February 24, 2011

Yes, but is he lucky?

India seems to have had more than its fair share of talented cricketers whom fortune did not favour
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When a general of great talent and courage was recommended to him, Napoleon (or so the story goes), would always ask, "Yes, but is he lucky?"

It is a question that could also be asked of cricketers. The history of Indian cricket is littered with players whose careers have been defined by extraordinarily bad luck, so that their opportunities and overall record have been blighted by disappointment and underperformance. Unlucky players are those whose manifest ability has simply not been matched by recognition and reward. Every country has them - think of New Zealand's Rodney Redmond, who hit a century on Test debut and was never picked again - but the Indian experience, as befits a nation conscious of the influences of the planets and other forces beyond an individual's control, accommodates all known varieties of ill luck.

The most obvious kind of bad luck is the accident of birth at the wrong time. Think of the spinners Padmakar Shivalkar and VV Kumar, who had the great misfortune of being contemporaries of the immortal Indian spin quartet of the 1960s - Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Prasanna and Venkataraghavan, perhaps four of the greatest spinners in the world at the time. Shivalkar and Kumar were arguably just as good as, and quite conceivably better than, many of those who donned Indian colours before and after their time, but the tragedy of chronology meant that they hardly got a look in for their country.

Shivalkar was undoubtedly one of the finest spinners I have ever seen, as his 589 first-class wickets at an incredible 19.69 will testify. He had the astonishing ability to drop the ball on a precise spot and to turn it like a top. As an enthralled Bombay schoolgoer I watched him repeatedly bamboozle the gifted batsmen of Bengal and Mysore in the Ranji Trophy. But one "unofficial Test" against Sri Lanka is all he got, Bedi having taken a permanent lien on the left-arm spinner's role.

Kumar actually played two Tests, nearly bowling India to victory on his debut against Pakistan in 1960-61 with figures of 5 for 64 and 2 for 68. Injured and wicketless in his second outing, he was never picked again, Chandrasekhar taking the legspinner's slot in the side. Skilled at line-and-length bowling accompanied by prodigious turn, Kumar finished at 599 first-class wickets (his bad luck again depriving him of that final wicket) at 19.98.

The tyranny of the calendar also put paid to the career of the brilliant wicketkeeper batsman AAS Asif. When the all-conquering touring Indian Schoolboys side of 1967 swept their English opponents aside that summer, it was Asif and not his team-mate Syed Kirmani who was the first-choice keeper. A swashbuckling bat in the Budhi Kunderan mould, Asif would have been a natural for one-day cricket had he been born just 10 years later. Stifled in Ranji cricket, he disappeared from the scene after just 13 first-class matches, his Hyderabad place taken by the diligent but less talented P Krishnamurthy, and he never came within sniffing distance of the India cap his friend Kirmani would wear with such distinction in the decade to follow.

The accident of birth had nothing to do with Sadanand Viswanath's ill luck. He was rightly the first wicketkeeper tried out in succession to the redoubtable Kirmani, and demonstrably the most talented of the seven who would play for India in that role in the following decade. In only his third Test, against Sri Lanka, he equalled the Indian Test record of six victims in a Test. Astonishingly he was never picked again. It was said that his batting was not up to the mark, but a wicketkeeper who ended his first-class career with 179 victims in just 74 games (and accompanied them with a century and 23 fifties as well) was hardly undeserving of a more extended run.

The ill luck of selectoral caprice has dogged many an Indian cricketer, so Viswanath is hardly alone. Batsmen of the class of Vijay Bhonsle and KP Bhaskar never got picked for India despite first-class records far more impressive than many who were so favoured. The Kanitkars, father and son, were doubly jinxed, each playing only two Tests before being dropped for good, despite doing well enough to show they were worthy of selection. Hemant Kanitkar's 65 in his first innings against the formidable West Indian pace battery in 1974-75 was in keeping with a career record in excess of 5000 runs at 42.78. Hrishikesh Kanitkar's 45 against Aussie pace in Australia 25 years later went similarly unrewarded; more mysteriously, he was dropped from the ODI team despite at least two match-winning performances in his first few games. He is still chugging away, having led Rajasthan to the Ranji Trophy title this season, and with a first-class average of nearly 55, but his international days are over.

Spare a thought, too, for Mohammad Kaif. Selected for India against the fearsome pace of South Africa before he was quite ready, thrust unfairly into opening the batting in his second Test series, moved up and down the order and in and out of the side almost at whim, Kaif was never given a chance to settle down into his natural role as a dependable middle-order batsman, despite an impressive 148 not out against the West Indies in 2006 in what turned out to be his last series. He was India's most reliable performer in the ill-fated 2004-05 tour by Australia where India relinquished the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and yet found himself dropped from the Test side. After winning two ODIs for India off his own bat and saving countless runs in the field with his quick reflexes, there has been no place for him in India's one-day plans either. A few years ago I was confidently writing of him as India's next captain; today he would be lucky even to be India's next 12th man. Life is unfair.

And then there is the ill luck of ill-timed injury. If Manoj Tiwary hadn't been unfortunate enough to crash into a billboard while fielding at the boundary on his maiden tour of Bangladesh at the peak of his dream first-class season, he might have made his Indian debut and cemented a place in the side. Instead he has slipped so far back in the selectors' reckoning that he is no longer even mentioned as an Indian prospect. One player who regularly is mentioned, Rohit Sharma, was even more unfortunate: assured of a Test debut against South Africa, he missed the match by spraining a foot playing football at practice, and is now behind both Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli in the running for a place in India's Test batting line-up.

But the all-time Mr Unlucky must surely be the one Indian who has played a Test without being able to claim he has played a Test. Connor Williams of Baroda was picked to open for India in the Centurion Test of November 2001, but the controversy that erupted over India's refusal to accept the designated ICC match referee, Mike Denness, meant that the Test was deprived of official status by the ICC. Williams scored a gritty 42 off 83 balls against South Africa's five-man pace attack, but despite playing a full-strength Test side away from home, his official record shows him to be uncapped. He was never picked again and now clearly never will be.

So the next time a player of promise emerges on the horizon, we might temper our excitement at his talent and potential with that pertinent question of Napoleon's: "Yes, but is he lucky?"

Shashi Tharoor is an Indian MP and a former United Nations Under-Secretary General

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nampally on February 25, 2011, 19:38 GMT

    A very good article, Shashi. There are quite a few deserving names you missed out. The most notable amongst them is Abbas Ali Baig, who after century in his test debut against England, got very few chances playing a total of 11 tests.Abbas was a very gifted cricketer. Amongst the left arm spinners, Kartik was shelved after a brilliant match winning test performance against the Aussies Kartik is still the best left arm spinner.Irfan Pathan after being shelved has now become injury prone.At one time Surthi, Durrani & Nadkarni were fighting for the same spot. S.Adhikari of Bombay never made the test despite his immense talent as opening bat.One surprises out of blue- Abid Ali was a WK but suddenly became a successful opening bowler for India. There are many talented youngsters in ndia who miss the grade because they have no god Fathers to push them. Religion also played a big role at one time. So one has to have a balance of talent, politics, religion & timing to make it Indian tests.

  • CHETHUMYSORE on February 25, 2011, 16:01 GMT

    i think kaif sharma kanitkar all got lot of chances to prove its their poor performance not their un lucky........i think there is no weightage to this article......but in my regard badrinath is unlucky n uthappa, irfan pathan, neil david superb fielder all rounder who played couple of matches was unlucky not kaif and others mentioned in the article

  • jay57870 on February 25, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    (Contd) Another example: (late) Ramnath Kenny. He had a long first-class cricket career (1950 to 1964), scoring 3,079 runs with a 50.47 average. He excelled in Ranji Trophy. He also had a brief stint of five Tests (vs. mighty West Indies and Benaud's Australia) in 1958-60. Those were lean years for India. Yet, Kenny made a lasting impact, because he was a fine coach. He gave his time generously to honing the batting skills of his teammates. Importantly, he is credited with helping in the development of one Sunil Gavaskar: no mean achievement. Like Amol Muzumdar, Kenny played primarily for Bombay and later moved to Bengal (Assam now in Amol's case) to help develop the young sides and mentor/guide them through the ground realities of first-class cricket. Amol has already succeeded in getting Assam promoted to the upper tier. Test cricket aside, both have contributed as best as they could to Indian cricket. Theirs is a success story: A triumph of spirit! Like yours Shashi! Keep it up!!

