There are impact players, players who steal the show by their genius, and then there are those players who quietly go about their business and contribute equally to the team's cause. Yet these players do not get the required attention and praise they so richly deserve. These are the unsung heroes of any team.During the course of the 5 World T20s, there have been players who have contributed immensely to the success of their team, but their thunder has been stolen by someone else who has had a greater impact.We look at five such unsung heroes from the previous editions of World T20.
#1 2007: RP Singh
That historical match at the Wanderers, that amazing innings by Gautam Gambhir, that incredible spell by Irfan Pathan who was adjudged Man of the Match, and that match-winning hunch by MS Dhoni by giving Joginder Sharma the final over, every image and every memory is still fresh. However, one performance that somehow went unnoticed is the performance of left-arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh.
It is worth noting the fact that India were defending a modest total of 157, and needed early wickets. Enter RP Singh, as he dismissed Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Akmal with the new ball and then later came back with the old ball to castle Umar Gul.
This contribution did not receive the deserved accolades. RP was in amazing form throughout the tournament and played a pivotal role in the match against South Africa too where he utilised the conditions in Durban to his advantage and picked up 4 wickets for just 13 runs. Here in this match too, Rohit Sharma was declared Man of the Match.
If Yuvraj Singh grabbed all the headlines, RP Singh went about his business and contributed equally to the success of the team.
#2 2009: Abdur Razzaq
Shahid Afridi is a maverick, and no one polarises opinion more in Pakistan than the flamboyant allrounder. He was in imperious form in both the semi-finals and finals, and won the game and the tournament for Pakistan. No wonder, the one lasting image that surfaces is the famous Afridi pose with both arms aloft.
However, Abdur Razzaq was an equal contributor to the victory as he picked up 3 wickets for 20 runs including the big wicket of Mahela Jayawardene. Razzaq was never a quite flamboyant player and was also very unassuming with his robotic bowling and late order batting. He seldom hogged the limelight and yet he has been the lynchpin of the Pakistan side for a very long time.
He has been a lost story, and perhaps a victim of petty politics, but the numbers and statistics that he boasts of can never be ignored. An unsung hero in every aspect.
#3 2010: Ryan Sidebottom
The burly left-hand bowler from Yorkshire was in exceptional form throughout the 2010 World T20 in the West Indies and was instrumental in England winning the trophy.
However, if there is a certain Kevin Pietersen present in the squad, and if he is winning the match, no other player will ever get attention. And then there was Craig Kieswetter who played brilliantly in the final, and Paul Collingwood the first captain to lead the side to their first Global Championship, any mention of Sidebottom would always be made in a muted manner.
There is, however, no denying the fact that Sidebottom bowled a penetrating line all through the tournament, and helped the team restrict the opposition to a modest reason.
#4 2010: Sunil Narine
The Calypso boys won the tournament and won many hearts during the triumphant T20 campaign in Sri Lanka. They danced, smiled and entertained the way West Indians are famous for, and then they played serious cricket.
The Marlon Samuels onslaught on Lasith Malinga in the finals will always be rated as one the best T20 innings to have been played. However, the bowling performance of Sunil Narine was equally emphatic, as the mystery spinner claimed 3 wickets for 9 runs in 3.4 overs and derailed the Sri Lankan chase. His wicket of Mahela Jayawardene who was the captain then started the slide.
Marlon Samuels was the Man of the Match, and Shane Watson was the player of the series. Narine, was content standing back arms crossed, and epitomising an unsung hero.
#5 2014: Nuwan Kulasekara
Lasith Malinga was in imperious yorker hitting form, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena got together and did what they do the best – score runs together and win games.
Nuwan Kulasekara suddenly slipped under the radar, and many forgot his contribution along with Lasith Malinga the death. He conceded only 4 runs in the 19th over and sucked all momentum out of the Indian innings, and two of the best finishers in world cricket, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh struggled to lay bat on ball.
Kulasekara was once ranked the number one bowler in the World, and he has always been a trusted aide for any captain every time.