Stuart Law- Australia Born in the era of Australian domination, Stuart Law played only one test for Australia. His only test came against Sri Lanka at Perth in 1995-96 seasons. His time was dominated by Waugh brothers and the likes of Damien Martin, Ricky Ponting and if something was left, was covered by Darren Lehmann. He scored 54 not out in the only inning he played for Australia in test cricket while in 54 ODIs, he scored 1237 runs. He got decent chances in One day cricket but mostly he was not secured of his place in the team. His stats among all three formats prove that he was a better long format player and should have been given more chances in test cricket. During his first class career which spanned over 20 years, he played first class cricket for Queensland, Derbyshire, Essex and Lancashire. He accumulated 27080 first class runs at an average of 50.52 in 367 games across County and Shield cricket. He has 79 first class centuries and 128 half centuries. He scored over 1000 runs over 5 times in county cricket. His list A record is poor as compared to his first class record. His 11812 runs in list A games came at an average of 34.43 with 20 centuries and 64 half centuries. His T-20 record is a bit better with 1197 runs at 26.60 and his strike rate of 134.79 shows that he was more than a decent T-20 batsman. Most of his chances in International cricket came in the format of his least likings. He played few games for Chennai Super stars in Indian Cricket League's inaugural season.
Subramaniam Badrinath- India Remember the right handed free flowing CSK middle order batsman Subramaniam Badrinath? The guy, who bailed CSK and Tamil Nadu out of trouble many times, played only 10 matches for India across all three formats. Badrinath, just like Stuart Law, was born in the era of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virendra Sehwag. In his 16 years of first class career, Badrinath has scored 9819 runs at an eye popping average of 56.10. He has 31 first class centuries and 43 half centuries which shows his class and hunger for huge runs but despite all these efforts, he played only 2 test matches for India. Although he has not retired from professional cricket yet but he was not bought at auctions of IPL in last 2 years and since he is already 36 years of age, we can conclude that we might not see him back in Indian team especially when younger players are doing well in domestic cricket.
Mohammad Nissar- India India always struggled to produce genuine fast bowlers but same was not the case in 1930s. Mohammad Nissar was the fastest bowler not just in India but entire world during his days but unfortunately he managed only 6 test matches for India. Most of his career was affected due to the war during that time. If you look at his first class record, you will realize that he had ability to be listed amongst likes of Michael Holding, Dennis Lille, Andy Roberts and Brett Lee. In his 93 first class appearances, he picked up 396 wickets at an average of 17.70. 32 fivers and three 10 wicket hauls tells a lot about his consistency. 13 of his 25 wickets in test cricket were bowled out which shows how he terrorized batsmen with his pace.
Barry Richards- South Africa Who else could be called the best opening batsman ever by playing just 4 international matches? It was Barry Richards who holds a special place in the history of cricket. He lost most of his career during apartheid era when ICC banned South Africa. 80 centuries, 156 half centuries, 9 hundreds before lunch, 15 seasons with over 1000 runs are some of highlights of his glittering first class career which spanned over 18 years. He played county cricket for Hampshire and Gloucestershire. He played a season of Shield cricket in Australia for South Australia and represented his home side Natal from 1964 to 183. His 28358 first class runs came at 54.74. In his first season in county cricket he scored 2395 runs. In his only season in Australia, he scored 325 runs in a single day against Western Australia against likes of Dennis Lilly and Tony Lock. In his 4 test matches (all against Australia) he scored 508 runs at an average of 72.57. These records are enough to prove that we missed out on a legend of Bradman's stature.
Michael Procter- South Africa Another talent lost in the war against apartheid. Mike Procter was a great all rounder and could have rivalled the figures of greats like Ian Botham, Kapil Dev, Gary Sobers and Jacques Kallis. In his 23 years of first class cricket, Mike 21936 runs at an average of 36.01 and took 1417 wickets at 19.53 across 401 matches. In his short test career of 7 test matches, Mike 226 runs at 25.11 and snapped 41 wickets at a glorious average of 15.02. Those who witnessed his sound technique and tearaway fast bowling claimed that during his peak, he could have made it into any test XI as either batsman or bowler. His record is enough to prove that not just South Africa, but cricketing fraternity missed out on a genius all rounder.
Vijay Merchant- India Which player comes to the mind first when we talk about batting average? Off course Sir Donald Bradman. But if there was an Indian Bradman, who could have been it? Sachin Tendulkar? Sunil Gavaskar? The answer is no. It could have been Vijay Merchant had he got enough chances. Most of his career was ruined by Second World War and he could manage only 10 tests to his name. In 150 first class games he accumulated 13470 runs at an average of 71.64 which is second best in first class cricket after Sir Don Bradman. His test record was not bad with 859 runs at an average of 47.72 with 2 centuries and 2 half centuries.
