There is no bigger tournament in world cricket than the quadrennial 50-over World Cup. Every cricketer aspires not only to play in the World Cup but also achieve the pinnacle of success by being part of a champion squad.
While plenty of cricketers from all around the cricketing globe have had the privilege of participating in the tournament over the years, there are only a chosen few who have tasted World Cup glory.
And then come the really unfortunate ones who never got a chance to play for their country in the World Cup despite being among the finest to have represented their respective teams. The reasons behind players of such high pedigree missing out can be attributed to them playing lesser limited-overs cricket or specialists in the shorter formats being preferred over them.
On that note, here are 5 prolific cricketers who didn’t play a single World Cup game.
5. Justin Langer (Australia)
Justin Langer is easily one of the greatest openers to have represented Australia in international cricket. The southpaw played 105 Tests in a career that lasted 14 years and scored more than 7000 runs at an average of just over 45. Langer formed a great partnership with fellow opener Matthew Hayden and together, they were the most formidable Test opening pair in the early 2000s.
The Aussie’s ODI career, though, lasted just eight matches in which he could only manage 160 runs without a single half-century. He is perhaps the only batsman from the golden era of Australian cricket who has not played for his team at the World Cup. In fact, Justin Langer’s last ODI match came back in 1997, a decade before he called time on his illustrious career.
4. Matthew Hoggard (England)
Matthew Hoggard’s credentials as a Test bowler for England are difficult to question as he is among the country’s top 10 wicket-takers of all time. One of the best opening bowlers of his time, Hoggard claimed as many as 248 wickets in just 67 Tests with a career-best match haul of 12/205 against South Africa. He also played a key role in England’s iconic Ashes triumph over Australia in 2005.
The England fast bowler, however, did not have a very successful ODI career and it consisted of only 26 matches. Hoggard picked up 32 wickets, which included best figures of 5/49 in a match against Zimbabwe. His ODI career came to an end in 2006 without him getting an opportunity to represent England in World Cup cricket, even though he was included in the 2003 World Cup squad.
3. Chris Martin (New Zealand)
Pacer Chris Martin is one of the best bowlers to have played for New Zealand in Tests and is only below Richard Hadlee and Daniel Vettori in the list of leading wicket-takers for the country. In a career that lasted 13 years, Martin played 71 Tests and grabbed 233 wickets with 10 five-wicket hauls and personal best figures of 11/180 against South Africa.
In contrast, his ODI career didn’t quite get going as he picked up just 18 wickets in the 20 matches he played and was rarely on the selectors’ radar for the 50-over format. The closest Chris Martin came to participating in a World Cup was in the 2007 edition when he replaced an injured Daryl Tuffey in the squad but unfortunately enough, he did not get a game.
2. Sir Alastair Cook (England)
Sir Alastair Cook has been quite an iconic figure in his country’s cricket and is also a member of the 10,000-run club in Test cricket. To add to his batting achievements, Cook also captained the side quite brilliantly and won multiple Ashes Test matches during his successful tenure.
Having featured in 92 ODIs, it comes as a big surprise that Alastair Cook never represented England in the 50-over World Cup. The previous occasion when he featured in an ODI team was back in December 2014, prior to which he had scored more than 3000 runs with five centuries.
1. VVS Laxman (India)
Legendary Indian batsman VVS Laxman was a part of the iconic quartet of Indian Test batting which is often dubbed as the ‘Fab Four’. In a career which saw the stylish Hyderabad-based batsman play 134 Tests, he scored 8781 runs at an average of just under 46 and hit 17 centuries including a career-best of 281 against Australia at the Eden Gardens.
Although it is hard to say that Laxman was a great ODI batsman, he definitely played some sparkling knocks in an 86-match career. He scored four out of his six ODI hundreds against Australia and averaged a staggering 46.18 against them. However, his chance to play for India in World Cup cricket never came as he never made it to any of the squads.
Before the 2003 World Cup, it looked almost certain that VVS Laxman would be selected. But in what was seen by many as a last minute change, Dinesh Mongia was included in the team at his expense.