Wasted talents in Cricket

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Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby bolero » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:53 am

Since we are discussing youngsters in cricket in the Under 19 cricket, felt compelled to start a thread dedicated to youngsters who lost their way in cricket.

The below is an article by Shashi Tharoor, member of Parliament, India.

India's lost boys

A chilly London summer evening in 1967 during the tour of the Indian Schoolboys' team: three balls left, 11 runs needed for victory. The first delivery, fast and swinging, uproots a stump. In strides a cocky southpaw, unfazed by the odds. He smites the first ball he receives for six. Five needed in the gathering gloom. The fast bowler pounds in. The callow left-hander dances down the pitch, converts the intended yorker into a full toss, and heaves it over the boundary. Match won. Cricketing India wakes up to the most exciting schoolboy batsman of his generation, 18-year-old Surinder Amarnath.

The magic doesn't last. Several similar episodes dot a maddening career that epitomises the most Indian of cricketing phenomena: that of the brilliant but erratic and ultimately unfulfilled genius. His century on his belated Test debut, aged 27, in Auckland, hard on the heels of one in his first "unofficial Test", against Sri Lanka, a few months earlier. Topping the batting averages against the touring Englishmen in 1976-77. And hitting 60 against Imran and Sarfraz in their pomp, in a losing cause, in what would prove to be his final Test series. His 235 not out against a star-studded Rest of India side in 1980-81, after which he was inexplicably omitted from the Indian side touring Australia, was an injustice he underscored with a silken 140 against a near-Test-level English side for the Cricket Association of Bengal's Jubilee XI. Surinder Amarnath, a batsman so naturally gifted that his friends sometimes forced this natural right-hander to adopt the handicap of batting left-handed, ended his first-class career with just 16 centuries in 145 matches at an average of 40, and a modest Test record, cut short by selectoral caprice, of 550 runs at 30 in just 10 matches. What potential, what results, what a pity.

And yet Surinder has a rival for the distinction of being the poster child for wasted genius. Friends, I present to you Vinod Kambli: sharer of the world-record schoolboy partnership of 664 (unbroken) with Sachin Tendulkar, a batsman who hit his first delivery ever in the Ranji Trophy for six, and who took Shane Warne for 22 in an over, the first Indian to score two Test double-centuries in a row against two different opponents, a man with four Test centuries to his name in his first seven Tests, who ended his career at the sadly young age of 24 with a Test batting average of 54.20 (not to mention a first-class average of nearly 60, including 35 hundreds and 44 fifties in just 129 matches). How could India afford to omit a player of this quality? Dark whispers speak of issues of temperament, of a fatal fondness for alcohol, of players' sleep being disturbed by a raucous Kambli's carousing after dark during matches. Whatever the truth, there is no question in anyone's mind that Kambli had potential comparable only to Tendulkar's. What one made of it through diligence and application, the other frittered away.

In 1982, when Kambli and Tendulkar were barely a gleam in a cricket coach's eye, I wrote a lament in The Cricketer International about the transformation of Indian batsmanship from the ethos of the flamboyant entertainer to "the Gavaskar-Shastri-Vengsarkar school of cricket as an exercise in attrition". Accepting the article for publication, the then editor, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, wrote back asking, "Sandeep Patil a bit of an exception?" I certainly hoped so, having caught glimpses on TV of his epochal 174 against Lillee and Pascoe in Adelaide in 1980-81 (an innings after having been knocked out by a bouncer in the previous Test). Indeed, CMJ was briefly vindicated when, in that 1982 summer, Patil creamed 129 not out off the Ashes-winning English attack, including taking 24 off a Bob Willis over. But the rest of his career echoed Amarnath's and Kambli's: inconsistent enough to be dropped more often than he was picked, with personal problems even causing him to pull out of a tour of the West Indies, Patil's Test average of 36.93 in 29 matches did scant justice to his prodigious talent. He played his last Test at 28, even though he had another eight seasons of first-class cricket left in him.

But what can you say about a player who played his last Test at 20? Laxman Sivaramakrishnan took 7 for 28 on his Ranji Trophy debut at the age of 16, and that too against formidable Delhi, followed it up by becoming the youngest Indian Test cricketer (before Tendulkar), and was still only 18 when he took six wickets in each innings to bowl India to a Test win against England in Mumbai in 1984, a match I was thrilled to watch. He had another six-for in the next Test and was adjudged Man of the Series while still a boy, then bamboozled Javed Miandad in the final of the World Championship of Cricket later that season in Australia. Yet no sooner had he attained voting age than he lost his bowling ability. Rare are the cases of such prodigious talent simply disappearing with adulthood, but in Siva's case things reached a pretty pass when he was reduced to fighting for his Tamil Nadu Ranji place as a batsman.

