Cricket playing for the country is itself a big thing. But, featuring in the World Cup squad for once is a dream-come-true for any professional cricketer. It doesn’t matter which country a player plays for as it is sometimes once in a lifetime moment. Actually, the World Cup is reckoned as one of the biggest events across the globe and every professional player wants to be part of it.
A player consistently performs well for at least four years to get a place in the mega-event. The selectors keep a close eye on each and every single player that plays for the national team. Moreover, it is a dream come true for a cricketer if he is the part of his World Cup-winning squad. However, it is never an easy task to get all things right and pave eventually pave way into the World Cup-winning squad.
Sachin Tendulkar, one of the finest batsman of all time played for six World Cups for Team India before he got his hands on the prestigious trophy of champions. It took quite long for him to fulfil his dream that he saw while picking cricket as his career. On the other hand, there are some players that didn’t play a single game but still got the honour to be part of World Cup-winning squad which is no less than a coincidence.
Let’s list out five players that didn’t play a single game but still managed to win the World Cup:
1. Marvan Atapattu (1996)
Marvan Atapattu, the former Sri Lankan skipper is one of the best batsmen that Islanders. He scored more than 13,000 runs across all the formats for his national team. But, there was a time when he was not getting a place in the XI of Sri Lanka. Actually he didn’t get off to a great start to his international stint as he got out for a duck in his first five innings in Test cricket back in 1990. Later on, he went onto make his debut in ODIs but in that also, he failed to leave his mark with the bat.
However, he managed to regain his form with the bat due to which he was picked in the 1996 World Cup squad that was led by Arjun Ranatunga. But, due to the presence of players like Sanath Jayasuriya and other settled batsman in the team, Atapattu didn’t get a single game to play in the mega-event.
Atapattu might have felt bad over the same but one best thing that happened with him was that he became the part of the team that managed to win maiden World Cup for their country. And, what best he could have asked for as a cricketer.
2. Mitchell Johnson (2007)
Mitchell Johnson, the left-arm former pacer from Australia is reckoned as one of the best fast bowlers in the history of cricket. His slingy action and bowling speed of 140 km/hr plus used to trouble any big batsmen of his time. He was one of the aggressive bowlers that batsmen never liked to face. But, before emerging as a threatening bowler, he had to face lots of struggle on his way to glory.
It is known that Australia is a mill of producing the finest fast bowlers in international cricket. In 2007 World Cup that was hosted by West Indies, he was picked by the selectors in the 15-member squad that comprised of bowlers like Glenn McGrath, Shaun Tait, and Stuart Clarke. It was known that the chances of Johnson getting a game will be quite slim and the same happened. However, his team managed to win the World Cup 2007 in West Indies and he got an honour to be part of the same.
3. Brad Haddin (2007)
Brad Haddin had the same fate as of Mitchell Johnson in 2007 World Cup. Actually, he was picked in the squad as a backup wicketkeeper in the squad for Adam Gilchrist, who was playing his last 50-over mega-event. At that Australian side looked invincible as they had already won consecutive World Cups by that time. Now, the question was if they can lift their third title in a row or not.
It was very difficult for fringe players in the squad to get into the XI due to the formidable line up of the team. The only chance that the player warming the bench could get was when a player gets injured. However, it never happened in World Cup 2007 due to which Haddin never got an opportunity to take the gloves behind the stumps.
But, Haddin had a bit of golden luck and his name was among those 15-player squad that helped Australia in clinching their third World Cup trophy.
4. Praveen Kumar (2011)
Praveen Kumar, a player from Uttar Pradesh went onto become one of the best swing bowlers in Indian cricket history. He used to make a bunny out of the batsmen on the back legitimate swing that he used to get while bowling irrespective of the tracks. But, very few people would be aware of the fact that he is the former World Cup-winner as well.
Yes, he was the part of Team India’s squad that went onto lift World Cup after 28 long years. It was a historic event for every Indian fan as they prolong wait came to an end. Meanwhile, Praveen Kumar turned out to be one of the unlucky players in the team that didn’t get a single chance to take the field for Team India in the mega-event.
It was quite difficult for him to get a chance in that big tournament as Indian bowling line-up was equipped with some of the gems like Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Ashish Nehra and Sreesanth. Earlier, he might have felt thought of not getting a game but by the end of World Cup 2011, he would have been proud of himself for lifting a trophy in his decade-long career.
5. Tom Curran (2019)
Tom Curran from England is one of the prolific all-rounders that is making his name in international cricket. He made his debut back in 2017 against West Indies. It took some time for him to showcase his talent with the bat and ball. The 25-year-old came into the spotlight after he took a five-wicket haul against Australia in the ODI series. In the very next year, he was picked as an all-rounder in England’s World Cup 2019 squad.
The mega-event was hosted by England itself, who managed to get their hands on their maiden World Cup win the history of cricket. Each and every player in the team performed exceedingly well in their respective roles. It was almost confirmed that he would get to play as his ability to smack runs in the lower middle-order and quick bowling will play a vital role.
But, the addition of Jofra Archer denied Curran a place in the playing XI. Nevertheless, the 25-year-old would be happy all his life as he is one of the players to have a World Cup medal without playing role in a single game.
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