To be part of a world cup squad remains the pinnacle in any player’s career, but to miss the berth is an agonizing pain that not only hurts deep inside, but keeps resurging for times to come. While most of our favorite stars are trying to acclimatize with the punishing Down -Under demands, here is a look at the few who would be forced to watch the games on Tele and mediate over missed chances. Readers might not be in total agreement with my selection and would chip in alternatives, but I have a strong belief that the players mentioned are still match winners on their day. If given a chance they would sweat enough to fit in national shirts.
1- Alastair Cook
2014 wasn’t a year Cook would keep in his memory; the former England skipper could only manage 523 runs in 20 matches at a mediocre average of 27.52. To add salt to his wounds, back to back defeats against India and then Sri-Lanka cut loose his arm band. This double jolt of form and luck convinced the selectors to put faith in the young and charismatic Eoin Morgan.
The elder Akmal is probably the most interesting player of his times. While most teams would gladly offer him the opening slot, handing him the keeper’s gloves needs a lion’s heart. He has been missing from ODI action since June 2013 but that would be of little concern as he carries bundles of experience tasting Australian pitches and modern pacers. Initially part of Pakistan’s 30 member Squad, Karman lost his place and popularity to the young and fearless Sarfaraz.
Probably the most dominating and explosive cricketer of the modern era, the past year has been tough for the fire-eating stroke maker. A poor avg of 29.40 during the Ashes down under made the selector’s job easy. For a high maintenance player like him, even a few low scores are enough to raise questions. Last wearing the England shirt in September 2013, KP has been creating havoc in cricket leagues around the world and specially the Big Bash.
The True “Rock-Star” of International cricket and a heartthrob to millions, 2015 Would Cup will surely miss the beloved Yuvi. The Hero of the previous edition failed to appear in any ODI in 2014 and had an average stint in IPL. The lowest point came when Yuvi failed to cut into initial 30. Regardless of this rusty performance, Yuvi is one player who’s spark shines at the highest level, a ticking bomb that can go off exactly when needed. Dhoni’s 11 would definitely miss a match winner in their ranks.
Fawad Alam is undoubted Pakistan’s hidden gem and at the same time, their Unsolved puzzle. Forced into oblivion for a good 3 years, Fawad burst into match winning performances when given a chance at the Asia Cup. His sparkling come back was a huge surprise, big enough only to be matched by his omission from the world cup. Milking 345 runs from 8 matches at a healthy avg of 43, Fawad suddenly became the darling of the nation. His Vadera looking mustache and sticking-in approach fetched back the much needed stability in the waggling middle order. In a batting line up that’s always ready to choke, one can only hope that Pakistan made the right decision by leaving out their Iron-Wall.
A maverick all rounder, Bravo is missing the world cup seat for reasons purely beyond the boundary. West Indian players have had a long prevailing payment dispute with their board and Bravo; along with Kevin Pollard were the latest to feel the heat. Bravo faced the music for leading the revolt and was replaced by former skipper Darren Sammy.
Have Australia made a blunder by not picking the blue chip Harris? Only time will tell. Nicknamed Rhino for his hulking figure and tear-apart approach, Harris makes a formidable opening bowling pair with Mitchell Johnson, one many openers would least like to face. Despite some impressive performance, Australian selectors’ weren’t convinced that the 35 year olds injury prone body would survive the toil of the World Cup. They appeared more interested in handing him the ball for the upcoming Ashes.
The maestro that gave us the mystery “Carrom Ball” and is remembered best for tormenting the Indian Team. He might not be as effective as the time he emerged, but still remains a lethal force in the shorter formats where batsmen don’t have much time to adjust to his variations. He is one of the 6 players overlooked by the Islanders for the Cup. This cut could eventually mean an end to his illustrious but often up and down career.
The story of Ajmal is the saddest of the Cup. Had it not been for the suspected arm action, Ajmal would have been the Hercules for Pakistan. Baffled with fitness issues, Ajmal’s emission could stretch the cup further away from the Green Shirts. Always a lethal force to reckon with, Ajmal has been re-structuring his action ever since English umpire Ian Gould brought his action under the microscope.
Gul, undoubtedly Pakistan’s most experience bowler has been battling with a long aggravating knee injury. Operated in May, Gul was recalled for the series against Sri-Lanka where the pain resurfaced and turned chronic during the New Zealand series. Gul has maintained that he is fit for the highest level, but somehow failed to satisfy the selectors. The architect of the 2009 T-20 triumph and countless memorable moments, the world’s best dearth bowler will surely be missed.
New- Zealand stirred a storm by dropping James Neesham and picking the long forgotten Gant Elliot. The magnitude of this jolt could only be matched with Pakistan’s dragging of Sohail Khan from international oblivion. The debate against Nasham raised the fact that his best performances came in test matches and his replacement Elliot would bring solidity to the batting line.
Robin Peterson – 12th Man.
It would be difficult for Robin Peterson to sit back and watch the happenings from back home, having played three world cups, the handy spinner lost his place to Aron Phangiso.