In the words of Clint Eastwood’s Blondie character in The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, “There are two kinds of people in this world — those who make it to the World Cup squad, and those who don’t.” While a lot has been written on those who have made it to the final squad announced nearly a month before the mega event, no one really cares about those who have missed the bus to the most prestigious one-day tournament. The Big 5 players who will not be donning the colour kit for the 11th World Cup will be missed by their fans and teammates, and the World Cup will not be the same without them.
5- Kevin Pietersen (England)
The Bad Boy of English Cricket will miss the World Cup not because of his form but because of his relationship with the English Cricket officials. Dropped from the team after England lost the Ashes in Australia, Pietersen went on to write an autobiography where he claimed to write nothing but the truth.
As expected, the book wasn’t liked by the fans of English cricket team and the players mentioned and Pietersen’s chances of a comeback were reduced to none. The master blaster is busy playing in Big Bash in Australia these days and would have been an automatic choice had the English officials been in their right frame of mind. His exclusion and the omission of former captain Alistair Cook from the ODI team will hurt the three-time runners-up, big time!
4- Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka)
Ajantha Mendis is one of those spinners who on their day can put any opposition in a spin. Most of the batsmen have no idea what he will bowl next and that’s his biggest asset. Sadly, he doesn’t feature in the plans of the Sri Lankan selectors and the coach and that’s one of the reasons why he has been left out of the side that is currently in New Zealand, getting acclimatised to the conditions.
Mendis’s brand of spin will be missed in Australia and New Zealand where leg spinners are usually successful and although he is more off-break than leg-break, he could have been a contender!
3- Yuvraj Singh (India)
He was declared Man of the Tournament when India won the World Cup in 2011, but since then his luck has changed. The talented all-rounder was diagnosed with lung cancer soon after the mega event and left cricket for a year to get proper treatment. Understandably, he hasn’t been the same batsmen since his return to the national side, but his experience of playing in Australia, his fighting spirit and never-say-die-attitude would have come handy for India.
His form may have nosedived but his class hasn’t and after being dropped from the World Cup probable list, he blasted three centuries in as many first class matches.
2- Dwayne Bravo (West Indies)
One day he was the captain of the West Indian team and the next, he was dropped from the squad for reasons beyond human comprehension.
According to West Indian Chairman of Selectors Clive Lloyd, Dwayne Bravo wasn’t able to find a place in the squad because of his performance; may be the former West Indian captain forgot that most of the team members of the side he took to England in 1975 were a bunch of oddballs themselves who gelled well to win the inaugural World Cup.
Two players — Lance Gibbs and Rohan Kanhai — were in their 40s unlike Dwayne Bravo who is a utility cricketer with experience of playing both as a batsman and a bowler Down Under.
Dropping Dwayne Bravo as well as Kieron Pollard has more to do with their decision to return from India earlier than expected than anything else and if West Indies don’t do well blame Clive Lloyd for the performance.
1- Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan)
For most part of the last decade, Pakistan’s bowling attack revolved around the majestic spin bowling of Saeed Ajmal — until one (un)fine day last year; his action was declared to be illegal by the International Cricket Council. Despite repeated attempts by the Pakistan Cricket Board to get the action rectified, the off-spinner’s action has still not fallen into the legitimate zone, thus making his participation in the World Cup virtually impossible.
Saeed Ajmal will have a biomechanics test on January 24 in India and if his action is approved by the ICC approved center, he might get clearance to represent Pakistan in the mega event at the expense of some already selected compatriot. If he fails the test, it might be game over for the champion off-spinner.