  • jay57870 on February 25, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    (Contd) A case in point: Amol Muzumdar. He was on the same world-record-breaking school team as Sachin and Vinod Kambli. He also played (as vice-captain) alongside Sourav and Rahul in the U-19 India A team. He flourished in domestic cricket, becoming the highest run-getter in Ranji Trophy history. Still, Amol could not break into Test cricket, while his four elite teammates -- plus VVS Laxman (same age) -- did. Bad luck? No. Accident of birth? No. Was he ever thrust into a situation not of his choosing? No. Quite the opposite: the "youth movement" afforded Amol as much an equal opportunity as any of his contemporaries. The reality: They were just better at the game; all have enjoyed world-class status (except Vinod, sadly his own fault). One cannot resign to fate and use bad luck as an excuse. And Shashi Tharoor, as illustrious a career in public life as he has had, should know it. Keep up the good work, Shashi! (TBD)

  • jay57870 on February 25, 2011, 13:30 GMT

    Importantly, the "youth movement" of the 90s presented a special opportunity for these aspiring youngsters. Sachin was ready and seized it as a 16-year old in 1989. Sourav and Rahul were relative "late-bloomers" while making their Test debuts at 23 in 1996. Age, maturity (physical/mental) and ambition have a huge bearing on one's readiness. Many budding schoolboys and U-19 stars fail to advance to the next levels for various reasons: they "peak" too early; succumb to "burnouts" or outside "distractions;" or are simply "outhustled" by superior rivals. Then, some who do get a chance squander it away. Many cannot sustain the demanding standards (and pressures) of big-time cricket. The bar is set high and keeps rising. Still, giving up because of "bad luck" or resigning to fate is like being a cop-out. Remember "Mr Cricket" Michael Hussey fought his way into a strong Aussie Test side at age 30! And likewise his brother David into a top-ranked ODI team at 31! Both are still around! (TBD)

  • jay57870 on February 25, 2011, 13:15 GMT

    Luck is but only one aspect of the success equation. Many variables influence the direction of a person's life. Successful people -- as Malcolm Gladwell argues in his best-seller "Outliers" -- are "invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." The 1990s, a decade of dramatic changes, saw the rise of several Indian cricket stars: Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble, etc. Gifted with talent, they worked out and practiced very hard as well. (Exceeding the "10,000-hour rule" of hard practice is a "magic number of true expertise" for success per Gladwell). Further, they were ably guided/supported by dedicated coaches, mentors and families. (TBD)

  • on February 25, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    Some notable omissions from this list of players either not getting chances at all, or just a few before being discarded: Rajinder Goyal of Haryana, Pravin Amre who scored a century on début in SA in Durban. Shib Sundar Das didnt get too many chances, he had the potential. Bradrinath is the very obvious one, he should have been Dravid's logical successor but people are already looking at Pujara. Murali Kartik and Akash Chopra also got a raw deal.

    Shashi Tharoor, quit politics and start writing on Cricket. You talent is being wasted.

  • A.Ak on February 25, 2011, 11:40 GMT

    Rohit and Kanithkar have been given fair chance to prove them-selfs, but failed. What is happened to Badrinath?, look at his first class record, his average is over 60. He did well in his debut against SA when all mighty players failed. He also won a ODI game in a couple he has played. Proved in IPL also. He has enough experience and played more matches with this mighty average. People favoring young heroes who played only handful of games. Why he is missing in the team? can you call this unlucky?

  • on February 25, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    See people keep using the name of one badrinath or one raydu.I am not doubting their ability but there is a world of difference playing well in domestic cricket and being of international class.I can give a example of a Graham Hick or Mark Ramprakash those guys were brilliant at first class level but when it came to the big stage they faultered.I would be happy if i am proven wrong about badrinath but still i dont think he can make the cut when players like virat kohli or rahane are there who are much more talented.Cricket is not just about having a good defense.its about scoring no matter how u score them.In these articles ppl keep mentioning about robin utthapa who i dont think is good enough at this level

  • on February 25, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    All these players didn't do any miracle...................Look at Yuvraj's entry Sehwag's entry Tendulkar's WC 92 performance. They not only scored big but also at high strike rates against strong oppositions. Runs scored at a low strike rate means, your stay at wickets is helping opposition not your own team. Many a times opposition themselves don't want to dislodge such batsmen because some big hitter is yet to come after them. So their stay on wickets delays his arrival which opposition wants. Above all, most of these youngsters have played at no 5, batting at no 5 is the easiest position because all teams are using their part timers at that stage hence their score is against part timers which requires no skill - any kid can go and score against part timers. If anyone comes and scores big at 1,2,3 against strong opposition, then he is worth his place and have been rewarded as such. These losers got what they deserved.

  • Nampally on February 25, 2011, 19:38 GMT

    A very good article, Shashi. There are quite a few deserving names you missed out. The most notable amongst them is Abbas Ali Baig, who after century in his test debut against England, got very few chances playing a total of 11 tests.Abbas was a very gifted cricketer. Amongst the left arm spinners, Kartik was shelved after a brilliant match winning test performance against the Aussies Kartik is still the best left arm spinner.Irfan Pathan after being shelved has now become injury prone.At one time Surthi, Durrani & Nadkarni were fighting for the same spot. S.Adhikari of Bombay never made the test despite his immense talent as opening bat.One surprises out of blue- Abid Ali was a WK but suddenly became a successful opening bowler for India. There are many talented youngsters in ndia who miss the grade because they have no god Fathers to push them. Religion also played a big role at one time. So one has to have a balance of talent, politics, religion & timing to make it Indian tests.

  • CHETHUMYSORE on February 25, 2011, 16:01 GMT

    i think kaif sharma kanitkar all got lot of chances to prove its their poor performance not their un lucky........i think there is no weightage to this article......but in my regard badrinath is unlucky n uthappa, irfan pathan, neil david superb fielder all rounder who played couple of matches was unlucky not kaif and others mentioned in the article

  • jay57870 on February 25, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    (Contd) Another example: (late) Ramnath Kenny. He had a long first-class cricket career (1950 to 1964), scoring 3,079 runs with a 50.47 average. He excelled in Ranji Trophy. He also had a brief stint of five Tests (vs. mighty West Indies and Benaud's Australia) in 1958-60. Those were lean years for India. Yet, Kenny made a lasting impact, because he was a fine coach. He gave his time generously to honing the batting skills of his teammates. Importantly, he is credited with helping in the development of one Sunil Gavaskar: no mean achievement. Like Amol Muzumdar, Kenny played primarily for Bombay and later moved to Bengal (Assam now in Amol's case) to help develop the young sides and mentor/guide them through the ground realities of first-class cricket. Amol has already succeeded in getting Assam promoted to the upper tier. Test cricket aside, both have contributed as best as they could to Indian cricket. Theirs is a success story: A triumph of spirit! Like yours Shashi! Keep it up!!

