Mark Ramprakash drives

By the power of Bloodaxe: Ramps drives against Sri Lanka at The Oval in 1998

© PA Photos
48

The Jury's Out

 The biggest unfulfilled talent

Is there a more frustrating sight than promise unrealised? Five writers on men who could have been great

Mark Ramprakash
England, 1991-2002

2350 runs at 27.32 in 52 Tests, 376 runs at 26.85 in 18 ODIs, 35,659 runs at 53.14 in 461 first-class matches

By Jon Hotten

The career of Mark Ramprakash divides quite neatly in half. The first, from 1991 until 2002, in which he played his 52 Test matches and made 2350 runs at 27.32, and the second, from 2002 until 2012, when he retired as the 25th and last man to have scored 100 first-class centuries.

Two halves, two acts. An act of angst played out on a world stage to an audience of millions, and then an act of grace set in front of county grounds on quiet afternoons. For a long time I thought of this second act as an act of revenge from a player whose story had taken on the feel of literature: it was easy to see him as a brooding Heathcliff, banished to the deserted moors, or a latter-day Othello, whose Iago was not a man but the game itself. Ramprakash, otherwise known as "Bloodaxe" on account of his mighty temper, was a man who loved cricket not wisely but too well.

All a bit grandiose, I admit, but it raised the question of why he exerted such a grip on the imagination - and not just mine but of many who watched him. Part of it was undoubtedly aesthetic. Sometimes with people who make difficult things look easy, it's deceptive, illusory - they are trying just as hard as everyone else, perhaps even more so. Yet with them, it's not so much about what they do but how they do it. Ramprakash batted with such exquisite beauty it was easy to forget how good the bowlers actually were, how hard they were striving to defeat him, how hard he was striving to defeat them.

Instead of standing as a monument to his enduring excellence, the second act of his career somehow refocused attention on the first. It made it seem sadder, emptier. It made the loss to international cricket appear greater. As the statistics piled up, they added more weight to the feeling: the first man to make a score of 150 or higher in five consecutive matches; the only man to have averaged more than 100 runs per innings in two consecutive seasons; the first player to have scored a century against all 18 first-class counties; ten centuries in 25 innings in the 2007 season; a century every 4.3 innings throughout his entire career with Surrey, and so on, coming to a peak with poignant symmetry on August 2, 2008, when he scored his 100th first-class century at Headingley, the ground where he had made his first.

It was easy to see Ramprakash as a brooding Heathcliff, banished to the deserted moors, or a latter-day Othello

Two seasons ago I had the chance to meet him and test my theory about the second act of his career being an act of revenge. We sat at the top of the pavilion at Lord's while Middlesex, where he was batting coach, played Derbyshire. It became clear over the course of an afternoon that I was wrong, very wrong. He described what it was like to bat in the way that he had batted through all those long summers, almost a trance-like state, the fabled "zone" where the game appeared to bend to his will. As he spoke, I could see that he did what he had done out of love, pure and simple. If the second act of his career was anything, it was an act of redemption to the people looking in, who had followed him and supported him, and an act of love from the man looking out.

I have no doubt that he touched greatness during that second act. For a while it had reflected back on his Test career and made it feel unfulfilled. Yet once it was finished, it became something else. It was the purest expression of his talent, of his endurance, and of what batting could be.

Jon Hotten tweets @theoldbatsman

****

Shaun Tait
Australia, 2005-2011

5 wickets at 60.40 in 3 Tests, 62 wickets at 23.56 in 35 ODIs, 28 wickets at 17.78 in 19 T20Is, 198 wickets at 28.59 in 50 first-class matches

By Geoff Lawson

Shane Warne may have been hero-worshipped through the 1990s and into the 21st century but Australians have forever adored their fast bowlers. Dennis Lillee, Merv Hughes, Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson have got the crowds' hearts pumping. So when Shaun Tait burst on to the scene just as Glenn McGrath's stellar career was winding down and Lee's body was starting to hurt, opposition batsmen reached for the body armour. This guy's bowling forced you to watch the game from behind your lounge chair rather than from in it.

He began at Adelaide Oval, not the most encouraging of pitches for a budding fast bowler. His potential as a 19-year-old was significant and he broke Clarrie Grimmett's long-established season record of 60 first-class wickets for South Australia. No easy feat.

