The No. 5 position is arguably the most underrated position in all of cricket. The openers get their due, the finishers get their due and the studs at No. 3 and No. 4 are remembered as the legends with tons of runs. But with multiple roles during the best of times and the worst of times, the unsung heroes at No. 5 slog away thanklessly.They don’t get to pile on the runs on flat tracks and they are almost always under pressure on the bowler-friendly pitches. Over the years, the most under-appreciated batsmen have made No. 5 their home, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the torchbearer of everything under-appreciated in cricket, being the most famous representative. Some players like AB de Villiers and Michael Clarke have shone from that place, but the No. 5 by and large has been a quiet, unassuming, consistently crisis-weary role.Here we take a look at some of the most prolific No. 5 batsmen in Test cricket. Mind you, great players like Allan Border and VVS Laxman do not make it to this list purely because their versatility meant they were frequently moved around the batting order with not enough runs at this position. But the list is not bereft of legends; there are some really big names.
#10 M Azharuddin
No. 5 overall
No. 5 at home
No. 5 away
One of India’s most successful captains and the only man to score three centuries on the trot after debut, Azharuddin averaged 48 at No. 5 but always gave the impression of a man who underachieved. With rubber wrists, Azharuddin was one of the game’s most stylish and elegant batsmen ever, capable of flicking balls well outside off-stump and sending them screaming through mid-wicket.
His game didn’t have a weakness except for an occasional loss of concentration. He was a good skipper in a relatively weak team; he laid the foundations for the Indian side that would go on to be world beaters, only to lose his legacy to match-fixing scandals.
Azhar was a mercurial player who played some inspiring innings once set, as seen in his conversion rate – he had more 100s than 50s at No. 5.