  • jay57870 on February 25, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    (Contd) A case in point: Amol Muzumdar. He was on the same world-record-breaking school team as Sachin and Vinod Kambli. He also played (as vice-captain) alongside Sourav and Rahul in the U-19 India A team. He flourished in domestic cricket, becoming the highest run-getter in Ranji Trophy history. Still, Amol could not break into Test cricket, while his four elite teammates -- plus VVS Laxman (same age) -- did. Bad luck? No. Accident of birth? No. Was he ever thrust into a situation not of his choosing? No. Quite the opposite: the "youth movement" afforded Amol as much an equal opportunity as any of his contemporaries. The reality: They were just better at the game; all have enjoyed world-class status (except Vinod, sadly his own fault). One cannot resign to fate and use bad luck as an excuse. And Shashi Tharoor, as illustrious a career in public life as he has had, should know it. Keep up the good work, Shashi! (TBD)

  • jay57870 on February 25, 2011, 13:30 GMT

    Importantly, the "youth movement" of the 90s presented a special opportunity for these aspiring youngsters. Sachin was ready and seized it as a 16-year old in 1989. Sourav and Rahul were relative "late-bloomers" while making their Test debuts at 23 in 1996. Age, maturity (physical/mental) and ambition have a huge bearing on one's readiness. Many budding schoolboys and U-19 stars fail to advance to the next levels for various reasons: they "peak" too early; succumb to "burnouts" or outside "distractions;" or are simply "outhustled" by superior rivals. Then, some who do get a chance squander it away. Many cannot sustain the demanding standards (and pressures) of big-time cricket. The bar is set high and keeps rising. Still, giving up because of "bad luck" or resigning to fate is like being a cop-out. Remember "Mr Cricket" Michael Hussey fought his way into a strong Aussie Test side at age 30! And likewise his brother David into a top-ranked ODI team at 31! Both are still around! (TBD)

  • jay57870 on February 25, 2011, 13:15 GMT

    Luck is but only one aspect of the success equation. Many variables influence the direction of a person's life. Successful people -- as Malcolm Gladwell argues in his best-seller "Outliers" -- are "invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." The 1990s, a decade of dramatic changes, saw the rise of several Indian cricket stars: Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble, etc. Gifted with talent, they worked out and practiced very hard as well. (Exceeding the "10,000-hour rule" of hard practice is a "magic number of true expertise" for success per Gladwell). Further, they were ably guided/supported by dedicated coaches, mentors and families. (TBD)

  • on February 25, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    Some notable omissions from this list of players either not getting chances at all, or just a few before being discarded: Rajinder Goyal of Haryana, Pravin Amre who scored a century on début in SA in Durban. Shib Sundar Das didnt get too many chances, he had the potential. Bradrinath is the very obvious one, he should have been Dravid's logical successor but people are already looking at Pujara. Murali Kartik and Akash Chopra also got a raw deal.

    Shashi Tharoor, quit politics and start writing on Cricket. You talent is being wasted.

  • A.Ak on February 25, 2011, 11:40 GMT

    Rohit and Kanithkar have been given fair chance to prove them-selfs, but failed. What is happened to Badrinath?, look at his first class record, his average is over 60. He did well in his debut against SA when all mighty players failed. He also won a ODI game in a couple he has played. Proved in IPL also. He has enough experience and played more matches with this mighty average. People favoring young heroes who played only handful of games. Why he is missing in the team? can you call this unlucky?

  • on February 25, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    See people keep using the name of one badrinath or one raydu.I am not doubting their ability but there is a world of difference playing well in domestic cricket and being of international class.I can give a example of a Graham Hick or Mark Ramprakash those guys were brilliant at first class level but when it came to the big stage they faultered.I would be happy if i am proven wrong about badrinath but still i dont think he can make the cut when players like virat kohli or rahane are there who are much more talented.Cricket is not just about having a good defense.its about scoring no matter how u score them.In these articles ppl keep mentioning about robin utthapa who i dont think is good enough at this level

  • on February 25, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    All these players didn't do any miracle...................Look at Yuvraj's entry Sehwag's entry Tendulkar's WC 92 performance. They not only scored big but also at high strike rates against strong oppositions. Runs scored at a low strike rate means, your stay at wickets is helping opposition not your own team. Many a times opposition themselves don't want to dislodge such batsmen because some big hitter is yet to come after them. So their stay on wickets delays his arrival which opposition wants. Above all, most of these youngsters have played at no 5, batting at no 5 is the easiest position because all teams are using their part timers at that stage hence their score is against part timers which requires no skill - any kid can go and score against part timers. If anyone comes and scores big at 1,2,3 against strong opposition, then he is worth his place and have been rewarded as such. These losers got what they deserved.

  • Yuvi11 on February 25, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Good article, but spare a thought for Badri who's been performing consistently for years now. Top run scorer in Ranji this season and also hit centuries in current Vijay Hazare trophy, see his Firs class average... This guy should really be considered for Test team and given chances.

  • Rahul_Paharia on February 25, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    Hrishikesh Kanitkar's ODI average is 17 with a strike rate of 66. Mohammed Kaif's average is 32 with a strike rate of 72. And the article says they are unlucky. I guess they were lucky to get the chances they got.

  • fosterbat on February 25, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    Wonderful article. Being from Hyderabad, I remember AAS Asif well he was an amazing talent.He moved to the US and did very well for himself there but not as a cricketer though that should have been his primary calling in life. One other outrageous Hyderabadi talent who I grew up watching was Mumtaz Hussain. He too was lost in the Bedi shadow. He could make the ball do anything with his left arm spin and turn it prodigiously at the same time. He played Ranji Trophy for Hyderabad for many years but never got a second look from National selectors.His genius would have benefited India greatly.

  • on February 25, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    the most unlucky person is kaif

  • mogan707 on February 25, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    I don't know the fate of cricketers of other boards.But in India the state cricket boards have a final say whether a player is worth a place in the side.No matter how consistent you are,you cannot guarantee a place to him unless the state board is convinced at the players' consistency and ability to perform.Even if one administrator thinks that he is not a fit player to play,then his career is ruined so much that he could not play even Ranji Matches.Examples Former ICL players AT Rayudu,Amol Muzumdar,Abhishek Jhunjunjwala....The list goes on.So does the fate of cricketer.So the arcticle justifies that the player is not selected because of bad luck but not the other way.

  • on February 25, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    Expected the author of "The Great Indian Novel" to reminisce a bit more about the past. Shute Banerjee was the fastest bowler in India and toured England in 1936 and 1946 but never played in a test. At the age of 36, he got his only call against the touring West Indians of 1948-49, and claimed 5 wickets. He never played again. Same fate awaited Montu Banerjee, another fast bowler, same fate of one test and five wickets. Ramnath Parker was as prolific with the bat for Bombay as Shivalkar was with the ball; he didn't get many chances. Ramesh Saxena, the classy batsman from Bihar, got one test. Subrata Guha and Ambar Roy from Bengal got 4 tests but deserved more, Gopal Bose got none. Yograj Singh, father of Yuvraj singh and a strapping fast bowler, played only test. I will conclude by saying that the inclusion of Sadanand Vishwanath in this article wasn't fair - he had talent self-destroyed through wayword lifestyle. How about an article on those who got more chances than they deserved?

  • srijsen on February 25, 2011, 1:26 GMT

    but for a stroke of good luck in 1996, even Sourav Ganguly might have made it to this list!!!!!!!!!!

  • bks123 on February 25, 2011, 0:35 GMT

    .rohit and kanitkar are in this list..so is kaif...they got more chances than they deserved....kanitkar player 34 games @17..abt his bowling the less said the better...he played 34 games bcz of one four he hit against PAK...crazy selection..

  • on February 24, 2011, 22:18 GMT

    it is funny when some one mentioned the name of Dinesh Karthik.I feel he is one chap who has been so many opportunities though he did decently well in england where he was tried out as an opener however he did get his chances and did falter on most occassions.He did reasonably well in couple of the games.I would say he is similar to what rohit sharma is.One player who i genuineley felt missed out and should have got more chances was Sadagopan Ramesh.He was way better than those openers which we tried like SS Das or Devang Gandhi or even Wasim Jaffer.that guy reminded me more of Marcus tretschoik with minimal footward but wonderful timing and hand eye coordination

  • on February 24, 2011, 21:15 GMT

    Rajinder Goel and B Vijayakrishna too were the contemporaries of Paddy Shivalkar and the spin quartet, and therefore missed out. Another great spinning talent, Raghuram Bhat was not given more than 2 tests despite taking prize 4 wickets of Miandad, Mudassar, Lloyd and Logie in those tests. S.Ramesh and Praveen Amre too come in that same category of playing few, missing more. But certainly, S.Vishwanath was the most talented yet highly unlucky to have suffered.