The mechanics of Tait's bowling looked stressful, unnatural, painful even. His longish approach was strong and bustling, built on drumstick thighs and bursting calves. The broad shoulders were the basis of his pace, as they were for Shoaib Akhtar, but the right-angled front knee spelled "instability" and screamed "injury!"

Shoaib via Spofforth: Tait lets one rip

Shoaib via Spofforth: Tait lets one rip © Getty Images

Like Jimmy Anderson, Tait preferred to look at extra cover rather than in the general direction of where he wanted the ball to pitch. He could send down a succession of wides - petrifying the second-slip fielder and getting the wicketkeeper diving left and right - but his inswinging yorker with new and old ball were irresistible. He could send down unplayable, untouchable deliveries, even though his technique looked about as efficient as a pelican in a clothes dryer. His follow-through was reminiscent of Fred Spofforth in George Beldam's famous 1904 photograph, although Spofforth was of a very different build, tall and sinewy with an angular release.

Tait, Lee and Shoaib commenced cricket's version of the arms race. Who could bowl the quickest, who could send one or more down at 100mph, and who could break the most bones. Lee has sustained his bursts through to the current day, if only in the 20-over format, with a few breaks for injury; Shoaib burst on to the international scene like a supernova and got through 46 Tests, quite a few for a subcontinental fast bowler, and he too had his moments of pain and confusion.

Tait could send down unplayable deliveries even though his technique looked about as efficient as a pelican in a clothes dryer

Tait was to play only three Test matches and take five wickets. His 35 ODIs were more fruitful, with 62 wickets at 23.56, and he found something of a niche in the IPL under Warne's direction at Rajasthan Royals. He took a sabbatical in 2008 due to "physical and mental exhaustion". He always looked like an injury waiting to happen and that was how his career was to unfold, with knee, shoulder, elbow and back issues.

Tait played for his beloved South Australian Redbacks in October 2014 in the 50-over format but couldn't summon the pace of his youth. By then he had sent down more than 16,000 deliveries, full of contortion and pain, in first-class matches, List A games and domestic T20s, almost every delivery flying at extreme pace. If only he had stayed fit and firing for a few more years. The cricket world could have been in for a treat.

Former Australia fast bowler Geoff Lawson coached Pakistan in 2007 and 2008. He is now New South Wales' assistant coach

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Wasim Raja
Pakistan, 1973-1985

2821 runs at 36.16 in 57 Tests, 782 runs at 22.34 in 54 ODIs, 11,434 runs at 35.18 in 250 first-class matches

By Nadeem F Paracha

My earliest memories of Wasim Hasan Raja are from 1975, during the second Test between Pakistan and West Indies in Karachi's National Stadium. I was eight years old and sitting with a couple of older cousins in the "students' stand". On the third day of the Test, Raja was fielding near the boundary line in front of the packed stand and I vividly remember him turning around and joking with some college students in between deliveries. During one such exchange, he turned around and began pretend-unzipping his fly to mock a somewhat rowdy section of the crowd. I had no clue what he was trying to express, but he seemed to be having a lot of fun.

Two days earlier, one of my dad's cousins had taken us to meet the West Indian and Pakistani squads at a cocktail party in Karachi's Clifton area. My cousins and I were most interested in meeting Mr Raja, but he was nowhere to be found. Then I bumped into a school friend, who led us into a room where Raja was sitting alone, downing beer. At the time he had been accused by a section of the Urdu press of taking the field while being "under the influence". But the very next day he smashed a century against a pretty hostile pace attack led by a young Andy Roberts.

Wasim Raja: proto-Afridi

Wasim Raja: proto-Afridi © PA Photos

Soon I was a huge fan. He was an Afridi before Afridi was born. Imran Khan once described Raja as perhaps the most naturally gifted batsman he ever had the chance to play with, but someone who did not take his talents very seriously. He would come in and immediately try to dominate the bowlers. When on song, he was perhaps the most attractive and flashy left-hand batsman of his era, with a high backlift that gave him the momentum to crack some ferocious square cuts, cover drives, pulls and hooks - an awe-inspiring display of power-batting that betrayed his otherwise lean and fragile build.

He was the X-factor in a batting line-up packed with immensely talented stroke-makers such as Sadiq Mohammad, Majid Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Asif Iqbal and Mushtaq Mohammad. Usually coming in at No. 6 or 7, Raja was expected to dismantle the opposition bowling attack. But to the frustration of his captains, there was no method behind his flamboyant madness.

