something incredible to break into the Test team, replacing one of Masood and Ali.
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