  • Raj12345 on February 24, 2011, 21:12 GMT

    It seems, Bias is there all over India. Don't you remember Badri at all. At least highest run getter of this season and bringing domestic trophies to his home team. Shame on you for not writing about him. Here is Badri fate goes: second chance to Ganguly, then Chance to Yuvi, Raina, Puraja. Now you talk about Kohli. All these pushed Badri down. Common, if Laxman, Dravid & Sachin able to play after 35s and why not Badri for another 5 years.

    If Raina deserve a permanent place after 20 matches failures & Vijay deserve place after 10 matches failures, then why not others. Indian cricket is completely controlled by few CSK players. We can't talk more than that now.

  • Deepkar on February 24, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    rohit sharma unlucky!!!!! may be if u think. i think a man who borm at wrong time is badrinath and im from mumbai rohits home city now he is playing ipl for us but real unlucky is badri, u can join raydus name in that least.

  • Angry_Bowler on February 24, 2011, 20:14 GMT

    The problem is some got too many chances before they even established themselves as players. Even Sachin got too many opportunities early in his career; he scored first ODI 100 in his 79th match, but he proved later that he is a great player. Just imagine anybody getting it in today's format. But look at others, some were dropped for good before even batted in their first debut, so sad but it is the reality or may be some local politics who knows!

  • on February 24, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    Also Dinesh Karthick got a raw deal, in Test he has been picked as a stop gap for the opening slot eventhough he was a middle order he has done his part a bit in South Africa/Bangladesh & England where he was top scorer in that series. During that Chief Selector Mr.Vengsarkartold in an interview he should be groomed for the future as a opening batsman.

    For One day International he has got opportunity in foreign soil only once he failed he has not been picked at all.

  • Alestar on February 24, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    wanna know a man with a first class record of 27 centuries, over 7,000 runs in a stunning average of 62, He is S. Badrinath. The only other player(atleast that I know of) with such an impressive first class record is Sachin

  • Kdalv11 on February 24, 2011, 18:21 GMT

    Amol Muzumdar... should have got a look in...

  • Harshtmm on February 24, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    its not luck but pluck. Don't tell me luck plays a role, it never does. I can show VVS. Some players fall off becuase they don't know how to fight.

    I don't know about the older players , but all the players mentioned here haven't done anything worthwhile to deserve a place. its not luck , luck is spelled work in the dictionary of successful people.

  • ToTellUTheTruth on February 24, 2011, 18:14 GMT

    Very well said Mr.deep_63

  • anishtulsian on February 24, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    I think Rohit Sharma is extremely lucky to be still in contention or selectors' radar. He has been given enough chances as compared to many other talented players. He plays well in 20-20 format but then he loses it all in ODIs. I don't know what is his problem. Mohammad Kaif should have been considered for Tests if not ODIs too. He has been unlucky to be ignored. Aakash Chopra is playing cricket at the wrong time. With the emergence of Sehwag and Gambhir, no other opener has a chance. Manoj Tiwari should be given a fair chance. He can be a real force in India's batting. He can stay on the crease and attack when needed. He is a good player. Connor Williams should have been given a fair run, He was pathetically unlucky. Sadagoppan Ramesh also deserved more chances in Tests if not ODIs. He was one of the best Test openers in India. Badrinath definitely need to be selected in atleast Tests. He can be a force on away and home pitches.

  • on February 24, 2011, 16:45 GMT

    there are a few missing names in this list...... Praveen amre(scored a very good hundred against a strong SA in SA), Reetinder Singh sodhi(allrounder)....salil ankola ...there are some players who got too many chances than what they actually deserve(dinesh mongia, venugopal roa)

  • on February 24, 2011, 16:38 GMT

    Kanwaljit Singh never quit, nor did he announce his retirement as a Hyderabad player. The selectors had to make the tough decision to pull the plug on the bowling machine. He had taken 319 wickets at economy rate of 2.91 for Hyderabad, Kanwaljit says "Even in my last game, I took nine wickets. I was not going to quit. They (Hyderabad selectors) thought it was better to go with younger guys and only after I was dropped, I decided to call it a day."

  • on February 24, 2011, 16:34 GMT

    Kanwaljit was arguably the best Hyderabad offspinner, after V Ramnarayan, who never played for India. Where Ramnarayan lost out to Erapalli Prasanna and S Venkataraghavan, Kanwaljit had to contend initially with Shivlal Yadav and Arshad Ayub. Later, he says, lesser spinners got preference over him. "There were some pathetic spinners who played for the country, some were even under the scanner for their action," says Kanwaljit. "I don't know what favoured them. It's still a mystery to me why they played and I missed out. Probably I was not destined to play."

    "For the first 10 years I didn't know what was happening. Any other bowler would have quit. When I was young, I was too young; when I was the right age I was never considered and then I was too old."

  • on February 24, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    Common guys one should realze at the end of the day its just 15 players who can play for india.I do understand selectors do make mistakes but its not as if they dont do a good job.Being an Indian selector its one of the toughest jobs where you get cursed no matter how good you were in the job.No one praises them for the good decisions they take.I can say the best selection commitee which was there was under Vengsarkar.I mean he not only saw india coming out of the slump after the disaster in wc 2007 but did manage to do a fairly decent job.He was the one who first got in the likes of Virat kohli and Pravin Kumar in 2008 when they were unknown faces or even for the matter RP singh though he has gone off the radar

  • SebV on February 24, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    @deep_63: Totally agree. No sympathy for Kaif. He simply never was a match-winner.

  • MiddleStump on February 24, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    Tharror has selective memory. On paper, the unluckiest spinner was Rajinder Goel. He was 12tn man for a single test and dropped for the next test. May be the selectors did not like the way he carried drinks to the field! His first class record and longevity are legion. Mohinder Amarnath almost went the same way, may be because his exposed head caused bad luck. Once he started wearing a helmet his luck turned. Not so for his brother Surinder who hit a century on debut and was an outstanding fielder as well. Kanwaljit Singh surely deserved to be selected, with even somebody like Noel "who is he" David getting an opportunity. Badrinath and Badani are extremely unlucky. The fact however is that Indian team selection has always been based on other 'considerations', which is explained away as luck. A partial list of these 'lucky' players would include Jeejeeboy, Gandotra, Noel David, Sudhakar Rao, Parsana, and Surinder Khanna.

  • on February 24, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    I feel kaif was kinda off unlucky especially in the longer format where he did deserve genuineley a few more chances after his series in west indies.In the shorter format he was like out of form for almost an year in ODIs and the india sa series in 2006 was the nail of the coffiin where he performed poorly.He was very good at the field though.As far ppl talking about Irfan Pathan go he had lost his bowling rythm completley due to which he was dropped.He needs to get that nip back in his bowling.He is still young and hopefully he does get rehabilitated as far his bowling goes

  • dinster77 on February 24, 2011, 15:33 GMT

    Some other names that fit in this category.

    1. Rajinder Goel (3 boat loads + 1 truck load) full of Ranji wickets 2. S. Badrinath - unlucky not to ever get preference over players like Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj singh 3. A. Muzumdar - Scored runs in huge volumes, but never considered seriously for national selection.

    Slowly making his way into that list is Ajinkya Rahane - we'll wait and watch.