He made his debut in 1973 under the captaincy of Intikhab Alam and had cemented his place in the side when Mushtaq Mohammad took over the captaincy in 1976. But Mushtaq did not exhibit much patience for Raja's unpredictable batting antics. Once, on the 1976-77 tour of Australia, Raja was not selected in the Tests and he vented his frustration by smashing a mirror in his hotel room in Sydney. When he did manage to make his way back into the playing XI for the five Tests against the mighty West Indies in 1977, he clobbered over 500 runs in the series, including 14 sixes.

Raja was painfully introverted and moody but would suddenly become an adventurous exhibitionist at the batting crease

Even this didn't consolidate his position in the side. Breathtaking displays of batting would often be followed by inexplicable spectacles of sheer recklessness, which infuriated those who were aware of his obvious talent and skill. Still, they thought him a fascinating character. When he married his Australian sweetheart in 1981, he forgot to invite another eccentric character, Sarfraz Nawaz, who decided to gatecrash, telling Pakistan's Herald magazine, "This is one wedding I could never miss."

His team-mates would describe Raja as a loner and an "extreme individualist". Unlike Afridi, Raja was painfully introverted and moody, but would suddenly become an adventurous exhibitionist at the batting crease. He could have been as big a star as Imran and Javed Miandad, but he remained an intriguing cult figure for my generation of cricket fans. Truth is, every time I replay in my mind that massive first-ball six he struck over long-on off Joel Garner in Port-of-Spain in 1977, I believe we, the diehard Raja fans, would have him no other way. His madness was a huge part of his charisma.

Sadly he died relatively young in 2005 - the man once destined to become the left-handed Vivian Richards.

Nadeem F Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist at the Dawn and dawn.com

****

Ajay Sharma
India, 1988-1993

53 runs at 26.50 in one Test, 424 runs at 20.19 in 31 ODIs, 10,120 runs at 67.46 in 129 first-class matches

By Aakash Chopra

I vividly remember this tall, lanky fellow with a flamboyant air and inimitable style. He looked like a man who had stepped out of a Bollywood potboiler. Wide-eyed rookies like me secretly dreamt of being like him, of being a batsman like him.

On the eve of a Ranji Trophy match he took a look at a brand-new bat and declared in his extravagant style, "Should be a ton tomorrow." And so it came to be. Here was a man who believed in writing his own scripts. Ajay Sharma was a true powerhouse of Indian domestic cricket in the 1980s and 1990s - "The Don", as we called him.

Sharma quashed decade-old prescriptions. Unlike most batsmen, he would use a brand-new bat in an important match, after merely knocking it a few times in the nets. One had grown up believing that the bat must become an extension of one's body, and that the process takes time. Not so for Sharma, who would take the field flashing his latest acquisition.

Sharma was a phenomenon for several reasons. Of course, it started with his penchant for scoring runs by the ton. But it was the manner in which he got them that left an indelible impression.

Ajay Sharma: talent that extracted a toll

Ajay Sharma: talent that extracted a toll © MiD DAY Infomedia Ltd

His initial movement would take him deep inside the crease, which demanded a fuller ball from the faster bowlers. But the moment they pitched it up, they knew they had dialled the wrong number. For someone who went so deep inside the crease before the ball left the bowler's hand, Sharma was a prolific driver.

Sharma rarely ever wore a helmet. There were some reasonably quick bowlers around, like Delhi's Robin Singh Jr (whom he would face in the nets), Punjab's Harvinder Singh and Sandeep Sharma, and Jammu & Kashmir's Abdul Qayoom, but none of them could perturb Sharma with pace and bounce. He wasn't one to duck or sway away against bouncers; he would happily take them on, his square cuts, pulls and hooks bringing him the majority of his runs.

One of his best innings - a sheer delight to watch - came against Railways on a dustbowl at the Karnail Singh Stadium in 1997. One look at the surface suggested a two-day finish - it seemed the curator had forgotten to water and roll the pitch for the game. While the spinners licked their fingers and wove their magic, Sharma went about his business as if batting on concrete and scored a double-century. He played everything with the middle of the bat. His defence was so impeccable that even balls that bounced and turned a foot more than expected didn't find the edge. His precise feet, assured weight transference and soft hands produced one of the best innings seen on a turning pitch.

