Five cricketers who couldn’t live up to their own hype
To stay on top of their game, cricketers have to maintain consistency in their performances while keeping fit and fulfilling the other obligations that come with being in the spotlight.
However, for many players who satisfy all these criteria, their star fades when pushed past the orbit of domestic matches and into the thick of international space.
We look at five such players who were certainly loaded with the right amount of talent and tenacity to make it big, but after strong performances in the domestic circuit as well as prestigious T20 tournaments, a dearth of form at the international level all but put paid to their future prospects.
Having the special distinction of being the first Indian batsman to score a century in the Indian Premier League (IPL) did a world of good for Manish Pandey, as he went on to win two IPL titles with Kolkata Knight Riders during his never-ending love affair with the side.
Pandey was also a part of the Under-19 side which won the 2008 World Cup in Malaysia and has been a mainstay for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad during his IPL career. Apart from this, he represents the Karnataka team in the domestic circuit. However, his showings on the international front have left something to be desired.
Having made his One-Day International (ODI) debut in 2015, Pandey has played just 26 ODIs, scoring 492 runs. The middle-order batsman has time and again been unable to replicate his IPL performances for the national team, and at 30, he is yet to make his Test debut as well. An explosive batsman, he has been playing regularly in recent times and will look to impress selectors before the T20 World Cup squads are announced.
Australian opener D’Arcy Short had the chance to be one of Australia’s most explosive batsmen during the suspension of David Warner due to the ‘Sandpapergate’ scandal. Representing Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League (BBL), Short is among the highest run-getters in the T20 tournament. In the nine games he has played, he has scored 357 runs at a strike rate of 131.25.
With his highest List-A score reading 257, it is a surprise that Short has been unable to replicate his game on the international level. He has played 20 T20Is and eight ODIs, failing to hit a century in any of the formats. Whilst his T20 stats are better, he averages a meagre 30 in the 50-over format.
Short was recently part of the ODI team for the series against New Zealand, but unless the southpaw improves his performances, he might not feature for the Aussies as often as he would like. At 29, and with a lot of competition, he might be nearing the end of his international career.
For someone who made his ODI debut in 2013, Jaydev Unadkat has only contested seven matches since then -- an appalling statistic, given the talent Unadkat seemingly possesses. His Test debut came earlier than that, in 2010 against South Africa in Centurion, conceding 101 runs at an average of 3.88 without picking up a single wicket.
These numbers are quite surprising considering the level of performances Unadkat displayed in the domestic sphere of the game. Then 18, his left-arm seam bowling seemed favourable for the Indian team but his subpar performances have ensured he doesn’t make another Test appearance for his side.
His game in the shorter format has been marginally better, having picked up only eight and 14 wickets respectively in the seven ODIs and 10 T20 Internationals he has played in. Unadkat last featured for India in March 2018 in the Nidahas Trophy.
He has shone in the IPL on occasion, having played for a plethora of clubs over the last 10 years. His best season was the 2017 edition, where he led Rising Pune Supergiants to the finals, making him the costliest buy in the next IPL auction.
However, he hasn’t been able to reach the same heights since, but the captaincy of his domestic side, and his consistency, might make a case for the 28-year-old left arm seamer.
Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman could have been one of Pakistan’s most prolific batsmen but his hard-hitting and ability to score quick runs failed to do him a world of good after a dismal outing at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in England last year.
Zaman’s shot to fame was the famous century against India in the 2017 Champions Trophy, before becoming the first Pakistani player to score an ODI double century. However, in his 46 ODIs, the southpaw has only managed 1958 runs, with four of them being centuries.
After the World Cup, he was dropped for more capable candidates. He played against Sri Lanka in their last ODI series before the global pandemic and managed 50+ scores in both the games, helping his side to a win. With Pakistan touring England in their first series after the pandemic, Zaman will be keen on making an impression or risk his career fading out.
Aiden Markram was earmarked as the next big thing in international cricket after captaining South Africa to the Under-19 trophy in 2014, the country’s only ICC trophy in the current century. Markram had an average of over 50 in First-class and List-A competitions, leading to call-ups to the national team in 2017. However, things haven’t been the same for the young opener.
During the India tour of South Africa, Markram showed glimpses of his true form after playing exceptionally well for the Proteas. He even won praise from Indian skipper Virat Kohli and was named the captain of the ODI series in the absence of Faf du Plessis. But like many fading talents, Markram couldn’t make the most of the opportunities.
He is yet to feature in an ODI for the Proteas since the World Cup while playing only two T20Is in his career. In his 26 ODIs, he averages a measly 27.95, and in his 20 Tests, he has an average of 28. 48. He last featured for the Proteas against England before an injury sidelined him. However, at 25, he is considerably younger than the other members of this list, making a comeback easier.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Money Sharma
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