Every cricketer's dream is to represent their country in Test match cricket. Once they are an established member of the Test team, the next ambition is to lead the nation in the longest version of the game.
A total of 33 cricketers have earned the privilege of captaining the Indian team in Test cricket. MS Dhoni holds the Indian record for the most Test matches as captain, having led the country on 60 occasions, followed by Virat Kohli with 55 Test matches as the Indian captain.
At the other end of the spectrum are players who have served Indian cricket for a long time but never got an opportunity to lead the country in Tests. On that note, let us have a look at the 5 Indian cricketers who have played the most Test matches without captaining the team.
5 Indian cricketers with the most Test caps without leading the country
#5: Syed Kirmani - 88 matches
Syed Kirmani is at the fifth position among Indian players to have played the most Test matches without captaining the country. The Karnataka wicket-keeper-batsman represented India in 88 Test matches.
Kirmani scored 2759 runs at an average of 27.04, including 2 centuries and 12 half-centuries. He also accounted for 198 dismissals comprising of 160 catches and 38 stumpings.
During his Test career spanning from 1976 to 1986, Syed Kirmani played under 4 Indian captains with Sunil Gavaskar (47 matches) captaining him for most encounters. Bishen Singh Bedi (22 matches), Kapil Dev (17 matches) and Gundappa Viswanath (2 matches) were the other captains under whom Kirmani demonstrated his skills behind the wickets.
Apart from these 88 Test matches, Syed Kirmani also represented India in 49 ODIs. The Chennai-born wicket-keeper-batsman scored 373 runs in these matches at an average of 20.72 while also effecting 36 dismissals comprising of 27 catches and 9 stumpings.
The greatest moment of glory in Syed Kirmani's illustrious career was winning the 1983 World Cup under the captaincy of Kapil Dev.
#4: Zaheer Khan - 92 matches
Zaheer Khan occupies the fourth spot among Indian players who have played the most Test matches without skippering the team. The Baroda seamer represented India in 92 Test matches.
Zaheer Khan scalped 311 wickets in these Test matches at an average of 32.94. He managed to take a 5-wicket haul on 11 occasions, with a best spell of 7/87 against Bangladesh at Dhaka in January 2010.
During his 14-year Test career, Zaheer Khan played under 5 Indian captains with Sourav Ganguly (36 matches) being his skipper for most encounters. The other captains under whom the left-arm seamer displayed his wares were MS Dhoni (31 matches), Rahul Dravid (14 matches), Anil Kumble (8 matches) and Virender Sehwag (3 matches).
Zaheer Khan also represented India in 200 ODIs and 17 T20Is, bagging 282 and 17 wickets respectively in the two formats.
Much like Kirmani, the highest point of Zaheer Khan's career was winning the 2011 World Cup, a tournament in which he also finished as the joint-highest wicket-taker.