Sharma would sometimes use a brand-new bat in an important match after merely knocking it a few times in the nets

A nervous starter, Sharma failed to fulfil his potential at the highest level. He could be unusually fidgety in the first ten or 15 balls - a weakness that caught up with him in his 31 ODIs. The big trigger movement also played a part in his downfall, especially when he faced bowlers who were nearly 20kph faster than those at the domestic level early on in his innings.

Towards the end of his career, Sharma's alleged involvement in match-fixing tarnished his image forever. The runs he scored and the attacks he dominated meant nothing anymore. His dalliance with crooks might have prompted his poor run at the international level. But the truth is probably sadder still - his inability to fulfil his enormous talent may well have led him to the dark side.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. @cricketaakash

****

Garth Le Roux
South Africa

838 wickets at 21.24 in 239 first-class matches

By Daryll Cullinan

South Africa's isolation robbed the world of some of the finest cricketers, none more so than Garth Le Roux. When he played in World Series Cricket, Le Roux was an instant hit on and off the field. He was arguably the world's quickest bowler at the time, with an angled run-up and round-arm slinging action, and he possessed one of the most lethal bouncers.

Some bowlers pretend to be mean, some try their best to look mean, and some, without even trying, are mean. Le Roux was the third type, and I got to experience it first-hand in 1984 when I played for South African Schools against Western Province at Newlands.

The first ball was a gentle half-volley, which I drove. Le Roux assured me I was not going to play the drive again. Sure enough, the next one was a quick bouncer that left me fending with my bat in front of my face, resulting in a broken wrist. A year or so later, when we were team-mates at Western Province, Le Roux took great delight in terrorising me in the nets. I am grateful for that experience. Coping with him was a huge confidence booster. Though he let you have it, he was just as quick to pass on advice. And he quickly became one of my favourite cricketers.

Mean machine: Le Roux bowls in county cricket in 1987

Mean machine: Le Roux bowls in county cricket in 1987 © Getty Images

Like so many South Africans during the isolation years, Le Roux had no choice but to pursue his career in county cricket. He joined Sussex, where for many seasons he shared the new ball with the great Imran Khan. At Western Province he was partnered by the finest swing bowler I have seen, Stephen Jefferies.

Newlands is famous for its Cape Doctor, the south-eastern wind, and Le Roux ran in with the wind blowing over his right shoulder towards third man, which naturally aided swing away from the right-hander. Jefferies ran into the wind, which suited his inswing. This made them an exceptionally difficult pair to deal with.

For a young cricketer like me, watching Le Roux from second slip was an education. Quick enough to push batsmen back, he would bowl a fuller length and slowly drag them across, looking for the nick or setting them up for the straighter one that was pitched up. He had learnt to bowl this length in county cricket, but we called it the "Newlands length" after the ground where he mastered it.

Le Roux was known for legendary duels with another great South African cricketer who could easily have been my subject for this piece, Clive Rice. Rice played for Transvaal, Western Province's biggest rivals. The highlight of the cricketing calendar was the New Year's match between the two sides. In 1977, spurred on by the crowd, Le Roux attacked Rice with a barrage of bouncers. After a while Rice looked at him and said, "Remember, I don't miss." Le Roux found himself at the batting crease late next afternoon. True to his word, Rice hit him first up. The big man went down. What followed was an unforgettable passage of play as Rice gave it to him over and over. Le Roux retired hurt in the end and Rice took great delight in letting the crowd know what he thought of them.

Le Roux was a thinking fast bowler, particularly later in his career. And he showed no emotion when he beat the bat

Had Le Roux been playing today I have absolutely no doubt he would have excelled in all formats of the game. On quicker, bouncier tracks his first-class record speaks for itself. In the subcontinent, his pace and action would have been ideal for reverse swing and he would have been as good as anyone. He took great care when it came to his diet and fitness, which would have ensured a long international career. He was also a thinking fast bowler, particular later in his career. He is the only bowler I have seen who showed no emotion when he beat the bat. He felt showing despair and desperation would only boost the batsmen's confidence.

For me Garth Le Roux was the complete fast bowler and it is sad that Test cricket missed out on his bowling and charisma. He would have had a huge following both on and off the field. And he would have finished as one of the best. That he won a Man-of-the-Series award in World Series Cricket, where the greatest cricketers were on show, is testimony enough.

Daryll Cullinan played 70 Tests for South Africa between 1993 and 2001

 

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  • POSTED BY James C Birbeck Dar on | September 20, 2017, 8:10 GMT

    Franklin Stephenson might be another to feature here. Never played for West Indies (because of the rebel tour), but a fine all rounder.

