It’s that time of the year again. The time to celebrate the duds. This year’s got a pretty good crop of talented players who had the kinds of performance issues that can’t be solved by pills. Not legally, anyway.
Taufeeq Umar (246 runs at 24.6): This year was a return to mediocrity for Taufeeq, who had a pretty successful comeback year in 2011. He managed to hold on to his spot because he was competing with Imran Farhat and no one else. Still has a flashy backlift.
Adrian Barath (179 runs at 16.27): Talked up by Lara, century on debut against the Australians, but little else going for him. With things looking good for the West Indies in the latter half of 2012, Barath will need to do a lot more to get his place back. Like get Steve Bucknor to talk him up, to lower all the expectations.
Shaun Marsh (14 runs at 3.5): While his teammates piled on the runs, Shaun Marsh was the walking wicket India didn’t have to worry about. And we’re grateful to him for that. The IPL did put him in the public eye, after all.
Sachin Tendulkar (357 runs at 23.8): I never imagined I’d have to do this, but this was not Sachin’s year. He looked listless, and at times even out of his depth. To be fair though, he depth is very deep, if that makes any sense. Ended the year by retiring from the format that made him a superstar.
Eoin Morgan (82 runs at 13.66): Eoin “Vowels” Morgan was one of the few batsmen to audition for a lower-middle spot in the England batting order this year, and he failed miserably. Five out of the six dismissals were brought about by spin – thrice by Ajmal and twice by Rehman. Test cricket is destined to be without the most confident reverse-sweeper around.
Samit Patel (109 runs at 15.57, 4 wickets at 64.25): Morgan’s failure meant that a spot opened up for Samit Patel, who could also chip in with his… spin? A true allrounder, he was awful with both bat and ball. And you can make up your own “all round -> fat” joke. That’s beneath me.
Aizaz Cheema (1 wicket at 167): Pakistan have been known to produce many quality fast bowlers. This is not one of them. If you had told me at the beginning of 2012 that Mohammed Sami would average 75 fewer runs per wicket than the next worst Pakistani bowler, I would have coughed up my appendix laughing. Which would conveniently free up space in my body for an appendix-sized pizza slice (because that’s how the human body works).Kruger van Wyk (wk) (341 runs at 21.31): He probably wouldn’t have made this XI if I had decided it didn’t need a real format, but I did and he was the worst ‘keeper-bat statistically. Actually, Baugh had a lower average but van Wyk played thrice as many innings. (Cool story, right? I know nothing about Kruger van Wyk, except that it’s what I’d name a Bond villain if he owned a tiger. It’s a toss-up between Kruger van Wyk and El Tigre Pussygalore.)
Ishant Sharma (7 wickets at 75.57): These aren’t the bowling figures of an unlucky bowler, they’re the stats of a bloody awful bowler who has a firm grasp on one end of a very long rope. Longer than several of him put together, even. Ended the year, somehow, as India’s spearhead. That’s a very blunt toy spear with an “all ages” sign on it.
Imran Tahir (17 wickets at 55.88): I could have put someone else in this spot, but there’s no way that was going to happen after the tonking he got from Australia. 0-180 from 23 overs! I’ve always got a leggie’s back, but that was unadulterated filth. The kind that sleazy hotels wouldn’t even put on premium pay-per-view. All highlights are censored.
Nuwan Pradeep (1 wicket at 235): And with an economy of 4.19. Yikes. Moving on.
Daniel Vettori (5 wickets at 87.8)
Tim Bresnan (16 wickets at 55.43)
Sreesanth (0 wickets at 0) (This won’t make sense, but I’ve never made a Worst XI list without a mention of Sreesanth. It just isn’t right).