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10 Most Underappreciated Players in Cricket History

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Alan Davidson
Alan Davidson transformed Australia's bowling attack

Australia: Alan Davidson (1328 runs @ 24.59, 186 wickets @ 20.53)

Alan Davidson started his career slowly. After 11 Tests he had never been on the winning side, nor had he ever taken more than two wickets in an innings. In some respects, he was fortunate to maintain his place in the side, particularly when Australia already had two quality all-rounders in Richie Benaud and Keith Miller.

However, in his following 33 Tests, Davidson would enjoy 14 five-wicket hauls, contributing some of the greatest performances of his generation.

The renown tied Test between Australian and the West Indies epitomized Davidson's brilliance, as he took 5/135 and 6/87, while also scoring 80 in the fourth innings when Australia looked destined for defeat.

Davidson never achieved the same level of acclaim as Benaud and Miller, although perhaps, his best comparison would be to a left-arm pace bowler in Wasim Akram.

Akram is one of the game's greats, but it is noteworthy that Davidson had a better batting average than Akram's 22.64, and also a better bowling average than Akram's 23.62.

Comparing players from different eras is a dangerous undertaking, but it is also notable that the era Davidson played in makes his achievements all the more impressive.

Davidson played most of his Tests in a time when batsmen were dominating the game. It is telling that there are few other great bowlers from the late fifties and early sixties, but it is also often overlooked that while Davidson played in a strong Australian side, he also led what was often a fairly weak pace attack.

During the tied Test, for example, Davidson bowled a total of 54.6 overs (there were eight balls in an over at the time). Of the other Australian pace bowlers, Ken Mackay bowled the second most overs with just 24.

Without Davidson, Australia's bowling line up would have been significantly weaker, and that this is overlooked perhaps explains why Davidson is underappreciated.