  • POSTED BY Ramachandran on | November 13, 2016, 23:15 GMT

    Ever heard of Vaman V Kumar a fine leg-spinner from Tamil Nadu who did not get his due from Indian Cricket Authorities.

  • POSTED BY Chris on | January 26, 2015, 10:28 GMT

    Mark Cosgrove was a brilliant shield cricketer as a youngster. He had the potential to be a 100 test player if he took his fitness more seriously.

  • POSTED BY Stuart on | January 25, 2015, 4:31 GMT

    Michael Bevan is an Australian stand out.

  • POSTED BY Gary Sheth on | January 24, 2015, 21:20 GMT

    Definitely would have to be Paddy Shivalkar and Rajinder Goel... In any other side in the world in they would be front line spinners. Somehow India never tried two slow left armers though they did alternate two off-spinners in Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkatraghavan throughout their careers. Maybe Bishan Bedi was that good, but still...

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | January 24, 2015, 20:08 GMT

    Players who had exceptional domestic records but then struggled at the top level are not really unfulfilled talents in my opinion; I feel it has to be players who shone at international level, but for a painfully brief time. Exceptional players who could have become greats of the game.

    So my vote goes to Vinod Kambli and Shane Bond.

  • POSTED BY Adam on | January 21, 2015, 8:20 GMT

    Shane Bond for me........

  • POSTED BY Yogeeswaran on | January 21, 2015, 0:37 GMT

    Ramesh Saxena perhaps. He was almost a mythical figure where I came from. He only played 1 test for India though before he was dropped.

  • POSTED BY Sudhakar on | January 20, 2015, 12:13 GMT

    Very interesting. For me the biggest wasted talent that India had was Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. When Maninder and Siva made their debuts, it appeared that the spin department was in safe hands. Unfortunately since then India's spin stocks have only declined over the years and sans for Bhajji / Kumble, India have failed to produce quality spinners. Sivaramakrishnan - fondly called LS in Tamilnadu - was a sensation indeed. His action was smooth, he had a wonderful loop, flight and above all genuine spin. His variations were impeccable, and even his full tosses would fetch him wickets - because they apparently "dip" suddenly. Any spinner who can have the greatest player of spin bowling - Javid Miandad - stranded outside his crease must be great indeed. LS captured the imagination of a wonderful leg spinner & was highly rated by umpire Dickie Bird in his autobiography. With some guidance of seniors, LS could have truly achieved greatness but it was not to be.

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | January 19, 2015, 18:12 GMT

    Vinod Kambli is probably the biggest underachiever.

  • POSTED BY Krishna on | January 18, 2015, 14:13 GMT

    Shahid Afridi (Did not fulfil the potential he had ), Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Vinod Kambli,

  • POSTED BY Richard on | January 18, 2015, 10:19 GMT

    Chris Cairns, Greg Blewett, Shane Watson, Jonathan Trott

  • POSTED BY Faisal Ismail on | January 18, 2015, 2:13 GMT

    Irfan Pathan should have been there. India needs a Seem bowler for 2 decades now and we thought we found one on him. Waste of a Talent !

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | January 18, 2015, 1:40 GMT

    Lawrence Rowe, Graeme hick, Amol Majumdar, jaisimha, I think

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | January 18, 2015, 1:01 GMT

    If batting were a beauty contest, then Carl Hooper would be Miss World. Unfortunately he also had the ticker of a Miss World.

  • POSTED BY nishit on | January 16, 2015, 12:31 GMT

    Shane Bond, Imran Nazir, Ricardo Powell and Brett Schultz for me. Among my countrymen, i would chose Sivaramakrishnan. His captains didnt know how to use him... he would have been brilliant at slips... sledging the batsmen out. would have run through sides by just irritating them by just talking

  • POSTED BY Clinton on | January 15, 2015, 13:34 GMT

    Le Roux seems super all allright.That description of Rice bowling bouncers also seems surreal considering recent events.

  • POSTED BY Πανδώρα on | January 14, 2015, 16:35 GMT

    Way off, I say. Ramps had a very fulfilling career as a county pro. He is idolized. The fact that the England selectors are dumbshites is not a reflection on him. Post Strictly he could easily have played test cricket. Ditto Graham Hick. And Darryl Cullinen was a huge success. The very sight of him makes Shane Warne foam at the mouth. That's a successful career, full stop.

