Cricket is a game primarily played by ten full-member nations, but there are also other contenders that are always competing with the best to make a mark in the sport. More popularly known as the ‘minnows’, the weaker teams have outclassed the more established ones on many occasions and shown steep progress in their abilities.
It is no surprise that these teams have produced good players across the various formats. Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan is one of the leading all-rounders in the world at the present moment. Some players may not have made a huge mark globally but have brought about significant changes to the game in their nations.
Let us have a look at five cricketers who are considered as legends in their respective countries:
#1 Tamim Iqbal
Tamim Iqbal has been Bangladesh’s most reliable top-order batsman for the past decade, having scored more than 13,000 runs across all formats. Arguably the most destructive batsman the country ever had, Iqbal impressed with his batting skills during the 2007 Cricket World Cup. His explosive 51-run innings in Port of Spain guided Bangladesh to a famous win against India and helped the nation to reach the knock-out stages of an ICC tournament for the first time.
His Test score of 206 against Pakistan is the highest individual score by a Bangladeshi in the longest format of the game and also holds the same record in ODIs by virtue of his 154-run innings against Zimbabwe back in 2009. In 2011, he was honoured by being named the ‘Wisden Cricketer of the Year’.
Another achievement which complements his glittering career was his participation in the Bicentenary Celebration Match at Lord’s for the Rest of the World side against Marylebone Cricket Club in 2014.
#2 Ryan ten Doeschate
Ryan ten Doeschate had taken the world of cricket by storm with his all-round performance, but unfortunately featured in only 33 One-Day Internationals. His batting average in ODIs is a whopping 67. The Dutch player has also scored 5 centuries and clinched 55 wickets with the ball. During the 2011 Cricket World Cup, Ten Doeschate scored a flawless 119-run innings which nearly defeated England.
A regular for county side Essex for nearly a decade, he by far is the most experienced player for the Dutch team. The all-rounder was picked up by the Kolkata Knight Riders for the cash-rich annual Indian Premier League as a foreign recruit and he still holds the record for having the highest average in One-Day Internationals by a batsman with more than 10 innings followed by South African AB de Villiers.
The Port-Elizabeth born player was awarded the ‘ICC Associate Cricketer of the Year’ on three occasions and is regarded as one of the finest players the non-Test world has ever produced.
#3 Brendan Taylor
Brendan Taylor has been the stand-out batsman for Zimbabwe for the past decade, following the Andy Flower era when the African nation was a formidable team in world cricket. Since the departure of the Flowers from the international stage, Zimbabwe crumbled as a Test-playing nation and also became an ordinary limited-overs team, having won only three Test matches in the past 12 years.
Taylor was handed the captaincy when the nation returned to Test cricket in 2011, and his batting records reached great heights. The Zimbabwean scored four centuries in the seven Tests he led. The right-hander decided to call it quits after the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup where he scored a brisk 138-run farewell innings which went in vain. However, he would make a comeback to the national team three years later, playing for Zimbabwe in a tri-series in Bangladesh involving Sri Lanka.
One of his more notable innings was the unbeaten 60 runs he scored against Australia during the inaugural World T20 to guide his team to a famous victory.
#4 John Davison
John Davison can easily be called the face of Canadian cricket, having played 32 ODI matches for the national side and featuring in two World Cups, 2003 and 2011. The most memorable innings he played was his 67-ball century against the West Indies in 2003, which was then the fastest century in a World Cup match.
In the same tournament, he also scored the third-fastest half-century (at the time) in World Cups against New Zealand. The century he scored in 2003 is undoubtedly the most notable event in the country’s cricketing history.
Following that year, in 2004 he was named the captain of the national team and yet another record was scripted through his heroics. During Canada’s first first-class match for more than 50 years, he ended with figures of 17 for 137, the best since Jim Laker’s 19 in a game and also scored an 84-run innings to help Canada defeat the USA.
#5 Kevin O’Brien
Kevin O’Brien is one of the most influential cricketers the Irish team had, and he helped the team reach greater heights with his all-round performances.
The one thing which comes to our mind when we hear about the cricketer is definitely the century he scored during the 2011 World Cup against England to chase a score of 327 successfully.
More importantly, he came in to bat when Ireland was struggling at 106-4. O'Brien’s 50-ball ton is still the fastest century in a World Cup tie. Having played 145 One-Day Internationals, the Irish all-rounder has scored 3,546 runs and taken 113 wickets which makes him a very handy cricketer to have on your team.