Since the turn of the millennium, Indian cricket has risen to prominence on the back of a host of consistent performances from several great cricketers. Most, if not all of these cricketers who have made their marks have one thing in common. They have all been given a longer rope.
That is, despite the several dips in form and injury setbacks they may have had in their career, the team management has provided its backing with a sense of assurance of their spot.
On the flip-side, one of Indian cricket’s tragedies is that for every unworthy cap that has been given a longer run, there has been at least one more-deserving player who has been overlooked by the selectors. While several cricketers have reaped the rewards of this endemic strategy, the ones that have been overlooked will simply consider this an endemic tragedy.
Here we run through a list of 5 such cricketers who could have gone on to turn into the greats of the game if given a longer run.
#1 Robin Uthappa
While several careers were ruined under the Greg Chappell era, there were a few young brigadiers that led the charge. Leading this charge alongside Irfan Pathan was a young lad from Karnataka, Robin Uthappa. Known as the ‘walking assassin’ owing to his tactic of charging down the pitch trying to unsettle the bowler, Uthappa is one of a kind. Handy with the bat as he is with the gloves, he is capable of opening the innings or finishing a game off.
Debuting as an opener in India in 2006 against England, he scored a well-made 86, carving the bowlers around the park with his elegant strokeplay. Uthappa was a valuable asset for the Indian T-20 side in their 2007 World Cup triumph where he scored a match-winning half-century against Pakistan in the group stages. Equally memorable was his 47 not out of 33 deliveries where he helped chase down a mammoth 317 against England in an ODI.
The former Royal Challengers Bangalore and Pune Warriors batsman churns out scintillating innings season after season. The 6th highest run-getter in the IPL, he is a clean hitter of the ball. In addition to his ability to elegantly hit through the line and across the line, his repertoire consists of the cute scoops, cheeky flicks and reverse sweeps that a modern day batsman possesses.
The 32-year-old right-handed batsman has represented India in just 46 ODIs and 13 T20Is. He still slogs it out in the Ranji Trophy where he now represents Saurashtra. Every IPL reminds us of the capabilities of the batsman who still harbours hopes of representing the country.
However, the ship has already sailed. The batsman once regarded as the next best thing in Indian Cricket who made his debut before the Pandyas and Dhawans is simply a tale lost to misfortune.