Vikram Singh Solanki
April 01, 1976, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Regis School, Wolverhampton
One of the most elegant batsmen of his generation, Vikram Solanki never quite achieved the England career many had anticipated. He flirted with the England one-day side in South Africa in 1999-2000, before slipping out of the picture until after the 2003 World Cup. Born in Udaipur, India, but raised in Wolverhampton, Solanki made his debut for Worcestershire as a 16-year-old and instantly caught the eye with his wristy driving and effortless flicks.
Test recognition seemed only a matter of time as he worked his way through the various representative levels and onto two England A tours, but he was a disappointment in his first eight ODIs, with a top score of 24 and a rash of lapses in his usually silken fielding. But he continued to score heavily for Worcestershire, and after the retirement of several senior players in 2003 he was recalled by England at the age of 26. He started gloriously with a sparkling century against South Africa at The Oval, flirted with oblivion while mustering 11 runs in three outings against Bangladesh, but was recalled to the squad for England's Champions Trophy campaign at the end of the 2004 season. He was in and out the side before the selectors finally lost patience in 2007. He also wrote his name in history by being cricket's first super substitute during a one-day international against Australia in 2005.
After a decade at New Road, he was appointed Worcestershire's captain in 2005, remaining at the helm until resigning near the end of the 2010 season. His acumen also led him to be elected as chairman of the Professional Cricketers Association in 2009.
Just as it seemed that he was certain to end his career at New Road, he signed a two-year contract with Surrey in July 2012 at the age of 36. He had scored more than 16,000 first-class runs for Worcestershire and served his county well, but financial pressures contributed to his release. Solanki's attraction to Surrey was obvious. The club had recently lost three of their first-choice batsmen: Tom Maynard, to a tragic accident; the club captain and Maynard's flatmate, Rory Hamilton-Brown, to long-term compassionate leave; and Mark Ramprakash to retirement.
Solanki did not disappoint, batting with class and reliability in Championship cricket, providing experience in a youthful top order. Even at 38, he had lost none of his innate style, and Surrey extended his involvement at the club until the end of 2015. By the time he called it a day, he had more than 18,000 first-class runs to his credit and a whole lot of respect.
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