Top 5 underachieving batsmen in history of International Cricket

Umar Akmal has so far never lived up to great expectation. Source: Reuters.

Some Cricketers possess rare talents and are selected by team management early on. These special players make their international debut at a fairly young age. Time is usually invested in these Cricketers with high hopes that they will justify their selection, and live up to their potential. In this glorious game, many of these naturally talented Cricketers have been established in their national setups for quite some time. Unfortunately, some of them have not been able to perform consistently for their respective countries. Here are the top 5 players who has underachieved in international Cricket.

  1. Umar Akmal

     The talented right-handed batsman made his international debut for Pakistan at aged 19 in 2009. Having scored a classy century on Test debut against a New Zealand bowling attack that included Daniel Vettori and Shane Bond, he looked quite the part. His fearlessness towards batting had heads spinning especially for Pakistani fans. He was established in the Pakistan national setup for quite some time in all three forms of the game.

     After playing 16 tests, 121 ODIs and 84 T20Is his batting averaged 35.82, 34.34 and 26 respectively. His disappointing dismissals made him lose his place in the Test side. Cricketing pundits have blasted him for his lack of capitalization on good starts and his ability to finish off games for his country. His underachieving credentials have left many fans in disbelief over the years. His indiscipline had sparked tensions with the team coaching staff, hence leaving him out of the team on many occasions. A 3 year ban from the game due to match fixing corruptions in 2020 is a good indication that his career for Pakistan may well and truly be over.

Despite these glorious performances, Kaif didn’t set the World on fire on a consistent basis. He struggled at times to kick on regularly in the Indian team.

  1. Daren Ganga

He looked quite technically correct as an opening batsman for the Caribbean side. Having played International Cricket for 10 years, Daren Ganga had a solid defense with handsome cover drives in between. After a long run at the highest level, Ganga never made the big scores on a consistent basis. His back to back centuries against Australia at home in 2003, looked likely to provide the impetus needed to kick start what was thought as a quiet start to the senior team.

     Having been in and out for his first 5 years of West Indies duty, he showed what he was capable of against the might Australians. His patience at the crease made him accumulate runs against an Australian attack comprising of two greats in Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie. After 48 Test matches and 35 ODIs, he averaged a just tad over 25 in both forms of the game.

     Many were frustrated with his inability to carry on after getting pretty 30’s and 40’s. He was a great student of the game and unfortunately didn’t get to captain West Indies on a regular basis. His captaincy was however successful for his native country Trinidad and Tobago. Leading from the front he guided Trinidad and Tobago to many titles, especially in the T20 version. Such a shame he didn’t build on his starts at the International level for the West Indies.

  1. Mohammad Kaif

A dogged right-hander, Kaif was a true warrior at the crease. His composure and elegant stroke play earned him a belated Test debut at aged 20, against the South Africans in 2000. For a while in the Indian setup, he was the go to man to finish the job in a run chase. His greatest moment came in the 2002 NatWest series final against England at Lord’s. His superb 87 not out successfully chased down a target of 326 on a belter of a pitch.

     Later that year in the ICC Champions Trophy, he scored a fine century against Zimbabwe. Despite these glorious performances, Kaif didn’t set the World on fire on a consistent basis, struggling to kick on regularly in the Indian team. Due to his inconsistency, he eventually lost his place. A batting average of 32 in both Test and ODIs does not quite define how good of a player he really was. He was already out of International Cricket at the tender age of 25. Had he played on for a further 10 years, who knows what he could’ve accomplished. It’s a pity that we’ll never know. The Cricketing World was denied seeing his wide array of shots after 2006. Such a shame indeed.

  1. Carl Hooper

This is a man who made batting such an absolute pleasure to watch. He looked as though he had all the time in the World, especially when playing against the fast-bowlers. His cuts, drives and sweeps made many West Indian fans proclaim him as one of their favorites in the 1990s. Captain Carl as he was referred to in Barbados, made people dance in the stands, especially when he deposited a spinner over long-on or long-off. His off-spin bowling also came in handy as he was labelled a genuine all-rounder.

     The quality of the man left commentators and fans quite stunned at times. His batting average of 36 in both the red and white ball formats defined him as a potential underachiever. One would argue that his record was very good but it could’ve been better. His talents were unique and many times he would get dismissed playing a cheeky shot. When set in the 20’s to 40’s, he would simply give it away. According to the late great Richie Benaud in 1992, his famous words after Hooper played an extravagant shot to get out were “Oh Carl, what have you done?” He is only one of two men to have scored 5000 runs, taken 100 wickets, held 100 catches and collected 100 caps in both Tests and ODIs. Carl Hooper no doubt is a legend, but his playing career could’ve been better statistically speaking.

  1. Glenn Maxwell

Maxwell is no doubt one of the fastest scorers in World Cricket. His innovative reverse sweeps and pull shots can make a fielding captain rip his hair off his head. He is a risky stroke maker and at his best can change a game in the blink of an eye. Having been tagged as a “Big Show” Cricketer, Maxwell has not often lived up to his potential as an Australian batsman. Having been a regular in the shorter forms of the game in both ODI and T20Is, his largest weakness is his impatience at the batting crease.

     Glenn Maxwell’s lack of composure has hampered him badly. Sometimes his powerful hitting ability may be followed by a brainless shot and often costs him his wicket. Despite a decent batting average of 35 in T20Is, his biggest letdown has been in the ODIs. A batting average of a tick over 32 in 110 ODIs is not good enough for someone with such an excellent eye. Despite these underachieving figures to date, he is still one of the most dangerous batsmen in the World. The IPL pays big bucks for him and he has paid off handsomely. At aged 31, he has lost his place in the ODI setup after a disappointing performance in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. He’s still young and class is permanent nevertheless.

     So there you have it..In my opinion, these are the top 5 batsmen who underachieved at the highest level of International Cricket. All 5 were no doubt decent enough to make it to the senior team. They were persisted with by their national selectors and given a lengthy run. Sometimes having a good technique and glorious strokes is not always good enough. It’s the consistency of run making that seals the icing on the cake. Are there any other batsmen who underachieved for their country? Feel free to comment on this article. Until next time, goodbye for now.


2 thoughts on “Top 5 underachieving batsmen in history of International Cricket”

  1. If at some point in time ..these players were good at what they did ..why do you think it was hard for them to regain this momentum if playing once again?

    1. A few factors could’ve been involved. One factor is not feeling secure in their national team hence always in & out. Daren Ganga is a prime example because he didn’t play in a home test match until 5 years after his Test debut. He was a very talented batsman who didn’t perform to his utmost potential. His average of 25 was disappointing for a player of his calibre.

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