  • dinster77 on February 24, 2011, 15:27 GMT

    A good article. While I agree that luck (or lack thereof) played a big role in the careers of shivalkar, kumar and vishwanath - Hrishikesh kanitkar & Rohit Sharma in my opinion are good examples for the opposite concept. Hrishikesh inexplicably got to play 34 ODIs and he managed an average of 17.x - too long a rope. Rohit sharma insists on never maturing from the young flamboyant and talented batsman - his legacy still continues and the talent he has shown will provide more opportunities at redemption - or more opportunities to emphasize his current reputation, whatever he chooses to do with them.

    The point to be made here is that - the luck factor you talk about was a result of the whims of the selectors and the vagaries in their minds. Dropping VV kumar after 1 non performance was a sin that will not happen in this day and age. India's biggest progress in cricket I think is the accountability placed on the selectors these days - something that was woefully absent in the past.

  • cmloga on February 24, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    Another nice article from Mr Tharoor. Other names which are worthy of mention are Rajinder Singh Goel (another Bedi victim), T E Srinivasan (biased selection), W V Raman (never given chances at his prime and also a victim of Ravi Shastri).

    I agree with Born Smart - you should write an article on those given more chances than they deserved.

  • kevin786 on February 24, 2011, 15:07 GMT

    Definately missed out on Hemang Badani

  • on February 24, 2011, 15:05 GMT

    WHAT ABT VENU GOPAL RAO WHO ALSO WON A MOM AWARD IN 7 OR 8 ODIS ALSO SCORED AN QUICK FIRE DOUBLE CENTURY AGAINST ENGLAND IN A PRACTICE MATCH BUT NEVER BEEN TAKEN INTO TEAM

  • on February 24, 2011, 14:58 GMT

    I dont understand why ppl keep bashing out youngsters just for the sake of it.I do understand the fact that Rohit sharma has not been consistent and his stats reflect on it.But that guy has so much ablity and i feel if he can get discipline in his game and improve his fitness he has the technique and the class to make it big at the international level.Even sehwag wasnt consistent in his intial phase.I am not supporting his failures but i feel the guy has it in him to make it big at the international level.He just needs to improve his temperment

  • maco on February 24, 2011, 14:54 GMT

    Kanwaljit Singh from hyderabad is one player who never got a chance to represent india, with 369 wickets at stunning economy rate of 2.49, he definately deserved a place

  • on February 24, 2011, 14:52 GMT

    Another name who was relativeley unknown who does come about is someone like Sarandeep Singh.He had a relativeley decent debut test match against zimbawe in 2000 when he first appeared by getting 6 odd wickets.He was a crafty customer however if i can recall correctly he played two more test matches.One was against england in 2001 where he got some wickets and next one was in west indies where he was thrashed badly.He just dissappered from the radar then.Not blaming anyone but in a cricket team you can just pick 11 players and like harbhajan singh had grabbed his chances then

  • d3v3sh on February 24, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    I must mention about Harvinder Singh and Debashish Mohanty as well. They were key in taking early wickets to win Toronto Series asgainst Pakistan. Harvinder singh was more like Manoj Prbhakar who could swing the full toss balls as well both sides.

  • Kml789 on February 24, 2011, 14:15 GMT

    Dheeraj Jadhav another name ot add to that list

  • Born_Smart on February 24, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    I think ROhit Sharma is not unlucky rather super lucky to be even picked for that series ahead of Pujaras and Rahanes. I definitely feel for Badrinarh, Manoj Tiwary, RR Bose etc., This article would have been complete if lucky players who got more than a fair chance were mentioned, leading the list should be Rohit Sharma, Sreeshanth, T Kumaran, Deep Dasgupta, Sameer Dighe, Parthiv Patel, M Vijay, K srikkanth etc.,

  • dudilite on February 24, 2011, 13:26 GMT

    U have missed Badrinath, Hemang Badani in ur list !!

  • onkar4in on February 24, 2011, 13:19 GMT

    Dear Mr Tharoor, You forgot to mention the king of unlucky cricketers.It was none other than "AMOL MUZUMDAR".As you put it his was the case of accident of birth. Unfortunately he was the contemporary of The great Sachin Tendulkar,The Solid Sanjay Manjrekar,The Stylish Vinod Kambli.

  • GoodSelector on February 24, 2011, 13:15 GMT

    ohhh yes.. rohit sharma is unlucky , he may not have played a test but he has a million one day caps and has never played to his full potential in any of those games so thats why he hasnt got a test cap yet. people like virat kohli who have been performing shud be next in line and subramanium badrinath is probly the most unlucky of all, quality batsman only has played 2 tests, made a 50 then was dropped.... tho he as well didnt impress in the one dayers he played tho they dint give him much of a run.

  • bluebillion on February 24, 2011, 13:12 GMT

    I cant comment on most of the players mentioned in this article as they were before my time. But I can comment on the following: 1) Hrishikesh Kanitkar - he ceratinly wasnt dropped "mysteriously". He was dropped from ODIs because he wasnt performing at all. He has played 34 ODIs and scored at an average of 17.8. Certainly was given enough chances there. He was replaced by the likes of Sehwag and Yuvraj who ceratinly grabbed their chances. 2) Kaif - started with a bang but he never really delivered on his promise. Played more than a 120 ODIs. Lets face it - 2 match winning knowcks in a 125 ODIs doesnt really cut it. Stricke rate wasnt his forte either. In tests, he played 3 test series after Australia in 2004 / 05. He was replaced by Ganguly who made hi comeback. 3) Manoj Tiwary - he has slipped back in the selector's reckoning because of a few disappointing first-class seasons - you can add Abhishek Nayar to the list too.

  • chaithan on February 24, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    Very good article!!! But i think rohit sharma doesn't belong here. It would be better if he was replaced in this article by Badrinath. First, Badri could never make team India because of the big 4. Then, when he finally made his debut, he scored a 50 in his 1st innings- the 2nd highest score in that innings and 3rd highest in the match. Now, he doesn't seem to be on the selector's radars at all.

  • on February 24, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    Another name worth mentioning is Surendra Bhave, who despite having a terrific run in the Ranjis was overlooked for Woorkeri Raman, and then never came back to that form...

  • timus6778 on February 24, 2011, 13:04 GMT

    What about Praveen Kumar??he has been india's best odi bowler of late,he even overshadows zaheer khan sometimes with his nagging line and length...one of the few bowlers to possess skills like inswing and outswing both in his armour...and yet he finds no place in Indian test side,,,while lesser mortals like mithun and jaidev undakat(how did he come into the side,it's a mystery to me) have played for india in the test matches..doesn't praveen deserve a chance..if not on flat pitches in India,why not in South Africa or England,where the conditions do favour him...if he doesn't bowl at 150 kph,neither does zaheer nor ishant anymore...he is worth a try in the truer format of the game.

  • jonesy2 on February 24, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    good one. you could make a very compelling article of australians of the same fortune. brad hodge, stuart macgill, phil jaques, chris rogers, stuart clark, david hussey, james hopes, nathan bracken. just to name a few recent/current examples.

  • Strtdrive on February 24, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    An extremely well chronicled article Mr. Tharoor. You know your cricket. Indeed Paddy Sir was awesome and had both accuracy, flight and spin that could bamboozle the opposition. I believe Rajinder Goel was also a contemporary who took ann amazing number of wickets and did not play for India. As regards Sadanand Viswanath, he was also unlucky on the personal front and some unfortunate developments left him scarred and lead to formation of some unhealthy habits. Also there were several other competent keepers like More, Pandit and Mongia waiting to take his place. Rohit and Manoj can still play. Rohit, if he gets some discpline in. He has taken his talent for granted and his bat still comes down from second slip. Pujara in the meanwhile has toiled his way through. Badri in the meanwhile bids his time and one just hopes that he does not join the 'unlucky' clique.

