A lot has been written regarding who is currently the best cricketer in the world. Many feel that it’s Sachin Tendulkar; some claim Jacques Kallis superior whereas people Down Under believe that nobody can beat Michael Clarke. For us Pakistanis, Saeed Ajmal remains the best bet because he has won matches for Pakistan although many would debate endlessly to see their favourite ‘Lala’ in the list. Sadly, no one talks about those cricketers who do represent their cricket teams but their current performances are as good as none — zero, zilch and duck! Let me be the first to talk about such ‘zeroes’ who don their country’s uniform but don’t perform even when the chips are up!
England’s latest Test opener is one of the first we would like to discuss because he is the weakest link in the former world champion side. How he made it to the national team is not the question (he has an impressive record at first-class level) but why is he in the team is. When England has Nick Compton and Joe Root as openers, there was no need to induct a one-Test wonder
Carberry for he didn’t fit the bill. A total of 104 runs in his first two Tests, and 108 in his first 5 (not to mention the two catches!) makes him one of our worst cricketers on the list!
Poor man’s Shane Warne — Steven Smith
He started his career as a legbreak bowler, went onto become a batsman (don’t know how) and now bats in the middle-order that usually collapses when he is around. That’s Steven Smith for you, the Aussie whose bowling average (50 runs per wicket) should have been his batting average (33.16), and vice versa. He may have scored a century against England but so has Ajit Agarkar of
India! Since July this year, Smith has had three scores of 50 plus and five scores of 10 minus, including a duck at the Brisbane Test which his side thankfully won, without his support! Now do we have such a batsman in Pakistan?
Once an all-rounder — Shoaib Malik
Oh yes we do! The former captain of Pakistan cricket team was once termed as ‘can’t bowl, can’t field and can’t bat’ by former New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Smith, during a Test match Down Under. Well I would disagree with the Kiwi great but during that series, Shoaib Malik seemed a little lost. He is an excellent fielder but that doesn’t mean that he can represent Pakistan forever. He has to prove his mettle as a bowler and a batsman, but since he doesn’t do justice to both the departments, he is here in this list as a representative from Pakistan. I could have replaced him with the hapless Umar Amin and the hopeless Sohail Tanvir but Shoaib Malik outshines them as the worst of the lot.
When he was captain, he rarely batted top the order but over bowled himself (instead of using better bowlers in the side) and it was his presence in the team that saw Saeed Ajmal make a late Test debut (some blame Danish Kaneria for that!). In a recent interview, he said that he was still younger than Shahid Afridi and Abdur Razzaq but that doesn’t mean that he should play as long as they did. They managed to win matches for Pakistan, whereas Shoaib managed to win a ‘bhabi’ from across the Wagah border!
India’s worst nightmare — Ishant Sharma
Some are afraid of the headless horseman, some are scared of monsters — but Indian captain MS Dhoni’s worst nightmare is Ishant Sharma, and he knows it. How happy Mahi would have been to find out that
Mohammad Shami can bowl fast, take wickets and above all, replace Ishant Sharma in the side who wears jewelry (for good luck), bowls wayward deliveries to well-set batsmen and takes wickets when the match is as good as over (or he ensures that it ends in his over!). During the India-Australia series (which India won 3-2), the luckless Sharma played three matches, bowled 24 overs (including 2 maidens), went for 189 runs and took 2 wickets at a Bradmanesque average of 94.5! And yes, his economy rate was nearly eight runs per over and it was due to his ‘zeroics’ that the series became engrossing for all! In the only T20 match of the series, his four overs cost as many as 52 runs and even then, he ended wicketless! Phew …
An outsider in Sri Lanka — Jehan Mubarak
This Sri Lankan’s claim to fame has been his birth, he is the only Test cricketer to have been born in USA, and that has more to do with his scientist father’s posting in the States than Mubarak’s cricketing abilities. He has represented Sri Lanka at agelevel cricket with distinction and it was his talent that saw him make it to the Test level, but despite being an all-rounder, he hasn’t done much for Sri Lanka. In his 10 Tests, he has managed 254 runs at 16 runs per innings and hasn’t scored a half century yet while in his 40 ODI appearances, he has scored just four fifties at an average of 22 runs per innings (and we say that Misbah is bad for not scoring a century!). As a bowler, he has taken just two wickets in onedayers and that’s all he has done for his country. He should return to America and join their cricket team, who knows they might even make him captain of their national team.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane — it’s Henry Davids!
For a batsman who has played over 100 first-class matches and scored over 5000 runs, South African Henry Davids’ international career seems like a bad dream! Whenever he comes out to bat, the commentators (mostly Proteas) talk of his reputation and his class but they are made to eat their words since he returns as soon as he enters. Normally, that is. He has scored two half centuries in T20 cricket for South Africa and has a strike rate of 120, but he would have to do more to show his class. At times I wonder whether he is not a batsman at all, but his one-wicket in T20 doesn’tmake him a bowler, does it!