    My vote? Ricky Clarke! Managing to flatter to deceive for 15 years, every.single.season has to be a high mark. He could have been as good as Viv Richards, but doesn't make it on this list, yet is still playing. Pretty much tops all others, no?

  • POSTED BY vageesh s n on | January 14, 2015, 7:38 GMT

    @ESPNUSER Laxman Sivarakakrishnan was in Test arena at an young age.. It takes sometime to get adjusted to the playing conditions.Whether enough effort was put to learn the skills needed . One more reason that I vaguely remember having read was that he gained height and was unable to adjust the line and length. Whether he received any backing from selectors is another factor . In 1985 World Series Cup held in Australia he did a marvelous job behind the wicket. But later failed to built on it. India Today had listed him as one of the eleven players wearing India Test cap under Captaincy of Ravi Shastri. Even though Ravi Shastri lasted for a longer period in International cricket, it was Azharuddin who captained India. Kiran More was a regular member in playing eleven than Sadanand Vishwanath. Whether one lacks the will to persevere at higher level for long period of time is the point or the system does not support some players though talented .

  • POSTED BY James on | January 14, 2015, 4:10 GMT

    The following is a list of cricketers who never live to the great potentials: (W.I.) Basil Butcher, Faoud Bacchus, Timur Mohamed, Bernard Julien, Charles Davis, Jim Allen, Irvine Shillingford, Seymour Nurse, Rohan Kanhai, Lawrence Rowe, and Maurice Foster. (England) Frank Hayes, Tom Graveney, Keith Fletcher, David Gower, Michael Atherton, Graeme Hick. (Aust.) Ianl Chappell, Doug Walters, Ian R. Redpath, Peter Toohey, Brian Charles Booth, Ian Davis, Gary Cosier (India) Chandrakant Borde, Farokh Engineer, Mohinder Amarnath, Surinder Amarnath, Gundappa Viswanath, Ajit Wadekar. (Pakistan) Majid Khan, Mushtaq Mohammad, Sadiq Mohammad, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad (NZ) Glenn Turner, Bevan Congdon, Brian Hastings, Mark Burgess, Victor Pollard, Terrence Jarvis.

  • POSTED BY Jayadev on | January 14, 2015, 2:54 GMT

    Ashok Mankad, Padmakar Shivalkar, Rajnder Goel, Surinder Amarnath.. the list goes on and on. In reality though, I think the ones that got a decent run had some issue to not sustain at the highest level (including fitness). I think the most unfortunate players are the ones who did not get a break or got very few opportunities.

  • POSTED BY Stanley on | January 14, 2015, 1:21 GMT

    Anandapadbhanabhan from Kerala, INDIA. He was then the competitor to Kumble when he got his test status back in 1989 . North Politics towards Kerala at that time kept him out from making an international debut. Once remarked by azharuddin ,that he was perhaps one of the most unlucky chaps in India to not even get a single international game to his name . He was a vicious leg spinner and a technically sound batsmen of his generation . One of the finest that Kerala has ever produced.

  • POSTED BY Soumyajit on | January 13, 2015, 22:38 GMT

    I agree with VAG999. Sanjay Manjrekar and then Vinod Kambli are two unrealized talents. Ajit Agarkar would be one. Irfan Pathan, I just hope does not end up being an unrealized talent, time is running very fast for him. Laxman Sivaramakrishnan has to be one of the greatest massacre of talents of all times. So is Sadanand Vishwanath, the gutsy wicket keeper. Wasim Jaffer was a talent himself, but had issues with short ball and ball outside off. Rohit Sharma has age on his side, I just hope he makes good use of his talent. "ONAGOODLENGTHBLOG ON" mentioned Amol Muzumdar, I totally agree with him. Yuvraj Singh wasted his talent in Test match cricket. I dont know if I can call Narendra Hirwani a talent, but he took 16 wkts in his first match and then disappeared. In domestic circuit, since I follow Bengal cricket very closely, it has to be Laxmi Ratan Shukla, termed once as the right replacement of Kapil Dev. And and Arun Lal too.

