Cricket is a team sport in which 11 players on the ground represents a whole country. Meanwhile, India is one of the nations where people follow cricket quite religiously. There is no doubt over the fact that India has produced many fine and talented cricketers in the history of cricket.
It is one of the main reasons due to which the fans have started taking cricket quite seriously. There was a time when cricket was not a cup of tea for the majority of the Indians. But, players like Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, MS Dhoni and many more forced them to start following it to an extent.
In the past couple of decades, the love for cricketers playing for the national team is unmatchable within the fans. All Indian cricketers have a huge mass following. It is a very rare sight when people in India don’t know about a player who has donned the Indian jersey even once in his career. However, it is true and let’s check out the list of the names of the players that played for the country but fans might not be aware of it.
Here’s a list of lesser-known players who played for India:
1. Rishi Dhawan
Rishi Dhawan, a boy from the streets of Mandi was looked down as one of the prolific all-rounders in the country at one stage. In 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season, he ended up being the leading run-scorer as he amassed 519 runs in eight games. He came into the spotlight in IPL 2014 when he grabbed a total of 13 wickets for Kings XI Punjab. It was his best-ever season until now.
Later on, he managed to get a big shot as he got his maiden call up from the selectors. He was picked for the important tour of Team India to Australia. He made his debut in international cricket from the ODI series against Aussies followed by his T20I debut against Zimbabwe that turned out to be his last game playing for the national side. Overall, he has played 3 ODIs and 1 T20I donning the blue jersey for Team India.
2. Faiz Fazal
Faiz Fazal, a player born in Nagpur currently plays for Vidarbha Cricket Association. He is an opening batsman that made his first-class debut back in 2003 and went onto become a good opener in domestic cricket. Fazal has played for several teams until now like Central Zone, India Red, Railways, Rajasthan Royals and India Under-19s. He performed seemingly well in 2015-16 Deodhar Trophy due to which he was picked for the three-match ODI and T20I series against Zimbabwe.
Fazal got a dream debut in international cricket as he managed a brilliant fifty and it looked like he will soon make his name permanent in the national side but that never happened. After the arrival of senior players, he was dropped from the national team and never got a chance to wear that blue uniform once again.
Later on, he also captained Vidarbha back in 2018 and led them to their maiden Ranji Trophy title. In that season, Faiz Fazal also ended up being the leading run-scorer for his team with 912 runs.
3. Gurkeerat Singh Mann
Gurkeerat Singh Mann was born in Muktsar, a town in Punjab. He took to cricket as his career and did convincingly well for his team. He is a lower-middle order batsman and can spin the ball really well when it comes to bowling. Gurkeerat Singh came into the spotlight after he gave impressive performances with the bat against Australia A in triangular series followed by his brilliance on India A tour to Bangladesh.
In triangular series final, he played a memorable knock of 87 runs and helped his side in winning the tournament. Later on against Tigers, he successfully replicated his form with the bat that forced the selectors to pick him in the 15-man squad for the ODI series against South Africa.
However, he didn’t get a single game against Proteas but he was again picked in the national team for the ODI series against Australia where he successfully got his debut in international cricket. The Punjab-born all-rounder failed to leave his mark in all the games he played for Team India and was dropped from the team after returning from the away nation. He donned the national jersey in three ODIs but didn’t get the opportunity to open his account in T20Is and Tests. He also played from different franchises in IPL like KXIP, RCB and DC in the past.
4. Sudeep Tyagi
Sudeep Tyagi an aspiring cricketer emerged from the lanes of Uttar Pradesh that produced some fine bowlers for the country like Praveen Kumar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The lanky bowler came into headlines in his debut Ranji Trophy season (2007-08) in which he grabbed a total of 41 wickets playing for UP.
Moreover, he had managed a five-wicket haul in his debut game against Orissa that helped his side in winning that match by a margin of more than an innings. Soon, he was picked by Chennai Super Kings in the team back in 2009.
His impressive bowling might have impressed the selectors due to which he was ODI series against Sri Lanka. And, he made his first international appearance in the 5th ODI against Islanders. Later on, he went onto play the 50-over series against South Africa.
But, it looked like he was not ready to take the pressure of international cricket as he failed to give a single match-winning performance on the biggest stage. Tyagi was soon dropped from the national team and failed to mark his comeback ever again. He played a total of 4 ODIs and 1 T20I for Team India.
5. Pankaj Singh
Pankaj Singh another bowler that was full of talent but couldn’t grab headlines with his bowling. However, he is one of the unknown players that played for Team India. Pankaj came all the way from Under-19 India to India A side. He used to play for Rajasthan before getting transferred to Puducherry. In first-class cricket, he had taken a total of 472 wickets in 117 games with 30 four-wicket haul and 28 five-wicket hauls.
He was picked in the squad of Team India for the Test series against Australia back in 2007-08. However, Pankaj didn’t get a single game in that series. Later on, he went with the squad on a tour to England. Ishant Sharma, who was bowling at his best in that series got injured ahead of the third Test and this was the time when Pankaj Singh got his opportunity to showcase his talent.
Pankaj dismissed Joe Root as his first wicket in international cricket. He was also a part of the young Team India that played triangular series with Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. However, after the arrival of senior players, he was never given a chance to showcase his worth with the ball while donning the blue uniform.
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