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The World Cup horror XI

A weight-loss story, a World Cup winner's last bow and a multiple-Ashes winner feature in our line-up

You've seen our all-time World Cup XI, a roll call of legends who brought out their best at the biggest possible stage. But what about those who froze? The players who endured nightmare tournaments, or those who seemed to be gripped by some terrible curse of underperformance that struck them every four years? Here's our XI of World Cup horror stories.
When Mohammad Hafeez was ruled out of the 2015 World Cup with a calf injury, Pakistan's selectors called up Nasir Jamshed, the pudgy, left-hand opening batsman from Lahore, as his replacement. Jamshed didn't make the XI for Pakistan's opening match against India, and Younis Khan was promoted up the order instead.
Pakistan lost that game, and Jamshed came into the side for their next game against West Indies, strengthening their batting (in theory) and letting Younis bat in his preferred position. Here's how ESPNcricinfo's match report summed up Jamshed's contribution.
"A worse day on the field is hard to imagine. When he dropped [Dwayne] Smith, he injured his hand, didn't field for the rest of the innings, and lasted two balls, playing a limp pull in the first over of the chase. Younis was facing the new ball yet again."
It only got worse. Jamshed was out for 1 against Zimbabwe, the pull shot leading to his dismissal once again, and Pakistan limped to 235. They eventually won by 20 runs, but not before Jamshed put down a sitter at deep midwicket off Elton Chigumbura in the final over.
Two days later, Jamshed made another single-digit score, against UAE, falling to the pull shot yet again. It turned out to be his last game at the World Cup, and, as it turned out, his last ODI as well.
To this day, memes and videos commemorating Jamshed's World Cup contributions continue to float around the dark corners of the internet, as does Big Nas , the infamous parody Twitter account.
Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana. The 1996 World Cup is synonymous with this all-guns-blazing opening partnership, but scratch the surface, and you wonder what the fuss is all about. Romesh Kaluwitharana had been promoted up the order during the Benson & Hedges tri-series in Australia prior to the World Cup, and had made three fifties in that tournament, getting everyone, especially the commentary legend Tony Greig, excited.
At the World Cup itself, however, Kaluwitharana only made 73 runs in six innings, averaging just 12.16, and scoring 0 and 6 in Sri Lanka's semi-final and final.
He came to the 1999 World Cup having once again sparkled in the tri-series in Australia, where he had scored four fifties, but the form didn't carry over into the big tournament in the UK, where he scored 90 runs in five innings at 22.50.
For all that, Kaluwitharana's opening partnership with Jayasuriya remains Sri Lanka's second-most prolific in ODIs.
Bangladesh's best batsman in their first decade as a Test nation didn't quite have the same impact in ODIs. And if his overall career average in the format - 21.68 - was poor, it fell to less than half - 10.50 - in his 11 World Cup games.
Bashar didn't feature in the 1999 edition, and scored ducks in both his appearances in 2003, against Canada and New Zealand.
In 2007, even as Bangladesh made history by reaching the Super Eights and picking up memorable wins over India and South Africa, Bashar had a terrible tournament, scoring 105 runs at 13.12. It began the final downward spiral of his international career. He lost his captaincy within three months, and was out of the Bangladesh team less than a year after the tournament.
Bashar's man-management of youngsters like Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mashrafe Mortaza and Mushfiqur Rahim was forgotten, and an impatient BCB put Mohammad Ashraful in charge.
The big weight-loss story of the 2003 World Cup may have been Shane Warne's, but Inzamam-ul-Haq's was no less compelling.
Inzamam was among the world's best middle-order batsmen in 2003, but he wasn't free of insecurities about his bulk. Ahead of the World Cup in South Africa, he went on an intense weight-loss regime, in a bid to recapture the svelte silhouette of the 22-year-old who had propelled Pakistan to the title in 1992 with a pair of magical knocks in the semis and final.
"I want to look the same as I looked during the 1992 World Cup - a shy and thin boy," Inzamam said before the tournament. "It has taken a lot of sacrifice (losing weight) but then if I had to be in the best of shapes, I had to do it. After all, this World Cup means a lot not only to me but to 140 million people back home who expect me to perform.
"I am sure I will not be criticised for my weight this time."
He wasn't, but there was criticism of another kind to fend off. Pakistan performed abjectly, failing to make it past the group stage, and Inzamam had a particularly shocking World Cup, finishing with 19 runs in six innings at an average of 3.16.
"I never do that again," Inzamam told The Guardian three years later, when asked about his weight loss. "Just before the World Cup I work harder than I ever did. I lose a lot of weight - 17 kilograms! Can you believe it? It was too much. I didn't score any runs without those 17 kilograms."
Yes, we remember him on the shoulders of his Australia team-mates, holding aloft the Reliance Cup glinting in the Kolkata sunset. For a World Cup-winning captain and veritable legend of the game, however, Allan Border has a surprisingly poor record over four editions of the tournament, with only one half-century in 25 matches, and an average of 18.83.
His most telling contribution in the 1987 final wasn't the run-a-ball 31, but his dismissal of Mike Gatting, who unfurled an unwise reverse-sweep at a critical juncture of the chase. Leading the defending champions and favourites in the 1992 tournament, Border made just 60 runs in seven innings, as Australia failed to reach the semi-finals.