  • vinodkumar on February 24, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    I think one needs to feel for Subramaniam Badrinath. Forget being ignored by the Selectors, he is also ignored by Mr. Tharoor, if you can talk about Rohit Sharma, Mnaoj Tiwari and Mohd. Kaif, Mr. Tharoor Iam sure you can also spare a thought for Badri. In the present lot of domestic players if he doesn't deserve a place in the test team, who else does? I still hope Badir is given a fair chance atleast in Tests before its too late for him.

  • on February 24, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    I thot Md Kaif had enough chances in ODI;Infact, he was given an extended run just for his NATWEST heroics.

  • on February 24, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    what about JOGINDER SHARMA........picked first in 2004 december .made his debut with dhoni....then picked next in jan 2007...after that in the t20 world cup where dhoni was captain....won the world cup for India and hasent bowled a ball for India for last 4 years.....what say?

  • on February 24, 2011, 12:00 GMT

    Rohit Sharma is a pretty overrated player, he is lucky to even be in the squad. Mohammed Kaif was one of the unluckier among the contemporary cricketers, I used to love his dogged batting in the middle order in the few tests that he played. In ODIs, he was the best fielder and runner between the wickets. I definitely thought Kaif was a future Indian Captain.

  • on February 24, 2011, 11:50 GMT

    wow..superb column mr Taroor!!But U missed out two players in that list i gues... One is Radinder Singh Sodhi, who i thought would be the next geniune allrounder and KN Ananthapadmanaban who had the same fate as Stuart McGill am afraid..:)

  • gnat9 on February 24, 2011, 10:35 GMT

    I believe Sanjay Bangar and Akash Chopra deserve mention as well. Both were excellent batsmen, who were never able to realize their potential.

  • dutchy on February 24, 2011, 10:26 GMT

    The flipside of this is players who are far more lucky than they deserve...

  • Sudeepb on February 24, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    Nice article Mr. Tharoor. Didn't know that you are also a cricket buff. However, yours comments about Kaif and Rohit Sharma seem a bit over stated. They did get opportunities. When Kaif showed signs that he could be considered, better guys emerged in the horizon. Pujara knocked the door for 3 seasons and Virat Kohli is doing so now, both of whom seem to be technically better equipped to get a look in ahead of Rohit Sharma, who squandered chances much as Kaif did.

    The misses in the article are Badrinath and Rajinder Goel. I would also tend to include Shivaramakrishnan, who came out of his vices in a year and was back in form but he never came back in reckoning. His talent was on show in the series against England in 1985, when he picked 18 wickets in the first 2 tests. Other names that come to mind are Ajay Sharma, a prolific scorer who got only one test and Amarjeet Kaypee, a heavy scorer in domestic season, who possibly were victims of zone-wise quotas and politics.

  • Avinash04 on February 24, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    Kambli was not luck. He had his chances, enough I would say, to get his life in order. One name I think was very unlucky was Stuart Gill. If not for Shane Warne, he would have definitely had a long career and very big wicket haul.

  • amrev2134 on February 24, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    Md. Kaif... what a loss really. a dedicated team player, and now he will never be able to make it back. And then we have someone like Ajit Agarkar who was persisted with... emerging player for 10 years. The caprices of fate.

  • marrtinjoseph on February 24, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    Another great article Mr Tharoor. You have mentioned a few talents which did not have the favor of good luck. Though coming from a 'Kerala' background you forgot to mention Anantha Pathmanabhan . He sure deserved a mention in your article .

  • deep_63 on February 24, 2011, 8:55 GMT

    I guess this is part of our psychology to feel for losers. We would be immensely critical of anyone who is in the team (including Sachin) and patronize anyone who is out. I won't comment on Kumar and Shivalkar, (hard to compare without seeing them play )but some of the more recent exclusions, just deserve it. Md Kaif played over 125 ODI's for a career avg of 32 at Strike rate of 72. Neither a dasher nor a finisher after over 100 games. Look at his last 30 innings (3 slow 50+ scores - non in a winning cause). How can you carry a guy like that. Same for Rohit, how many times does he have to throw it after getting set and making a 30 for us to be convinced beyond doubt. If Manoj Tiwary is good, he still can force his way by making ton of runs in domestic and IPL etc. There are only 11 spots in the team and you have to be very best (opener, middle order, seamer, leggie whatever) for your slot not 2nd or 3rd best if there is only one slot. Besides there has to be a vacancy.

  • crocker on February 24, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    Very nice article. Your interest & knowledge is commendable. Luck definitely is required to get noticed / favoured by selectors. Cases of N. Hirwani & L. Sivaramakrishnan are worth mentioning. Sachin Tendulkar had to turn to Sivaramakrishnan to practice countering Shane Warne. It takes genuine cricketer to recognise another & not Indian selectors.

  • on February 24, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    What about V.Shivaramakrishnan, was a great player for TamilNadu team all those years. Actually the wrong Shivaramakrishnan was picked to play during that time... Of course L.Shivaramakrishnan was talented as well... But V. Shivaramakrishnan deserved it more.

  • JerryMP on February 24, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    Good article Mr. Tharoor. Badrinath name should definetly come. He scored a gritty half century on his debut against Styern and co. This season he has been so profilic and nobody has even mentioned him for the test side. Even Srikant the chief selector is from TN and still Badri can not find favour. Has Badri rubbed Srikant on the wrong side?

  • Biophysicist on February 24, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    @Amit Bhatnagar: Rajinder Goel had 750 first class wickets in 157 matches at an average of 18.58. Incredible stats! But he was unlucky not to represent India even in a single match. Of course, 640 of these wickets are in Ranji Trophy.

  • Sreerang on February 24, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    What about 'making one's own luck'? Or 'Fortune favors the brave'. Temperament, attitude as mentioned in earlier comments make a difference. Also one has to market oneself well to the right people and the press. To be successful one needs, apart from basic skills, these other qualities to make one's own luck. And that's the hard fact of life.

  • tvradke on February 24, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    Badrinath got his chance and failed. It has nothing to do with luck. Ganguly, Dravid and Sehwag made their own luck with bright starts in the toughest of conditions on debut. Laxman was in and out as was Gambhir until they too cemented their places. Nobody is done any favors in India and nobody is persisted with without performance for too long unless they have proven themselves at the international level first. And if a player is given a chance when in form, he better perform and not expect too long a rope. To call Rohit Sharma unlucky is basically a joke. Amol Muzumdar was just born at the wrong time. Actually any player with aspirations of middle order batting for India in the late 1990s through early noughties was simply peaking at the wrong time. Apart from bowlers in the spin quartet era, I cannot think that any bowler in Indan history could realistically blame luck.

  • on February 24, 2011, 8:09 GMT

    Agree that Manoj Tiwari and Badrinath are among the most unfortunate ones.

    But Kaif and Rohit Sharma can not be counted as unlucky. Both showed initial promise and were in good books of respective captains, i.e. Ganguly and Dhoni. That is why they got opportunities to perform and deliver despite continuous failures. In 125 ODIs Kaif average is 32 at strike 72. Respective fugues for Rohit is 61 matches, average 27 at strike rate of 75. Its only when they failed repeatedly and did not made any impact on games they played, Indian team management started looking beyond them and eventually somebody else got chance.

  • Alexk400 on February 24, 2011, 8:09 GMT

    Manjo tiwary mentally weak. With his strong body , he should rule batting. Instead he is just not good. up and down. Many up and down performance attributed to lack of strength and stamina. In manoj tiwari case he is mentally weak based on what i saw in him in DD.Another half baked player.