  • POSTED BY Shiekh Arif on | January 13, 2015, 15:32 GMT

    My list Batsman 1) Lawrence Rowe, George Headley, Carl Hooper, Graeme Hick, Basit Ali, Collis King 2) Daryl Cullinan, Mark Ramprakash, Vinod Kambli 3) Brian Lara( circumstantial; since he played in a team that was too weak for him to realize his full potential) Bowlers Anthony Gray, Patrick Paterson, Shane Bond, Shoaib Akhter, Stuart McGill, Sylvester Clarke, Reon King, Jermaine Lawson, Shaun Tait All Rounders Brain McMillan, Andrew Flintoff

  • POSTED BY Santhush on | January 13, 2015, 8:49 GMT

    Ajit De Silva from Sri Lanka could definitely be one of the most unfulfilled talents being one of the best spinners around before Sri Lanka's granting of Test Status.

  • POSTED BY Alex Hirsch on | January 13, 2015, 8:16 GMT

    Hi Everyone! I would have to say batsmen wise unfulfilled talent would have to be Graham Hick. Bowling wise Shane Bond. Graham Hick had the best state figures for a batsmen just international cricket for some reason didn't manage to put it all together. Great player just under performed in international cricket. Shane Bond always got injured and definitely was a very good bowler if he played say another 50 test matches no doubt he would have been unbelievable. I remember him giving all batsmen so much trouble. Gillchrist Struggled against him and Gilly is great.

  • POSTED BY vageesh s n on | January 13, 2015, 7:10 GMT

    Shoaib Mohammad of Pakistan is another talent wasted may be because of lack of support or opportunities

  • POSTED BY vageesh s n on | January 13, 2015, 6:35 GMT

    I am not a great cricket thinker .. Nevertheless I express my view on cricket players whose talent did not fully materialize. Two Indian cricket players who did not fully do justice to their talents are Sanjay Manjrekar and Vinod Kambli. I liked the way Sanjay Manjreker batted . against Pakistan In 1989. When he scored 200 runs , Imran Khan remarked that then existing highest score in Test cricket was under threat and was batting so beautifully, perfectly that only way to get him out was to run him out. His batting style was immaculate. Another cricket player whose batting style comes close to Sanjay Manjreker's is Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka. So is the case with Vinod Kambli who was endowed with lefthander elegance.. Double centuries he scored in 1993 series against England is case in point. And was expected to built on that . But failed .It is a treat to watch cricket players who bat elegantly . Some show glimpses of such elegance and vanish from the scene . Any reason

  • POSTED BY Shadlee on | January 13, 2015, 5:51 GMT

    Don't mean to be pedantic, but there is a sense of irony in Daryll Cullinan writing about unfulfilled talents. I know he averaged 44 over 70 tests and that was very good when you consider bowling attacks in the 90s, but he was a truly world class stroke-maker and always gave you the feeling he should be someone averaging 50+

  • POSTED BY Brainygio Chemiologist on | January 13, 2015, 4:52 GMT

    from the west indies collie smith, collin croft, lawrence rowe, ian bishop , call hooper, george headley, anthony gray, jermaine lawson, patrick patterson, maurice foster, sherwin campbell, john holt, seymour nurse charles davis , allan rae and ridley jacobs

  • POSTED BY Mitchell on | January 13, 2015, 4:27 GMT

    I'll name a few. David Hookes, Graeme Hick, Collis King, Sylvester Clarke, Franklyn Stephenson and I agree with Shane Bond. On strikes rate stats he is the third best bowler in test history!

  • POSTED BY norris cherrington on | January 13, 2015, 0:06 GMT

    no debate about unfulfilled talent can be complete without any mention of lawrence george rowe. rowe might well have been the most technically gifted batsman to have played the game of cricket. so pure and talented was he in his strokemaking that he caused rohan kanhai to ask "how can a man like this sit in the pavillon and watch others bat."

  • POSTED BY irvine on | January 12, 2015, 19:17 GMT

    Reon King and Carl Hooper should be on this list. Both of them never fulfilled their early promise. while Hooper had a long career King disappeared after a few years

  • POSTED BY Riyad Sattaur on | January 12, 2015, 18:44 GMT

    Sarwan? The best ODI batsman and "finisher" at the 2003 world cup and disappeared from the international scene in years to come. Carl Hooper? Classiest batsman that made pretty 20s and 30s? Almost all of the West Indians that never represented the WI team in the 1980s...

  • POSTED BY Faraz on | January 12, 2015, 14:13 GMT

    Agree that Bond was the biggest unfulfilled talent of them all. For me, he is easily one of the best of my generation

  • POSTED BY Cricinfouser on | January 12, 2015, 13:22 GMT

    I pray to God that Rohit Sharma do not feature in such list ever. He is a immese talent and treat to watch and deserves a successful career. Someone should put a sense in him not to risk his wicket for shots and be more circumspect in his shot selection.

