The Unlucky XI: A team of ODI stars born in the wrong era
When Australia took on England at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 5 1971, not many could have predicted the birth of a sporting revolution. While the first ever ODI was a 40-overs-a-side contest, the format has gradually evolved over time to occupy a significant place in the game. It remains a travesty that countless stalwarts of yore missed out on bestriding the limited-overs arena.
In this segment, let us assemble a star-studded ODI lineup comprising players who were unlucky to be plying their wares in the wrong era. Apart from those popular cricketers who played during the primitive era of the format, this team also contains players whose careers were cut short due to heavy competition for spots. These talented cricketers could have been ODI greats in a parallel universe.
Among the few world-class cricketers in the Indian team during the 1960s and early 1970s, Farokh Engineer was an integral part of the successes enjoyed by the fabled spin quartet. His wicket-keeping skills on turning tracks were almost impeccable. The right-hander also opened the batting for the vast majority of his Test career. Such a combination could have made him an ODI star too. The absence of limited-overs cricket during his peak restricted his ODI career to just five appearances.
Bevan Congdon was New Zealand's first great captain. His strong leadership skills endeared him to Kiwi cricket aficionados during their bleak phase of the early 1970s. Although he staunchly based his game on technique and temperament, he could also take the attack to the opposition bowlers. An average of 56.33, with a century and two fifties in 11 matches, may offer a glimpse of his ODI prowess.