  • on February 24, 2011, 8:09 GMT

    Dear Author , don't talk about Rohit Sharma as being unlucky , he has had his fair share of chances at the ODI level (more than fair if you ask me) but what has he done do improve his stake in those chances nothing NOTHING AT ALL . Look at Virat he has grabbed every oppurtunity that has come his way and deserves the place he is in today.I'm a Deccan Chargers Fan and Even though I liked Rohit in IPL ,at the International level he always disappointed . So please don't take away anything from Kohli and Pujara

  • on February 24, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    the young guns of 80s Maninder Singh, Chetan sharma, L Sivarama krishnan and Sadananth Viswanath all got great start to their careers and spoiled bcoz of the initial success which they could n't handled

  • Biophysicist on February 24, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    If Md. Kaif (average 32.84 with 1 hundred and 3 fifties in 13 tests) is considered unlucky not to have played more international matches, what about Sadagopan Ramesh (average 37.97 with 2 hundreds and 8 fifties in 19 tests), who is not picked after a decent performance in a series in SL? Cricinfo stats show that his last 4 innings are 47, 31, 46, 55. And he scored these runs as an opening batsman.

  • adetya on February 24, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    suprisingly there are no fast bowlers mentioned here...neither in the article nor in the comments...i guess india did try them all.we just dont HAVE ny fast bowlers..

  • silentcacophony.ubiquitous on February 24, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    brilliant piece Mr Tharoor ... Amol Mazumdar , Panjaj Dharmani, Amarjit Kaypee, S Sriram, Ajay SHarma, are also few names who could be considered unlucky .. Vikram rathore is another i think of... who made it big in domestic failed in intl

    But i Think one of the All time unlucky guys in Indian Cricketing History would be VVS Laxman , Could be become one of the few players in history of cricket to have scored 10000+ runs and 20+ centuries ( tests +odis combined) and never to have even played a single world cup match .

  • on February 24, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    yeah badrinath deserves a mention, he hasn't been given enough opportunities...but i seriously dont think Rohit sharma deserves a mention here, he just doesnt seem to have the right temperament for the highest level. I would also like to mention the names of Debashis mohanty and Murali kartik who were consistent performers at domestic level but were ignored by the selectors, mainly because they weren't from say a team like mumbai, karnataka or tamil nadu, whereas ajit agarkar was given a long stint despite flopping regularly... Even now when someone like Ashok Dinda is in national reckoning with a FC bowling avg of 34, a certain consistent performer Basanth Mohanty with a FC bowl avg of 21 is not even being noticed, rather a rookie like Jaidev Unadkat is drafted in to play a test...well some guys are 'unlucky' due to the bias in selection...

  • ramshankarp on February 24, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    Yes this list is vey very long in my memory - unlucky in terms getting no nod are - ananthpadmanabha from kerala, vb chandrashekar, currently manoj tiwari, Badrinath (who has avg of 60+),

    got a nod but no reconsideration - sr viswanath raman lamba, pravin amre, mohammed kaif, vinod kambli, robin uthappa..for tha

    got a nod after the are exhausted - Robin singh, abey kurvilla, paras mambrah

  • on February 24, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    Vivek Rajdan picked a 5 for in his second test and never played again.That too in Pakistan in 1989-90

  • on February 24, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    Nice article Throorji. Many names comes to my mind: Reetinder Sodhi (shud have played more than 18 odis), Badani (played four test as an opener???), JP Yadhav, Venugopal Rao, Robin Singh (played only one test and was also the highest scorer (11) when SL bowled India out for 54 in Sharjah), Bevan (shud have played more than 18 tests), Uthappa (he may or may not play for India ever).

  • splendorskies20 on February 24, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    Nice article,but it's very disappointing that Mr.Tharoor hasn't mentioned Badrinath in this article.He has been unbelievably consistent over the last few years and has scored acres of runs for half a decade now.I rate him as one of the unluckiest Cricketers in the world,let alone in India..

  • MJ1234 on February 24, 2011, 6:53 GMT

    The list is quite long - KP Bhaskar, VV Kumar, Vivek Razdan (did well against Pakistan in 1989), Sanjiv Sharma (took a five for vs Windies in Sharjah),Kanwaljit Singh,Carlton Saldanah, S Sriram, Paras Mhambrey, Reetinder Sodhi (did exceedingly well in the junior world cup and later joined the ICL)....Saurav Ganguly was lucky to be given a second chance 4 years after a disastrous tour of Australia in 1991-92.

  • Farhan-Sg on February 24, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    Booooooorrrrringg!!!!! Just wasted 5 mins of my life.

  • ravishankar231 on February 24, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    What about VVS? He did so well in the ODI series against Aus and Zim in late 2002 scoring 3 centuries in a week, but still was not picked up for the 2003 WC squad. In fact he is the only one among the fab four on Indian Team who was not made a single appearance in WC matches after being a part of the Indian team for 15 year.

  • arvin on February 24, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    the article shows writer in-depth knowledge of cricket... kaif name as being unlucky is totally false... kaif was given enough chances... as a matter of fact once he scored around 200 total runs in 20 1-dayers before being dropped... and name which needed a mention before shivalakars and kumars should have been RAJINDER GOEL... 750 wickets at 18.5 in 27 years of first class cricket... he defientely was unlucky to not play for india... throor omission of his name shows what little knowledge he has of indian cricket beyond players from big cities/states ...

  • Kunal-Talgeri on February 24, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    @ vaibhavkushwah: Am still a Kambli fan, but feel he didn't smile at Lady Luck. He is more a case of self-inflicted descent, than luck. He had it, he blew it.

  • Kunal-Talgeri on February 24, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    @ vaibhavkushwah: Am still a Kambli fan, but feel he didn't smile at Lady Luck. He is more a case of self-inflicted descent, than luck. He had it, he blew it.

  • Kunal-Talgeri on February 24, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    Nice piece. Sadanand Viswanath was a wonder in the 1985 World Championship of Cricket in Australia, alongside that other luckless leg-spin talent, L Sivaramakrishnan. My nominations for the luckless uns post-1990s: a) Atul Bedade -- imagine his cricketing-value to Twenty20 or the batting PowerPlay of 50-overs cricket. He was 15 years ahead of these times. b) Pankaj Dharmani: a prolific batsman/wicketkeeper in the pre-Adam Gilchrist era. c) Devon Malcolm: Imagine him under the wings of Andy Flower, d) Nathan Bracken: Why didn't they use him in the Aussie Test team in 2008, 09? He was on target, at least. e) Lastly, Stuart Law in the Ponting-Waughs-Martyn era of Australian cricket.

  • on February 24, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    vinod kambli must be in this list, expect good article

  • RogerC on February 24, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    Badrinath doesn't even have the luck to be mentioned in this article. Poor guy. Just look at his records in domestic level this year, if not the last 10 years.

  • on February 24, 2011, 6:14 GMT

    I started reading this article and was about to say good work .... but hell!! what's that suddenly in the mid of article India the Indian legend name was mentioned guess who Mr. Kaif. Certainly, i have not seen Mr. shivalkar and VV kumar so i was impressed going by their stats and felt sorry for him.Anyone who has little knowledge of cricket could easily say you that Kaif is for sure not a international test player.To be qualified as good international test player one should be able to play on any kind of pitch and bowler and can adept to the surrounding . Kaif, Kanitkar are subcontinent players.I wonder are they unlucky.

  • on February 24, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    What about Amol Majumdar? He at least deserved a chance.

  • ShreyasRao on February 24, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    Shashi, you seem to have made a fair assessment of the players until the 90s. I feel Kaif was lucky to get so many chances in test cricket , for a person with a first class average around 40.Tiwary and Sharma are still young and have a lot to do before getting a test call. You missed out mentioning the Tamil Nadu trio of Sriram,Sharath and Badrinath. All the three have a first class average around 55 and Badri is still going strong with 60 +.

  • c_vijay on February 24, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    Good article. Another name which comes to my mind is Amol Mazumdar. Was he born in worng era?

  • hotmani on February 24, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    Tons of runs in rajini, he is one among top 3 run getters season by season, selectors got no reason to avoid, well i am writing about Badrinath. U really missed writing his ill-fate mate.

  • on February 24, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Sad but Md Kaif ruined his career with his whateva kind of attitude.... Otherwise he woulda been a great asset... I still can't forget his heroics of 2003 Natwest !!