  • POSTED BY Paritosh Anand on | January 12, 2015, 10:04 GMT

    Martin Love, Jimmy Maher, Amol Mazumdar and soon Rohit Sharma!

  • POSTED BY Prince on | January 12, 2015, 7:14 GMT

    Amol Muzumdar should be in this list

  • POSTED BY Khalid Mansoor Siddiqui on | January 10, 2015, 23:01 GMT

    I think waqar younis although he is still considered an all time great and has recieved icc hall of fame but he still could not do justice to his talent and on the wole was an underachiever . had he done so he would have been in the bracket of wasim, marshal ans dennis lillie.

  • POSTED BY Siddharth Deshmukh on | January 9, 2015, 19:40 GMT

    Other immensely talented cricketers who were top performers at the domestic level but could never make it big in international cricket will be Basit Ali of Pakistan, he could hammer the ball and had everything in him to be a world class player at no.5 and 6, then there was India's Manoj Prabhakar whose utility is not fully showcased by his mere 96 odd wickets in 39 Tests and Hrishikesh Kanitkar who would be remembered for hitting a last ball four to secure victory against Pakistan but his career was too short and never got many chances. Aussie players Stuart Law and Matthew Elliot, big run getters in Shield cricket who could never achieve that success at international level.

  • POSTED BY Mani on | January 9, 2015, 13:50 GMT

    A wonderful piece on Ajay Sharma. But the fact of the matter is Ajay never got a proper deal in test cricket where he played only one test and scored 30's in both innings

  • POSTED BY VIJAY on | January 9, 2015, 11:52 GMT

    I think,some of the writers here,Geoff Lawson,Akash Chopra & Daryll Cullinan themselves are prime examples of underachievers!!

  • POSTED BY Bijendra on | January 9, 2015, 10:57 GMT

    i think there should hv bn other names too...Vinod Kambli..he was a flamboyant..and could have bn bigger success at highest level in the longer version. but don't know what distracted him more..his attitude or what..

    and another one Amol Mazumdar..i think would be only player in the world with so long career and so much success at junior level..never ever been selected in the squad even..let alone including in playing XI..pardon if i am mistaking here.

    R P Singh..the name may bring some unwanted discussion..but the player was really very good when he first arrived at Intrnational level..one can never forget tht he was one of main architect India's T20 world cup win. his swing bowling was something one could rely on for wickets.. and it was the reason why MSD chose him for sudden inclusion in playing XI in England when Zak was injured. don't know where his downfall came..and he continued to fell drastically..

  • POSTED BY Shakil on | January 9, 2015, 9:18 GMT

    Carl Hooper, Vinod Kambli and biggest of all Hick - the unfulfilled talent while the whole 70s SA team (pollocks, Bacher, Proctor, Barlow, Richrads) is the lost generation

  • POSTED BY gmsj on | January 9, 2015, 8:21 GMT

    I think you missed the greatest under-achiever of all. My personal favorite. The last of the Calypso charmers. Carl Hooper. The man with magical dexterity of wrists and in-born sense of timing. The last great legend of batting against spin bowling. Those amazing cut shots and pulls off the back foot of fast bowlers!

  • POSTED BY navin on | January 8, 2015, 22:19 GMT

    How could you guys not include Carl Hooper?

  • POSTED BY Brian on | January 8, 2015, 21:32 GMT

    As a New Zealander, two of our greatest (mostly) unfulfilled talents have to be Shane Bond and Matthew Sinclair. In a career beset by injury Bond only managed 18 tests for 87 wickets at 22.09. He fared better in one-dayers, managing 82 matches for 147 wickets at 20.88. If his body had been able to hold together he could gave gone down as one of the all time greats. Sinclair had a long and successful first class career, 13717 runs at 48.64 but never really managed to convert his first class form into international cricket despite scoring 214 on debut against the West Indies and 204 not out against Pakistan the following summer. In his 33 tests he managed only one other century and ended his test career with an average of 32.05

  • POSTED BY Ridwan on | January 7, 2015, 17:51 GMT

    An enjoyable read. A very well researched article. I think the potential stops when some of these players believe they just need to turn up, such was the blasé attitude in the 70's and 80's, perhaps even early 90's. Thankfully Cricket has come a long way. Who you are, eventually loses its shine, when you're just not performing to that expected level anymore.