Create

5 Indian players who showed promise under MS Dhoni’s captaincy, but faltered

(Left) Praveen Kumar; (Right) Yusuf Pathan and (top) Manoj Tiwary. Pics: Getty Images
(Left) Praveen Kumar; (Right) Yusuf Pathan and (top) Manoj Tiwary. Pics: Getty Images

Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni is regarded as one of the greatest limited-overs captains in the history of the game. He took charge of Team India’s T20 squad for the 2007 World Cup, following a disastrous ODI World Cup campaign earlier in the year. Dhoni made an instant impact, and a massive one at that, as the Men in Blue lifted the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup.

Dhoni did not look back after that. Under him, the team won the 2011 ODI World Cup as well. The captain himself led from the front in the final against Sri Lanka, smashing an unbeaten 91. In 2013, he became the only captain in international cricket to win all three ICC white-ball trophies as the Men in Blue lifted the Champions Trophy in England.

With Dhoni at the helm, youngsters like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Ravichandran Ashwin flourished and turned into match-winners. Despite MSD's inspirational presence, there were a few who did not live up to expectations.

In this feature, we look at five players who showed promise under the veteran keeper-batter's captaincy, but faltered.


#5 Varun Aaron

Varun Aaron bowls during an ODI against New Zealand at Eden Park on January 25, 2014. Pic: Getty Images
Varun Aaron bowls during an ODI against New Zealand at Eden Park on January 25, 2014. Pic: Getty Images

Like Dhoni, pacer Varun Aaron also hails from Jharkhand. There were high hopes from him when he entered the international scene since he was considered one of the fastest bowlers on the Indian domestic circuit. Aaron showed some early promise, but failed to build on it and swiftly disappeared from the big leagues.

He claimed 11 wickets in nine ODIs at an average of 38.09. Aaron’s best of three for 24 came against England in 2011 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai when he ripped through the tail. All three of his victims were bowled.

Aaron’s last ODI appearance came against Sri Lanka in Cuttack in 2014. He walked off the field with a muscle issue after bowling 4.1 overs. Still only 32, it remains to be seen whether he can make a return to the international scene. Unfortunately, chances are very slim.


#4 Stuart Binny

Stuart Binny celebrates a dismissal in a match against England. Pic: Getty Images
Stuart Binny celebrates a dismissal in a match against England. Pic: Getty Images

Stuart Binny had the potential to be a decent batting all-rounder. He could strike the ball hard and chip in with a few overs with his medium-pace bowling, as well. Binny played 14 ODIs, scoring 230 runs at an average of 28.75 and a strike rate of 93.49. He smashed 77 in a match against Zimbabwe in Harare in 2015.

With the ball, he holds the record for the best bowling figures by an Indian in ODIs. He ran through Bangladesh with figures of six for four in Mirpur in 2014 as India successfully defended a total of 105. Binny claimed 20 ODI wickets at an average of 21.95 and an economy rate of 5.37.

Stuart Binny 6/4 vs Bangladesh 2014 https://t.co/m6AvWB8Dw3

He also played three T20Is. Binny never played for India after conceding 32 runs in one over in a T20I against West Indies at Lauderhill in 2016.


#3 Manoj Tiwary

Manoj Tiwary during an ODI against England at The Rose Bowl on September 6, 2011. Pic: Getty Images
Manoj Tiwary during an ODI against England at The Rose Bowl on September 6, 2011. Pic: Getty Images

Bengal batter Manoj Tiwary is a domestic legend, having amassed over 9000 runs in first-class cricket from 130 matches. Despite his obvious talent, he could never quite establish himself in the Indian team. He ended up playing only 12 ODIs and three T20Is for India, scoring 287 and 15 runs, respectively.

Tiwary’s finest moment came when he scored an unbeaten 104 against West Indies in Chennai in 2011, his only ODI hundred. The following year, he scored an impressive 65 against Sri Lanka in Pallekele. He never managed to get a long run in a packed Indian middle order. And in the other games that he played, he couldn’t contribute much.

The batter continued to pile on runs in domestic cricket, but did not earn a recall after being dropped in 2015. He scored a hundred in the Ranji Trophy 2022 final against Madhya Pradesh last month. However, Bengal went down in the contest by 174 runs.


#2 Praveen Kumar

Praveen Kumar celebrates a wicket during the 2008 Commonwealth Bank Series. Pic: Getty Images
Praveen Kumar celebrates a wicket during the 2008 Commonwealth Bank Series. Pic: Getty Images

Praveen Kumar rose to prominence during the 2008 Commonwealth Bank Series Down Under. The medium pacer dismissed Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting in the first final against Australia in Sydney.

In the second final in Brisbane, he picked up four for 46, getting the better of Gilchrist and Ponting again, while also sending back Michael Clarke and Brett Lee. Kumar was named Player of the Match as India won the best-of-three finals.

He was not quick, but his ability to swing the ball both ways made him an asset in ODI cricket. However, fitness and temper issues meant he found himself out of the reckoning more often than not. Kumar registered decent numbers in his ODI career - 77 scalps in 68 matches at an average of 36.02. However, he had the capability to achieve a lot more.

Gilchrist ✅ Ponting ✅ Clarke ✅ Lee ✅ 10-2-46-4 in second Final in Brisbane.Praveen Kumar played an instrumental role in India's CB series win against Australia in Australia in 2008. India's first multination win in Australia.#HappyBirthdayPraveenKumar https://t.co/ugKfOCEWvH

Kumar’s last one-day match for India was the Asia Cup 2012 clash against Pakistan in Mirpur in 2012 (this was also Sachin Tendulkar’s last ODI game). Unable to make a comeback into the Indian team, Kumar retired from all forms of cricket in 2018 at the age of 32.


#1 Yusuf Pathan

Yusuf Pathan was a destructive batter at his peak. Pic: Getty Images
Yusuf Pathan was a destructive batter at his peak. Pic: Getty Images

For a brief period, Yusuf Pathan was a star performer with the bat in India’s limited overs teams. In December 2010, he smashed an incredible 123* off 96 balls against New Zealand, clubbing seven fours and as many sixes. Thanks to Yusuf’s heroics, Team India chased down a target of 316 in the match in Bengaluru.

A month later, he clobbered a South African pacer attack comprising Dale Steyn and Morne Morhke en route to a 70-ball 105 in Centurion. Although the visitors lost the match by 33 runs via the D/L method, it was a special knock.

It remains a mystery as to how Yusuf did not go on to become one of India’s finest match-winners in the limited overs format. He had incredible power and was gifted with the ability to find gaps at will.

Despite a lot going for him, Yusuf ended up playing only 57 ODIs and 22 T20Is, in which he scored 810 and 236 runs, respectively. Like Kumar, Yusuf’s last ODI for India was also the 2012 Asia Cup clash against Pakistan. His final T20I appearance came in the same year, against South Africa in Johannesburg.


Also Read: 3 Indian youngsters who could get a chance to prove their ODI credentials against West Indies

Quick Links

Edited by Samya Majumdar
Be the first one to comment