Players who missed the World Cup cut February 22, 2007

They dumped me

Cricinfo looks at eleven baffling omissions from the World Cup squads



Australia's Find of the Year wasn't good enough for the World Cup © AFP

Stuart Clark - Australia

Here's a conundrum. Australia's one-day bowling is all over the place, so what do they do? They choose to ignore their Find of the Year, Stuart Clark, whose nine Tests in 2006-07 produced 47 wickets at an economy-rate of less than two-and-a-half an over. It was a baffling bit of selectorial whimsy that justifiably had Clark, "the new Glenn McGrath TM", seeking some sort of clarification from the chairman of selectors, Andrew Hilditch. "If there was a World Cup semi-final at stake, I'd much rather have him bowling than a couple of other guys," said Geoff Lawson among others. However, Hilditch and Co. perhaps had half an eye on the events in Kuala Lumpur last September, when Clark was spanked for 87 in seven overs by Chris Gayle and Brian Lara.

Note : Clark was added to the squad on February 23 as a replacement for the injured Brett Lee

Cameron White - Australia

Ever-present in the opening rounds of the CB Series, and a qualified success in the Chappell-Hadlee disaster that followed, White's luck ran out when Australia's two Queensland allrounders, Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson, swapped roles ahead of the CB Series finals. Watson - perpetually promising but perpetually injured - returned to fitness just as Symonds was being carted off in the other direction with a bicep injury. It was a destabilising trade-off for Australia. For all that White can do a passable impression of Symonds with the bat, the selectors were less certain about the reliability of his part-time legbreaks. So Brad Hogg got Symonds' spinner's gig instead, and the Bear had to grin and bear it.

Khaled Mashud - Bangladesh

Bangladesh, quite literally, have decided to drop the Pilot by ousting their former captain, wicketkeeper and longest-serving international cricketer, Khaled Mashud. Apparently this decision had been a long time coming in the corridors of power at the BCB - since the tour of England in 2005, Mashud has produced just one one-day innings of note, an unbeaten 48 against Zimbabwe in July 2006. Meanwhile his teenaged understudy, the former Under-19 captain, Mushfiqur Rahim, made an unanswerable case for inclusion in the recent return series in Harare. Mashud has not had much fun at World Cups - he was sacked as captain after Bangladesh's dismal showing in 2003.

Mal Loye - England

Another case of youth getting the nod over experience. Mal Loye, 34, made a mixed impression in his belated ODI debut for England this winter, slog-sweeping every fast bowler in the Antipodes before nibbling a wide one to the keeper, usually in the same over. Useful though his top-of-the-order impetus might have been, it was instead decided that a wild-card allrounder, Ravi Bopara, would provide England with more options. Even so, it seems highly probable that Loye will appear in the Caribbean at some stage - if Michael Vaughan's knee lasts an entire tournament then Kevin Pietersen is a Dutchman.

Ramesh Powar - India

With Anil Kumble on the wane in one-day cricket and Harbhajan Singh less attacking than he was in his pomp, an opening in India's squad seemed to have been forged for Ramesh Powar, arguably the slowest flightiest offspinner in the game today, and a man who, since his recall 12 months ago, has been picking up his ODI wickets at a rate of almost two a game. His belligerent batting should have been a factor in his favour, but he has managed just one half-century in 11 visits to the crease, and it is believed that the selectors found it hard to look beyond his ... err ... ample frame.



Boeta Dippenaar - South Africa's Fall Guy , though not for the first time © Getty Images

Nathan Astle - New Zealand

A surprise absentee, but this time of his own volition. Nathan Astle took a leaf out of Damien Martyn's book by jumping ship just moments before his liner docked at the perfect retirement port. One of the cleanest strikers in the game, and an under-rated seamer with 99 ODI wickets to his name, Astle will forever be remembered for his astonishing blitzkrieg against England at Christchurch in 2001-02 - 222 runs from 168 balls to all but seize the first Test of that series. He wasn't exactly sluggish in ODIs either, with a national-record 16 centuries to his name. But four ducks and a 1 in his last seven innings convinced him that his heart was no longer in it.

Yasir Hameed - Pakistan

It's hard to know what Hameed must have done to offend the Pakistan selectors. In the past two years he has played in just four ODIs out of 45, and yet in those games he has run up scores of 41, 57, 71, and 41. Admittedly they have come a touch slowly by one-day standards, but Hameed is by nature an opener, and that department has been Pakistan's Achilles Heel since the retirement of Saeed Anwar. Instead, Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Nazir and Kamran Akmal have been trusted to come up with a combination that can improve on their tally of three half-century stands in the past 12 months.

Boeta Dippenaar - South Africa

One of nature's stodgier one-day cricketers, Dippenaar's finest one-day innings was arguably his seven-ball 1 on March 12, 2006, in that match at Johannesburg - by getting out of the way nice and early, he allowed his flashier team-mates to cut loose and hunt down Australia's incredible total of 434. And yet, in 10 previous one-day matches in the Caribbean, Dippenaar has been the plodder turned gamebreaker. He has clobbered 428 runs at an astonishing average of 107, and he has not once finished on the losing side. He might have been worth a place as a lucky mascot.

Chamara Kapugedera - Sri Lanka

Several batting line-ups are vying for the Dad's Army tag in this World Cup, but few can make a more legitimate claim than Sri Lanka, for whom Marvan Atapattu (36), Sanath Jayasuriya (37) and Russel Arnold (33) are all expected to turn out. Clearly, the next generation will have to wait its turn, and with that in mind, Kapugedera will, in all probability, be ushered into the side. His 18 matches to date have yielded just 203 runs and a solitary fifty, but given that he only turns 20 on Saturday, time is very much on his side.

Runako Morton - West Indies

Not so long ago, Morton was the man of the moment in West Indian cricket. His unbeaten 90 against Australia in last year's Champions Trophy helped propel his side all the way to the final, an achievement that looked set to culminate in a memorable homecoming for one of the game's most notorious bad boys. In the course of his career, Morton been expelled from the squad in 2002 for lying about a grandmother's death, and arrested in 2004 in connection with a stabbing incident. But his form fell away as the tournament drew nearer, and after 30 runs in his last five innings he returned once again to the margins.

Hamilton Masakadza - Zimbabwe

Masakadza hit the heights at Harare in July 2001, making 119 against West Indies when aged just 17 years and 254 days, to become the youngest debut centurion in Test history. It was a record that has since been passed by Bangladesh's Mohammad Ashraful, but unlike Ashraful, Masakadza has not pushed on to greater things. He scored his maiden half-century against England at Bulawayo in November 2004 and bowls useful legspin to boot, but a tally of 42 runs in three innings against Bangladesh this month counted against him. He was shunted out of the squad in favour of Friday Kasteni.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

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