The biggest tournament in cricket, the ICC Cricket World Cup has entered its 12th edition with ten teams in the contest. Hosted by England and Wales, this year, a total of 48 matches will be played with the final taking place on the 14th of July at the prestigious Lord’s. There has been a significant change in the format, with each team playing every other team once in the league stage.Popularly termed as the 'Round Robi', in this, the top 4 from this stage will make it to the semis.
Even though England, India, and Australia are the favorites to win the trophy, other teams would definitely make life difficult for them. The 1991 World Cup and the 1996 World Cup are some big examples of such turnarounds.
The thin line between competing and winning is about making the most of the opportunities that are provided. To represent your country on such a big stage is a privilege. But there have been instances in the past where some of the best cricketers failed to make it to the World Cup squad. Here is a list of them:
#1 VVS Laxman:
VVS Laxman was the backbone of Indian batting during the late 90s and early 2000s. He was one of the prime reasons for India enjoying ample success in the longer format. He represented India in 134 Tests scoring 8,781 runs at an average of 45.5. He was known for his wristy style of play which enabled him to score heavily on the leg side. With all the success he enjoyed, one thing that he wasn’t able to accomplish was to play for his country on the big stage.
He was one of the few players to have played more than 100 Tests and not play a single World Cup game. Even though he had all the skills that were needed, he failed to perform consistently at a quicker rate in the limited overs. He managed only 2338 runs in 86 ODIs with an average of just above 30. The younger generation stepped up with his ODI career diminishing.
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#2 Justin Langer:
Justin Langer has played a key role in regrouping the Australian squad as a coach. He is a strong personality right from his debut days. This Western Australian player opened the innings in Tests for the team along with Matthew Hayden in the 2000s. This pair could take on any bowling line-up in the world with some explosive batting display.
He represented Australia in 105 Tests scoring close to 7,700 runs at the top of the order. On the contrary, his performance in the colored jersey was limited. He was part of the ODI squad in his early part of the career with just eight matches under his belt where he managed 160 runs. After his match against England in 1997, his ODI career never took off which was the reason for him not making it to the world cup side. However, He would love to lift the World cup as Australian coach.
#3 Sir Alastair Cook:
Sir Alastair Cook is one of the greatest batsmen to have played for England in the longer format. He is not only England’s most capped player but also the highest run-getter in Tests. He played in 161 Tests amassing 12,472 runs with 33 tons in that period. Even though his ODI career was not as good as his test career, he never got to play in a World Cup. He made his ODI debut in 2006 against Sri Lanka where he managed 82 runs in two matches.
He missed out on getting selected for the 2007 world cup but came back to the team for the West Indies and India’s series. As an opener, his inconsistency, as well as low strike rate, were the key weaknesses which he failed to recover from. He was able to get only a handful number of matches before the 2011 world cup, but that wasn’t enough for him to get into the team. In 92 ODIs, he scored more than 3000 runs at an average of 36.40. It is unfortunate that a batsman of his caliber didn’t play a single World Cup match.
#4 Mathew Hoggard:
Matthew Hoggard was one of the frontline bowlers for England in the 2000-2007 period. He was known for his lethal out-swingers and variations. He made his debut in 2000 in place of Andrew Caddick. He enjoyed success in Test cricket with 248 wickets in 67 matches. He also registered the bowling figures of 7 for 61 against South Africa in Johannesburg. Despite all the good performances in the Tests, he struggled to make a mark in the ODIs.
He was often inconsistent with his line and length leaking a lot of runs. He played in 26 ODIs taking 32 wickets with the best figures of 5 for 49 against Zimbabwe. He played his last ODI against India in 2006. From then on, his form dipped which forced him to retire from international cricket in 2008. He continued to play in the county as he captained Leicestershire from 2010 till 2013 after which he announced his retirement.