Maninder Singh's rise and fall almost paralleled Siva's - briefly hailed as the heir-apparent to Bishan Singh Bedi as a loopy left-arm spinner in a patka, match-winning turns against England in the victorious summer of 1986 and against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the series that followed at home, and then a dreadful case of the yips. Two abortive comebacks later, he ended his 35-Test career at the age of 27 with 88 wickets at over 37, a far cry from the hopes he had roused as a 17-year-old.

Of contemporary cricketers, at least two seem in danger of adding their names to this tragically distinguished list. No one who saw Irfan Pathan swinging India to victory in the one-day series in Pakistan in 2003-04, or taking a hat-trick against the same team two years later, or scoring a century against them the year after that, or winning the Man of the Match in a Test in Australia and in the final of the inaugural World Twenty20 tournament in South Africa, would imagine that he could be washed up at 25. And yet he is deemed to have lost his mojo to the point where he is not even in the frame for selection for the 2011 World Cup.

Parthiv Patel became India's youngest-ever Test wicketkeeper at 17 and was dropped when barely 21; despite brief appearances since, he has fallen behind in the wicketkeeping pecking order, unsure whether to make his mark as a battling one-day opener, a sturdy Test gloveman or a utility player, and so far failing to establish himself as the best in the country in any of those roles.

There's nothing uniquely Indian about unfulfilled potential, of course, and yet India seems to offer more egregious examples of it than most cricketing countries. The first seven Indian batsmen to score a century on Test debut never made another: it was almost as if ambition was satisfied at the first triumph. Is there something in our national character that ensures brilliance is too easily satisfied? Or is it the huge pressure of the expectations of the cricket-obsessed millions that many believe they can never meet? Is it, conversely, the huge rewards the game offers in India that distract the gifted young man before he can rise to the full heights of which he is capable? Whatever it is, to paraphrase the poet Whittier, of all the sad words about the cricketing scene, the saddest are these: "it might have been".

Shashi Tharoor is an Indian MP and a former United Nations Under-Secretary General

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby bolero » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:54 am


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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby bolero » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:55 am

In the above article, L Sivaramakrishnan and Maninder Singh are mentioned, both were rumoured to be doing dope. Vinod Kambli turned into an alcoholic.

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby raja » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:22 pm

That piece was written in Jan 2011 - before Parthiv made his return.

But it's a good read, nevertheless.

I've written about Surinder Amarnath here - I always felt he got a raw deal from the selectors.
He wasn't solid or anything - but the way the selectors dumped him after the Pakistan debacle of 1978 surprised me.
He certainly had some more Test cricket in him.
And he was a left-hander, a rarity in those days in the Indian side.

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby bolero » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:14 am

Yes , I remember Raja making a post about Surinder Amarnath, he was good and got a raw deal from selectors.

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby bolero » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:23 am

I remember Narendra Hirwani too, started off with a bang against Windies in 1987, that's when.I really started watching serious cricket, I remember that match Welland it was running in my mind in school too.

Hirwani had a phenomenal debut, he faded away. He coached Amit Mishra later.

Can we extend this to other countries.

Jesse Ryder ?

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby Going South » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:56 pm

Mark Ramprakash

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby Boycs » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:41 pm

Graeme Hick :P though to a lesser degree

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby Going South » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:49 pm

does he got any “talent” ?? hmmm

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby bolero » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:15 am

Mark Ramprakash a special case, still have the picture of him stroking the cover drive. He played very well at county level but did not enjoy success when playing for England.

Whether we can call him a wasted talent cant say. Some people are not mentally tough. Will put Ramprakash in that category.

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby Going South » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:01 pm

semantics.
Mark R got talent.
he did not get to play internationals though he got talent.
it’s a waste.
it’s as simple as that.

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby Paddles » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:05 am

Going South wrote:semantics.
Mark R got talent.
he did not get to play internationals though he got talent.
it’s a waste.
it’s as simple as that.


Well he played 52 tests over 12 years finishing in 2002.

He was very nearly recalled in 2009 at over 40, but he thought Trott would be the better long term choice for England to pick given his age.