  • on February 24, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Hasan Raza... Youngest test cricketer in the world is another example.. always score in domestic cricket and always fail at international level

  • on February 24, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    Rajinder Goel deserves a mention too! I guess he had 640 wickets in Ranji Trophy but no test cap!! And as far as Rohit Sharma is concerned, its clear he has squandered so many opportunities given to him. He has talent, no doubt, but that can only take him to where he is. After that its the attitude which counts. Which he has shown so far that he lacks.

  • on February 24, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    There are many deserving and undeserving names in the list. I can very well vouch for Kanitkar as he was a good all-round prospect, but I cannot be so kind enough for somebody like Rohit Sharma. Especially when there remains one more person whose talents have been harshly obliviated from the memories of the current Indian fan, Subramaniam Badrinath. There was a time when at peak of his performance he had openly asked the selectors as to what more could he do be selected?? And all he got was a dogged test Vs South Africa at Nagpur where Steyn was at his destructive best. He somehow still managed to get a half century but was never given the due credit he really deserved. Today, at the age of 30, he is out of reckoning as far as selection is concerned. But time and again he still keeps coming with brave-heart performances and has been the pillar of stability for Tamil Nadu for over 5 seasons now. When will he get his chance? Or rather "he is good of course, but is he lucky??"

  • PPAIZ on February 24, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    Among these men we find the likes of Ravindra Jadeja .... who are picked , when not even worth carrying the drinks

  • vaibhavkushwah on February 24, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    Very nice article Mr. Tharoor. We can also count Vinod Kambli in the list of unlucky players.

  • Percy_Fender on February 24, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    Cheteshwar Pujara is probably the most deserving first class cricketer in India apart from Ajikya Rahane. While Pujara got his chance much too belated ly in my opinion, Rahane is still waiting to even get into the lists of the selectors. Rohit Sharma, seemingly very talented because of the time he has to play his strokes which allowed him to perform spectacularly in the IPL has an attitudinal problem I think. He has got more chances than most others of his age group. Manoj Tiwari looked good but was unlucky in that he got injured on the tour to Australia. I am surprised that in his selections of unlucky players, Tharoor has not mentioned T E Srinivasan, Devang Gandhi and Raman Lamba. While the great T E was probably too proud an individual to play second fiddle to anyone, Devang Gandhi's prolific domestic performance though rewarded in the form of national recognition, it happened against the likes of Lee and Magrath ain their prime. Failure was not unexpected. There have been many.

  • abmawji on February 24, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    thats saaddddd extremeeeeeeeee

  • on February 24, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    You missed out on mentioning Badrinath. What a shame!!!

  • on February 24, 2011, 5:11 GMT

    Its really nice to see a politician writing a column in a sports website.

    I am not really convinced off this article. I dont know about the others but Kaif and Rohit I believe have to blame only them selves and not the bad luck. They had number of opportunities but still were not as consistent as they have to be. The way virat kohli has grabbed the chances Rohit failed miserably in that area. So I dont think they have to blame the bad luck.

  • on February 24, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    I fully agree. Many hard working and talented individuals in cricket couldn't reach to the peak of excellence despite his merits either due to nepotism or injuries. Luck never smiled upon them.

  • on February 24, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    Wow! That was excellent!! :))

  • akhilhp on February 24, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    Liked the article very much... Once while doing comentary Ian Chappel said that whoever says luck plays no part in ones career is one who has never played a sport. How true...Luck also plays its role...

  • sivadubai on February 24, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    Good One. But how did Shashi Tharoor miss a very important person, who scored many runs in domestic cricket but never got a chance to play? I mean V. Sivaramakrishnan, what a fine player he was. Opener, Left Hander. Sad story continues Rajindher Goel, another spinner, a wicket taking machine, never got a chance The saga continues, with Badrinath continuously being overlooked, Rahul Dravid simply clings on to his slot, he must leave to accommodate freshers. Badrinath should be given a chance again.

  • sudhindranath on February 24, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    Another player to be sidelined during the Bedi era was slow left-armer, B. Vijayakrishna of Karnataka. He took fewer wickets than Shivalkar mainly because half of the spin quartet - Prasanna and Chandra - was from the same team as him.

    Sadanand Viswanath's international career ended because, according to what I heard around the KSCA clubhouse, he was not "sufficiently respectful" towards King Gavaskar...

    As for Hemant Kanitkar, he was a horrible fielder even by the pathetic standards of the Indian team of 1970's, letting boundaries go within a foot of his side and even under his feet!

  • Jai_India on February 24, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    now i think Irfan pathan has the same destiny? He was regarded as the best upcoming fast bowler in India.. He proved his batting skills and was called the successor of Kapil Dev? But it is a pity that no one gives him a chance with teh likes of Ravindra Jedeja being hopeless for almost 3 or 4 series.. Let us hope the Indian selectors open their eyes.. Hope they give him good advice and training if they feel he dont fit into the level they expect..

  • on February 24, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    Tamil Nadu's Badrinath deserved more chances. But currently, he might be overlooked.

    One can't forget Stuart Macgill from Australia.

  • cricket_vijay on February 24, 2011, 3:09 GMT

    I thought Sadanand had personal issues and was dropped for disciplinary reasons. I think more than luck, some didn't have temperament or determination?

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  • cricket_vijay on February 24, 2011, 3:09 GMT

    I thought Sadanand had personal issues and was dropped for disciplinary reasons. I think more than luck, some didn't have temperament or determination?

  • on February 24, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    Tamil Nadu's Badrinath deserved more chances. But currently, he might be overlooked.

    One can't forget Stuart Macgill from Australia.

  • Jai_India on February 24, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    now i think Irfan pathan has the same destiny? He was regarded as the best upcoming fast bowler in India.. He proved his batting skills and was called the successor of Kapil Dev? But it is a pity that no one gives him a chance with teh likes of Ravindra Jedeja being hopeless for almost 3 or 4 series.. Let us hope the Indian selectors open their eyes.. Hope they give him good advice and training if they feel he dont fit into the level they expect..

  • sudhindranath on February 24, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    Another player to be sidelined during the Bedi era was slow left-armer, B. Vijayakrishna of Karnataka. He took fewer wickets than Shivalkar mainly because half of the spin quartet - Prasanna and Chandra - was from the same team as him.

    Sadanand Viswanath's international career ended because, according to what I heard around the KSCA clubhouse, he was not "sufficiently respectful" towards King Gavaskar...

    As for Hemant Kanitkar, he was a horrible fielder even by the pathetic standards of the Indian team of 1970's, letting boundaries go within a foot of his side and even under his feet!

  • sivadubai on February 24, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    Good One. But how did Shashi Tharoor miss a very important person, who scored many runs in domestic cricket but never got a chance to play? I mean V. Sivaramakrishnan, what a fine player he was. Opener, Left Hander. Sad story continues Rajindher Goel, another spinner, a wicket taking machine, never got a chance The saga continues, with Badrinath continuously being overlooked, Rahul Dravid simply clings on to his slot, he must leave to accommodate freshers. Badrinath should be given a chance again.

  • akhilhp on February 24, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    Liked the article very much... Once while doing comentary Ian Chappel said that whoever says luck plays no part in ones career is one who has never played a sport. How true...Luck also plays its role...

  • on February 24, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    Wow! That was excellent!! :))

  • on February 24, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    I fully agree. Many hard working and talented individuals in cricket couldn't reach to the peak of excellence despite his merits either due to nepotism or injuries. Luck never smiled upon them.

  • on February 24, 2011, 5:11 GMT

    Its really nice to see a politician writing a column in a sports website.

    I am not really convinced off this article. I dont know about the others but Kaif and Rohit I believe have to blame only them selves and not the bad luck. They had number of opportunities but still were not as consistent as they have to be. The way virat kohli has grabbed the chances Rohit failed miserably in that area. So I dont think they have to blame the bad luck.

  • on February 24, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    You missed out on mentioning Badrinath. What a shame!!!