The game of cricket is all about adaptibility. Let it be the playing conditions or the format of the game, adaptation is the key to success in the game. But many greats of the game failed to carry their fortune across formats. This meant they stuck to a format of the game and went on to reach the pinnacle of it. A burning example of it is One Day cricket.
Many superstars of the red ball failed to make a name for themselves in the shorter format. And so missed the opportunity to feature on the grand stage, the Cricket World Cup. Today, we come to you with the “never played a World Cup” XI which features the big names of the game who never made an appearance at the gala event of One Day cricket.
All Time “Never Played a World Cup” XI
Alastair Cook (England)
England’s highest run-scorer in Tests Alastair Cook is one of the most decorated players of the country. Despite all his laurels, Cook never got a chance to feature in a World Cup game during his illustrious career. The prolific batsman who boasts of 12,472 runs in red-ball cricket was never able to tighten his grip in One Day cricket.
The Knighted opener represented the Three Lions in 92 ODIs amassing 3204 runs at an average 36.40. Cook led the side in 69 ODIs only to be replaced by Eoin Morgan ahead of the 2015 World Cup before being dropped. Cook has admitted that his omission from the ODI side served as the final blow to his career as he struggled in Test cricket thereafter.
Justin Langer (Australia)
Current Australia coach Justin Langer is yet another name in a long list of players who excelled against the red ball but struggled to grab a foothold in the shorter format. Langer who was a big name in Test cricket with a whopping 7696 runs at an average of 45.27 played only 8 ODIs. The classy opener scored only 160 runs during his short career in the format.
Another reason Langer wasn’t able to break into the side was Adam Gilchrist. The explosive glovesman ruled the era with his exquisite short making at the top of the order in the shorter format leaving no room anyone to set foot at the opening slot. Langer played his last ODI in 1997 while Australia clinched three World Cups during the span of his illustrious Test career.
VVS Laxman (India)
Indian Test side’s batting mainstay VVS Laxman fell prey to his inconsistency in white-ball cricket. The Indian batter played 86 ODIs for his country as he amassed 2338 runs at an average 30.76 as he struggled to hold on to his place in the side. Adding to his woes, Laxman was left out of the 2003 World Cup squad as Dinesh Mongia was preferred over him for being a better fielder.
The resilient batsman fought back the following year as he scored 837 runs in 25 games at an average of 41.85. He went on hit four of his six ODI tons but was unable to hold one to the momentum as his dream of featuring in a World Cup was never fulfilled.
Cheteshwar Pujara (India)
Cheteshwar Pujara is yet another stalwart of Test cricket who bit the dust in white-ball cricket and was never able to recover. While Pujara’s List A figures of 4445 runs at 54.20 are exciting, his ODI exploits are a complete disaster. The Saurashtra batsman featured in only 5 ODIs for India scoring just 50 runs. His poor run early in his ODI career meant he was branded as a Test specialist.
The fact that three of those ODIs were against Bangladesh and two against Zimbabwe made sure that the team management never gave his selection a second thought. Despite his disappointing record in white-ball cricket, Pujara continues to shine in Test cricket. He now shoulders the Indian top order with his exquisite technique and unparalleled patience.
Parthiv Patel (India)
Parthiv Patel grabbed eyeballs as he secured a spot in the Indian side for the 2003 World Cup at a tender age of 17. He was the second choice wicketkeeper to Rahul Dravid in the side and never got the opportunity to take to the field. Going forward in his career, the emergence of MS Dhoni cut short his hopes of breaking into the national side again. Patel played his last ODI in 2012 as he signed off from the format with 736 runs in 38 games.
Irfan Pathan (India)
All-rounder Irfan Pathan is one of the unfortunate players who made it to the World Cup squad but never featured in a game. Having been included in the squad for the 2007 edition of the tournament, Pathan couldn’t take to the field as the runners up of the previous edition crashed out in the group stage. With time he lost the edge in his bowling and wasn’t even part of the probables for 2011 World Cup.
Pathan played a whopping 120 ODIs during his career which spanned 12 years. The left-arm quick scalped 173 wickets in ODI cricket as he also amassed 1544 runs to carve a niche for himself as an allrounder. Despite the lows in his ODI career, Pathan lifted the T20 World Cup in 2007 before going on to win the 2013 Champions Trophy.
Chris Martin (New Zealand)
New Zealand quick Chris Martin‘s heroics in Test cricket makes him a national hero. The medium-fast bowler scalped 233 wickets during his astounding 13-year long career in all whites. Martin who is known for his accuracy and movement off the seam meant he struggled in ODIs as he struggled to scalp wickets.
His inability to put bat to ball was the final nail of his ODI career as he played his last white ball game in 2008. Martin was called up in the 2007 World Cup as Darryl Tuffey’s replacement but didn’t play a match. The lanky pacer finished his ODI career with only 18 wickets in the 20 games he played.
Erapalli Prasanna (India)
Hailed as India’s greatest off-spinner, Erapalli Prasanna boasts of 189 wickets in just 49 Test matches. But unfortunately, the spin maestro never featured in ODI cricket. Prasanna was considered a magician with the ball who had complete control over flight and was known to outfox the opponent. It is believed that Prasanna never made it into white-ball cricket as he was not athletic enough for this version of the game.
The off-spinner was in great touch ahead of the 1975 World Cup. But lost his place to the duo of Bishan Singh Bedi and Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan. The duo of was considered ahead of Prasanna owing to their considerable experience in the shorter game, having played in England’s domestic competitions.
Ryan Harris (Australia)
Owing to a career peppered with injuries, Australian pacer Ryan Harris was never able to able to replicate his domestic exploits on the international. This also meant Harris missed the opportunity of featuring in the prestigious tournament. The big and burly quick only featured in 51 international games during his career which spanned 6 years, 2009 to 2015.
A late entry to international cricket, at the age of 2019, and the varied list of injuries ensured the South Wales quick didn’t play the number of games the Aussies would have liked him to play. Characterised by the brute pace and impeccable accuracy, Harris was always in the wickets whenever he donned the baggy green. His injury-stricken career boats of 113 Test wickets and 44 ODI wickets.
Matthew Hoggard (England)
English quick Matthew Hoggard, known for his brisk pace, impeccable accuracy and skiddy action, is the marquee bowler of the eleven. Hoggard with his 248 wickets in 67 Tests is one of the top ten Test wicket-takers for the country. The Yorkshire speedster was at the peak of his career while England was struggling to put up a fight with the white.
Yet Hoggard starved for chances in the ODI side. The big and burly quick 32 wickets to his name in 26 ODIs while conceding at an impressive economy of 5.29. none the less, the Englishman made the cut for the 2003 World Cup, only to warm the bench as Steve Harmison and Andrew Caddick were given preference.
Ishant Sharma (India)
Breaking into the international scene in 2007, lanky speedster Ishant Sharma is yet to make a World Cup appearance. While Ishant didn’t make the cut in 2011, the Delhi lad had to pull out of the 2015 World Cup owing to a knee injury. Ishant is yet to play an ODI after his last appearance against Australia in 2016. While Ishant’s 80 ODIs have not been very impactful but his performance with the red ball has been exceptional. The 32-year-old has been breathing fire in Test cricket as he has scalped a whopping 53 wickets since the last two years.