I am naturally against apartheidt, but if your criteria is the sole criteria above, then

Garth le Roux,
Clive RIce,
Graham Pollock,
Peter Pollock,
Barry Richards,
Mike Procter,
Jimmy Cook,
Eddie Barlow,
van der Bijl,

and co, was some of the very worst of the wasted talent.

There's a few more ways to look at wasted talent,

injuries:

Wrecking James Pattinson right now, Simon Jones before him, arguably Ian Bishop as well at only 43 tests. Dion Nash and Johnathan Millmow for NZ.

But perhaps the saddest of the lot, Brett Schultz of SA. Left arm rapid. Limited to just 9 tests.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/southafrica ... 47165.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ylTvWF4UJ4

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/1611 ... a-1996-97/

ICL bans:

Injury and a 2 year ban pushed by BCCI against Shane Bond wasted a lot of his career.

Choosing Rugby instead of cricket:

Jeff Wilson NZ

And then there's off field stuff leading to bans/or selection sanction or a reduction in performance leading to on-selection:

Spot and match fixing, criminal convictions, gambling, drugs and alcohol addiction, early retirements etc.
Last edited by Paddles on Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby bolero » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:59 am

Graham Pollock
Peter Pollock
Barry Richards
Mike Procter

If not for apartheid, these players would have been fantastic on the international stage.

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby bolero » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:59 am

Brett Schultz - I remember he bowled a fiery spell against india. But faded away.

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby Paddles » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:38 am

bolero wrote:Graham Pollock
Peter Pollock
Barry Richards
Mike Procter

If not for apartheid, these players would have been fantastic on the international stage.


Really, you're leaving out Clive Rice?

Even if you leave out van der Bijl who tore up SA and Eng FC at SF Barnes average levels (16.54 career, did a county season at sub 15!!!), and Le Roux the fiery paceman who wasn't to get a chance at intls - Rice is still a cricket legend.
Last edited by Paddles on Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby Paddles » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:43 am

bolero wrote:Brett Schultz - I remember he bowled a fiery spell against india. But faded away.


India was his first test series. Took 4 wickets for 101 runs at 1.95 E/R. The Indian batsmen kept the debutant out of taking wickets at his norm sub 50 SR, at over 77, but he was injured in his very first test against them after 14.5 overs but he took the opener Jadeja wicket in his opening spell. He returned for the 3rd test, where his highlight was giving Tendulkar a golden duck while Donald did the rest.
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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby bolero » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:01 am

Paddles wrote:
bolero wrote:Graham Pollock
Peter Pollock
Barry Richards
Mike Procter

If not for apartheid, these players would have been fantastic on the international stage.


Really, you're leaving out Clive Rice?

Even if you leave out van der Bijl who tore up SA and Eng FC at SF Barnes average levels (16.54 career, did a county season at sub 15!!!), and Le Roux the fiery paceman who wasn't to get a chance at intls - Rice is still a cricket legend.


I have seen Rice play when he was old. But not seen him play in his prime, heard a bit. I have seen clips of Barry Richards, Procter etc.

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby bolero » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:09 am

Heard about garth Le Roux too. Luckily we got to see Allan Donald. When SA returned to the international stage, he was itching to bowl.

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby Paddles » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:26 am

bolero wrote:
Paddles wrote:
Really, you're leaving out Clive Rice?

Even if you leave out van der Bijl who tore up SA and Eng FC at SF Barnes average levels (16.54 career, did a county season at sub 15!!!), and Le Roux the fiery paceman who wasn't to get a chance at intls - Rice is still a cricket legend.


I have seen Rice play when he was old. But not seen him play in his prime, heard a bit. I have seen clips of Barry Richards, Procter etc.


I think, as does the real Paddles, that had Rice played, he would have been a solid candidate as the best of the 80's all rounders. Easily the best batsman, and arguably with Imran the second best bowler behind Hadlee himself, post Procter.

Not fair to judge him on those games he played in 1992 post Apartheid, he was well over 40.

Together at Notts, they tormented County cricket for several years in its hey day.

In case you're curious, I give it to Imran of the 4 who did play. Botham's end was just far too weak and far too soon. But Procter and Rice would have had made it far more fascinating.
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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby Boycs » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:09 am

The real paddles?

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby bolero » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:15 am

Mike Whitney, anyone ? The ' Who Dares Wins' host !

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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby Paddles » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:24 am

Boycs wrote:The real paddles?


Yes, according to the real Boycs, he was one of the best bowlers ever.
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Re: Wasted talents in Cricket

Postby bolero » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:15 am

Image

Tendulkar and Kambli in happier times.