Cricket is a game full of uncertainties. It has become one of the most popular sports in the world. In a survey conducted by Pledgesports on the basis of a number of players registered to clubs or leagues, Cricket was found to be the 7th most popular sport. Since the first test match played between England and Australia in the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the game has come a long way. The game has improved a lot in the past few years and so have the players.
In today’s world, the competition between players in order to break into the national team has increased considerably. There is no dearth of talented cricketers. In fact, the number and quality of players have increased so much that in many cases, many talented players end up warming the benches. In this article, we are presenting the most unlucky cricketers’ XI among the current players.
1. James Vince
James Vince. (Photo Source: Twitter)
The elegant right-handed batsman from England has hardly done anything wrong in his career. Despite his technique and form, he hardly gets a chance to represent his nation. The explosive opening combination of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy in ODIs has kept him out of the playing XI.
Even in the red-ball cricket, better performance of Rory Burns and Joe Denly has kept him out of the mix. With Jason Roy making his debut in Ashes, chances have become bleak for James Vince to break into the playing XI. Even in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, he got a chance to play only when Jason Roy was injured.
He failed to make that opportunity count and could only score 40 runs in 3 matches. With England’s top order brimming with the likes of Jason Roy, Rory Burns. Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Denly, it seems highly unlikely for him to get into playing XI, let alone open the innings.
2. Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal. (Photo Source: Twitter)
An explosive right-handed batsman from Karnataka, Mayank Agarwal made a name for himself with his power-packed performances for the Royal Challengers Bangalore alongside the Universe Boss Chris Gayle in the fourth edition of IPL in 2011. He is one of those cricketers who is capable of filling the void created by Virender Sehwag.
However, the extremely successful opening combination between Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma meant a lack of opportunities for the young batsman. Also, the rise of KL Rahul in International cricket coupled with the selectors’ faith in him has made his chances of getting into squad even bleaker. Till date, the 28-year-old batsman has played only 2 test matches, scoring 195 runs in 3 innings at an average of 65.
With Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan holding onto their opener’s slot and Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara firmly grasping their positions as No.3 in ODIs and Tests respectively, his chances of getting to play in another match (unless in case of an injury to any of the above-mentioned batsmen) look highly improbable.
3. Karun Nair
India’s Karun Nair. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)
In 2016, Karun Nair became only the second Indian batsman to score a triple hundred in Tests after Virender Sehwag when he scored a 303* against England in the 5th test during a home series. He experienced a short slump in form after that match and with Ajinkya Rahane making his comeback into the side after healing from an Injury, Nair was dropped from the squad. Since then, he has not been able to play an International match.
Even in the IPL, he has not been given enough chances to prove himself by his current franchise. Despite scoring more than 300 runs in the IPL 2018, he could play only a solitary match in IPL 2019.
The presence of stalwarts like Gayle, Rahul, Mayank and Pooran spelt doom for the Karnataka Batsman. He is not even considered anymore for selection either in the white ball or red-ball cricket. Unless he plays some extra-ordinary innings’ in the domestic circuit and forces selectors’ to take notice of his skills, his International career won’t recommence.
4. Manoj Tiwary
Manoj Tiwary. (Photo by Sunil Saxena/Hindustan Times)
The term ‘unlucky’ is an understatement when it comes to the peculiar case of Manoj Tiwary. One gets a hint of his bad luck when he learns that he was dropped for a match after scoring his first international hundred.
A classic right-handed batsman from West Bengal having the ability to anchor the innings and changing gears at the proper moment along with a more than useful leg-spin, he could have done wonders for the Indian national team.
Tiwary’s biggest rivals in his short career were his injury concerns and huge competition for the middle-order batting slots during the peak of his career. With his age already on the wrong side, and quite a few youngsters knocking on the doors of selectors’, his international career is almost over.
5. Asghar Afghan (c)
Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai. (Photo Source: Twitter)
The decision made by the Afghanistan Cricket Board to sack Asghar Afghan as captain for the 2019 World Cup raised a lot of eyebrows. For a man who has led Afghanistan from strength to strength in world cricket, it indeed came as a shock.
After getting the captaincy duties from Mohammad Nabi in 2015, Afghan took his team through to the qualifiers of the mega event in 2015. He was touted as the best captain for Afghanistan in its comparatively short cricketing history. Even after being sacked, he was also dropped from the team for the first few matches of the flagship cricketing event. His team’s batting crumbled under pressure without any experience from the veteran batsman.
The effect of his presence in the team got noticed after his inclusion in the playing XI. Even though they couldn’t win any matches, but their batting showed a lot of promise with Afghan in the middle. It could well be contemplated that Afghanistan may have managed to win a few of their matches in the tournament if Afghan had remained as the captain.
6. Dinesh Karthik (wk)
Dinesh Karthik. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Few cricketers would have faced the fate met by Dinesh Karthik in 15 years of his cricketing career. He could never cement his place in the squad in the presence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was jumping from one achievement to another.