Charlie Parker- England 3280 first class wickets, just 2 of them in a test match. These figures are from Gloucestershire left arm spinner Charlie Parker. In a career spanning over 32 years, Charlie 635 first class matches and he still holds a few English as well as overall first class records. He was the first bowler to take three hattricks in a season (Only two others have done this so far). He is the third highest wicket taker in the history of first class cricket, only Wilfred Rhodes and Tich Freeman have more. He took over 100 wickets in 15 consecutive seasons from 1920-1935. During his career, he registered 277 fivers and 91 10 wicket hauls in a match which means he took more fivers than many international cricketers have taken wickets. He took 9 wickets in an inning for 8 times while once he took all 10 wickets in an inning. He took over 200 wickets 5 times in a season which shows how unbelievably consistent he was. His only test came in July 1921 where he took 2 wickets and bowled 16 maiden overs out of his 28. He never got a chance to play International cricket again and we can call him the unluckiest cricketer ever.
Brad Hodge- Australia This list will be incomplete without Brad Hodge. Another talented cricketer lost in the era of Ponting and Martin, Brad Hodge was the cricketer of all three formats. A sound technique compiled with flamboyance batting was something Hodge was famous for. Despite scoring 17084 first class runs at an average of 48.81, 9017 List A runs at an average of 43.25 and 7052 T-20 runs at an average of 36.72, Hodge played only 46 matches for Australia across all three formats. In 6 test matches he scored 503 runs at an average of 55.88 with 2 half centuries and a double century. His record in One day cricket is not as impressive as he only managed 575 runs in 25 matches at 30.26. In 15 international T-20s he scored 183 runs at an average of 26.14.
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The author has written an extremely interesting article on eight unlucky cricketers who could have played more international cricket. I have read the article with great interest. During my youth, I used to take interest in stories and anecdotes relating to cricket. On the basis of my understanding my comments are as under:
1. So far as Mohammad Nissar is concerned I would like to state that he was a great fast bowler and was fortunate to play the inaugural Test for India. The old timers still talk about the fast bowling of Mohammad Nissar. Not only Nissar, his new ball partner Lala Amar Singh was another great swing bowler. During the initial era of Indian cricket, these bowlers created havoc among the opposition cricketers. However, at that time (during 1930s) India played very few Test Matches. So they did not get much chance to show their greatness in international cricket. In this connection I would like to remember another great fast bowler of that era. His name is Sharadindunath Banerjee, whom old cricket lovers know as Shute Banerjee. Due to his constant fight with the captains and maharajas dominating Indian cricket field, during 1930s – 1940s, he was not selected in the final eleven among a team. Ultimately this great fast bowler played his only Test for India at an age of 40 years against West Indies. In the only Test he played for India at such a mature age, he captured five West Indies wickets. It is interesting to know that Shute Banerjee still holds an Indian Record (earlier World Record) of being a partner in the last wicket partnership in a first class match against England in 1946. However, astonishingly because of this performance, the then captain of India, Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi was very angry with him and he was not selected in the final eleven in any Test against England.
2. The author has mentioned two apartheid era players of South Africa. These two great players are Barry Richards and Michael Procter. No doubt that these two were great players but could not get much international exposure because South Africa was banned from playing test cricket in 1970s. This ban continued till 1991. At that time, these two players were at the peak of their career. So they suffered a lot. But not only these two, there are another four great players of South Africa who could not play for their team due to apartheid policy of that country. These four players are Peter Pollock, Grammy Pollock (father and uncle of Shaun Pollock), Eddie Dibbs and Clive Rice. These six players were part of the greatest team of South Africa and the old-timers who followed cricket during 1860s and 1970s know about these six great players.
3. The author has mentioned about Stuart Law and Brad Hodge of Australia. However, it is astonishing that he has forgot to mention about Stuart Macgill. The only blunder this great Leg-Spinner committed was that he was born at the same time of great Shane Warne. Due to this reason, Macgill could not play much for Australia. Only when Warne was injured or banned, Macgill substituted him in Australian team. Even then he captured 208 wickets in 44 Tests, 6 wickets in 3 ODIs and 774 wickets in first class cricket in 184 First Class matches. Truly a luckless cricketer!
4. The author has failed to mention three greatest Indian spinners who could not play for India (except V.V. Kumar who played only 2 Tests). If these three players were part of any other country, they could have played more than 75 tests each. Only because of the fact that they were contemporaries of Bishan Singh Bedi and Bhagwat Chandrashekar, they could not get exposure for India. These three great spinners are Padmakar Shivalkar (589 wickets in 124 First Class Matches), Rajinder Goel (750 wickets in 157 First Class Matches) and V.V. Kumar (599 wickets in 129 First Class Matches and 7 wickets in 2 Test Matches). Shivalkar and Goel were great left-arm spinners and V.V. Kumar was a great leg-spinner. It is really unfortunate that now-a-days Indian cricket enthusiasts do not know about these great spinners of the country.
Concluding my comments, I congratulate the author for this excellent article.