West Indies didn't have the greatest of World Cups in 1992, finishing sixth out of nine teams, but the batting allrounder Keith Arthurton showed plenty of promise for the future, scoring 233 runs at 38.83, with fifties against England and India.
By the time the next World Cup rolled round in 1996, he had established himself as an ODI regular - a flashy though somewhat inconsistent middle-order batsman, a useful purveyor of left-arm spin, and an electric fielder.
Then the bottom fell off his career, as five visits to the crease, in Hyderabad, Pune, Jaipur, Karachi and Mohali, brought him scores of 1, 0, 0, 1 and 0. He didn't play an ODI for two years following West Indies' semi-final exit, until a comeback in April 1998.
Arthurton would find a place in another World Cup squad, in 1999, but get to play only one match, against Pakistan in Bristol. He bowled one over, conceded 10 runs, batted at No. 9 in West Indies' chase of 230 - behind Curtly Ambrose - and scored 6 in a 27-run defeat.
This isn't about his overall record over three World Cups, which is actually more than decent. This isn't even about one terrible tournament. Three games into the 1996 World Cup, Manoj Prabhakar had three wickets at a not-too-shabby average of 37.67, and a perfectly acceptable economy rate of 4.52.
No, this is about one game, and four overs. It happened at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Prabhakar's home ground, which lends a tinge of pathos to the whole thing.
Prabhakar, as he did quite often back then, opened the batting as well as the bowling. He scored 7 off 36 balls, and if no one remembers that now, it's thanks to two things. One, despite that stodgy start, India made 271, and that was basically that in those days: before that match, teams batting first and scoring 270 or more, in ODIs of 50 or fewer overs per side, had a 70-15 record.
Two, Sri Lanka were about to forever change how teams viewed 270-plus chases, as Sanath Jayasuriya and, to a lesser extent, the aforementioned Kaluwitharana took Prabhakar apart. Four overs, no maidens, 47 runs, no wickets. Thirty-three of those runs came in Prabhakar's first two overs, and he finished his spell - and, as it turned out, his international career - bowling offspin.
John Bracewell was the first New Zealand spinner to take 100 Test wickets, and his 10-wicket match haul in Auckland was the highlight of a famous win over Australia in 1986. His style of offspin, however, wasn't particularly effective in the ODI cricket of the 1980s.
In his seven World Cup matches, Bracewell took just one wicket, and his average of 310.00 is the worst of any bowler who has taken at least one wicket in the tournament.
He went wicketless in the 1987 tournament, bowling on spin-conducive Indian pitches, and his only World Cup wicket was that of Ian Botham, caught and bowled at Edgbaston in 1983.
Kenya sprinkled their five World Cup appearances with a handful of magic moments, most of which came courtesy a small group of exceptional players who happened to come up around the same time. This wasn't a team with any real depth of talent, and so, for every Steve Tikolo, Thomas Odoyo or Aasif Karim, there was someone less gifted making up the numbers.
Tony Suji was the foremost maker-up of numbers. Nominally a bowling allrounder, Suji played nine games spread over three World Cups - 1999, 2003 and 2007. In those nine matches he only bowled seven times, and never once bowled more than seven overs. He picked up just the one wicket - Canada's Ian Billcliff, if you must know - and ended up with an average of 170.00.
Bowling allrounder, you say? Yeah, well, sorta. He only batted five times in those nine games, four times at No. 9, and once, remarkably, at No. 3, when he scored 14 off 29 balls against England. That - surprise, surprise - was his highest score in World Cups.
Which specialist bowler captained his team in two World Cups, bowled his full quota in every match he played, and never took a wicket? You've already seen the name above this paragraph, so we'll spare you the big reveal.
India won just one of the six matches they played across the 1975 and 1979 editions - against East Africa - and they even lost to Sri Lanka, who were still an Associate nation then, in 1979. Through it all, S Venkataraghavan plugged away with his offbreaks, tidy - his economy rate was 3.01 - but far from penetrative. It was much like his ODI career as a whole, with 15 matches only bringing him five wickets.
Remember Cape Town, 2003? Remember the 20-year-old James Anderson swerving the ball dangerously under lights, squaring up Inzamam-ul-Haq and making a mess of Mohammad Yousuf's stumps?
The possibilities seemed endless, and while Anderson has ventured into territory few would even have dreamed of in Test cricket, his World Cup journey since that day in Newlands has been one of disappointment, by and large. He averaged 41.72 in the 2007 World Cup, 49.00 in 2015 - and never played ODIs again - but his nadir came in 2011, when he averaged 70.50 and conceded an eye-watering 6.55 per over on the largely unforgiving pitches of India and Bangladesh.
India, led by Sachin Tendulkar at his masterful best, pillaged him for 91 in his 9.5 overs. Ireland, who chased down 328 in a fairytale performance orchestrated by a pink-haired Kevin O'Brien, took 49 off his 8.1 overs. Even Netherlands had their share of fun, Anderson conceding 72 in ten overs as a Ryan ten Doeschate century steered them to a panic-inducing 292.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo