ICC World Twenty20 2009 – The eleven that were not meant to beHatem Rajabdeen |
The world witnessed some great T20 cricket over the last six weeks with the second edition of the Indian Premier League or the IPL as its fondly referred to. The tournament was switched from India to South Africa and turned out to be more spectacular than the inaugural event and was an ideal preparation ground for most of the world’s leading cricket stars ahead of the T20 World Cup starting on the 5th of June 2009.
The 12 participating teams named their squads consisting of 15 players and as always cricketing critics would argue over certain selections and praise bolder selections. Most teams consist of players who have been part of their T20 setup over the last few years but there are also a few who were a tad unlucky to miss out being selected for various reasons ranging from poor form to injuries or not being preferred for this version of the game. Here is Cricket Web’s take on the 11 most unfortunate cricketers from that group to miss out being part of their nations T20 Squads.
1) Shaun Marsh: He has been a revelation since his entry into International Cricket and made his mark at the Inaugural IPL in 2008 amassing 616 runs for Kings Eleven Punjab helping them reach the semi finals. His rich vein of form helped him break into the Australian one day line up in 2008 where he averaged a healthy 42 at the top of the order. His presence would have boosted the Australians by potentially forming a formidable opening combination with Shane Watson in the T20 World Cup.
2) Mathew Sinclair: At the age of 34 many are of the opinion his career is over but his recent success proves otherwise. Sinclair was the highest run getter in both the State Championship and Shield averaging over 75 this season. He was also the second highest run getter in the T20 competition with 254 runs at an average of 50 having played a game less than the highest scorer in the league. Sinclair also picked up the season’s inaugural MVP award and was rewarded for his good form with a call up to the New Zealand one-day team earlier this year. He was unlucky not to get selected for the Black Caps, whose selections are questionable with the out of form Scott Styris (who Glenn Turner clearly stated in February was only suited for the 50 over format), Jesse Ryder (Poor IPL & Domestic T20) and Neil Broom, whose T20 record is nothing worth speaking off.
3) Brad Hodge: The embarrassment of riches that Australia enjoy when it comes to picking their batsmen is something most teams would envy. Hodge has been in outstanding form in the T20 format. He was the Kolkata Knight Riders’ leading batsman in the recently concluded IPL notching up 365 runs coming in at the crucial number three position. He has been in and out of the Australian side but has filled in when injuries and key players such as Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds were unavailable during the last 12 months. The emergence of David Hussey in the recent past has seen him drop out of the squad. At the age of 34 this could have been his final opportunity to represent Australia at a T20 World Cup but that was not to be and the doors are perhaps closed for ever.
4) Chamara Kapugedera: One of Sri Lanka’s most talented youngsters.At 22 he has been part of the Sri Lankan one-day squad over the past few years, but his inconsistency has prevented him from securing a permanent place in the batting order. In his defence he has been shuffled from number four to number seven and never appeared settled.
He was frustrated more than anything else. His recent dip in one-day internationals sees him out of the T20 squad for the World Cup which is surprising. Kapugedera is capable of the big hits which is required in this format of the game and which Sri Lanka lacks in the lower middle order. He is a good fielder and would have added a lot of strength to Sri Lanka’s T20 team with his useful medium pacers on English wickets. Two batsmen picked ahead of him Chamara Silva and Jehan Mubarak have been tried and tested by Sri Lanka over the last five to six years and have hardly inspired confidence.
5) Dwayne Smith: He is regarded by many to be one of the hardest hitters of the cricket ball in the modern game. Smith has been in top form during the IPL for the Deccan Chargers in South Africa and it’s astonishing to see him left out of the West Indian T20 team. He was picked by the Deccan Charges from Mumbai where he played last year. According to his Deccan team mates Gilchrist and Symonds no one hits the ball as hard as Smith does. He is a very useful cricketer to have in a T20 side and a brilliant fielder who bowls more than useful medium pacers
6) Abhishek Nayar: He is one of India’s most talented young cricketers. After a successful IPL 2008 followed by a domestic season full of runs, Nayar saw himself included in the Indian Probables for the T20 World Cup. His contract moved from US$ 40,000/= to US$ 100,000/= this year and Nayar made some useful lower order contributions for his Mumbai Team in IPL 2009 although he could not see his team home against Rajasthan which would have taken them to the semi-finals. With a middle order consisting of MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma, Nayar was indeed unlucky to have missed out on a place in the Indian squad and now has to bide his time.
7) Dinesh Karthik: India’s number two wicket-keeper batsman in all forms of the game should feel hard done by. At 23 Karthik is already a World T20 winner with India having been part of the winning team of 2007. He was in that side purely for his batting as Dhoni donned the keeping gloves. Karthik had a successful IPL season for the Delhi Daredevils making some match winning contributions in the middle order. His keeping has been at its best and with India deciding to go with one keeper in the squad and going for the all-round ability of Jadeja he misses out and should count himself unlucky.
8) Piyush Chawla: At 20 he is India’s most promising young cricketer and is regarded by many as the best leg spinner in India at the moment. With age and more experience it is almost certain that he will be a match winner. Chawla took 12 wickets in 14 games during IPL 2009 and bowled much better than his statistics show. He is a brilliant fielder and a useful lower order batsman suited for T20. However with Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha and Yusuf Pathan forming a formidable spin trio supported by Ravindra Jadeja there was no place for Chawla.
9) Ashish Nehra: One of the greatest comebacks seen in the recent past. He was out of the Indian team with injury for a long period of time and returned to active cricket in November 2008. He has been a revelation for Delhi in IPL 2009 picking up 19 wickets in 13 games. Nehra had done enough to be picked in the Indian T20 side for the World Cup and was unlucky to miss out. With the Indian team already filled with three left arm seamers Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan and RP Singh the selectors would have been reluctant to pick a fourth lefty in order to have some variation in the attack. This seems to be the only plausible explanation for Nehra having missed out as he definitely outperformed the other two seam bowlers picked in Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma.
10) Makaya Nitini: A few months back one would find it hard to believe a South African team without Ntini. Reality has struck and Ntini was left out of the T20 team with no notable performances of late, being unable to break into the Chennai Super Kings team in the IPL. Nitini did not get many chances to represent the Proteas. The South African think tank couldn’t risk picking him, with Yusuf Abdulla exceeding expectations in the IPL the doors were firmly shut on Ntini.
11) Shane Bond: Bond would have been the ideal strike bowler the Kiwis would have loved to have in England for the T20 but it was not to be. ICL’s announcement of the termination of Bond’s contract on the 20th of May 2009 came too late in the day as New Zealand had already announced its team for the T20 World Cup. He may now play for the Kiwis as early as August this year when they tour Sri Lanka for a Test series. He had a wonderful domestic T20 tournament for Canterbury picking up 11 wickets in 6 games.
We have put together this list of eleven players who we thought unlucky not to have made it to the T20 World Cup. Some of them are bound to get their chances in the future and for some it may be the end of the road.