The fixed position of MS Dhoni in the squad meant that Karthik had to take his place in the team as a pure batsman. The highlight of his career came in 2007 when he replaced Virender Sehwag during the tour to England and emerged as the highest run-getter for India in the series. For the next 11 years, he has been in and out of the team. The Tamil Nadu batsman could never make a place for himself in the team during the peak of his career.
Even after a stellar performance in Nidahas Trophy in 2018 wherein he along with Vijay Shankar scored 34 runs in 2 overs to snatch victory from Bangladesh, his position in the squad was not guaranteed. He is already into the late 30s and with India looking to groom youngsters for the next world cup, Karthik may find himself out of favour of the selectors.
7. Sikandar Raza
Sikandar Raza walks back. (Photo Souce: Twitter)
The middle-order batsman from Zimbabwe is one of the most interesting prospects in world cricket. He is one of the finest talents produced by the African nation. He has played 97 ODI matches and scored 2656 runs at an average of 34.05.
Also, he has donned the whites for 12 times in his career and has managed to score 818 runs at an average of 34.05. He is one of the mainstays of the Zimbabwean batting line-up. Apart from this, he also bowls more than useful off-break. He has scalped 20 and 59 wickets with an economy of 3.48 and 4.78 in Tests and ODIs respectively. Despite such accomplishments, his future in the International Cricket remains uncertain.
The reason is the suspension of Zimbabwe Cricket Board by ICC for alleged political interference in the matters of the Board. Raza’s case is a classic example of a player’s career ruined by the faults of a governing body.
8. Mitchell Marsh
Mitchell Marsh. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Mitchell Marsh had the potential to be the next big thing in Australian Cricket. The fact that he made his debut way back in 2011 and has played only 95 International Matches speaks volumes about his regular inclusions and omissions from the squad.
The 27-year-old All-rounder is an excellent pacer and a more than a handy batsman. The arrival of Marcus Stoinis in the Australian National team indicated an impending disaster for his International career. Since his arrival, Stoinis has cemented his place in the Playing XI with some consistent performances. His ability to play for longer durations and his excellent death over bowling has further consolidated his position.
In World Cup 2019, Marsh was only brought in as a cover for Stoinis, but couldn’t get a chance to play as his counterpart finally recovered. With age still on his side, Mash still has time to improve his performances and make a case for his inclusion in the team.
9. Ish Sodhi
Ish Sodhi. (Photo Source: Twitter)
The Indian-origin New Zealand cricketer can be regarded as the unluckiest New Zealand cricketer amongst all the current players. The problem for Ish Sodhi is the absence of spin-friendly pitches at home because of which the team prefers only a single spinner in the playing XI.
In the Kiwi side, this spot has been taken up by Mitchell Santner who makes up for the lack of spin assistance in the pitches by his accurate and tight bowling. Also, he is a more than a useful batsman who can strike a few big shots at the end, a skill which Sodhi definitely lacks. Sodhi had established himself as a player for short formats, as he was unable to replicate his form in red-ball cricket.
The arrival of Todd Astle has complicated matters for Sodhi as it takes away the privilege of being the only wrist spinner which he had earlier. He needs to work on various aspects of his game and make some significant contributions in order to propel himself into the team.
10. Josh Hazlewood
Josh Hazelwood. (Photo by James Elsby/Getty Images)
The thing which went wrong in Josh Hazlewood’s career was being born in the wrong country. In a nation brimming with high-quality speedsters like Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Kane Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Peter Siddle, Hazlewood would have definitely found it tough to break into the squad.
The thing which separates him from his contemporaries is his focus on accuracy rather than raw pace. It is hard to believe that a bowler who has scalped 164 wickets in 44 matches at an average of 27.15 and a miserly economy of 2.79 is not a regular in the team. Just like many other pacers, injuries are majorly responsible for his irregular career.
He had himself accepted the fact that four months of inactivity was responsible for him not being considered for the World Cup. However, despite the world cup snub, he is still a part of the test squad. He needs to make each and every opportunity count in order to make his comeback in the limited-overs format.
11. Mohammad Irfan
Mohammad Irfan. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)
Few players make it to the headlines of a newspaper before even making their debut. The 7 ft 1 tall bowler from Pakistan was one such player. The tallest cricketer to have ever played the game, Mohammad Irfan was a bowler to look out for. He had done considerably well in the opportunities he got.
He formed a formidable combination with Junaid Khan. Where he used to restrict the runs from one end, Junaid used to pick wickets from the other. In the last cricket match he played in 2016, he took 2 wickets while conceding 36 runs which was indeed a good performance.
His career suffered a huge break when he was found guilty of not reporting approaches made by bookies towards him in the Pakistan Super League. He was handed a one year ban. Since then, he has not been able to make a comeback in the squad. With Mohammad Amir returning to form and Shaheen Afridi’s spectacular show in World Cup, chances of Irfan making it to the national squad seem grim.
~ By Sanjam Singh Arora
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