The Indian cricket team has always produced brilliant cricketers in every department of the game throughout its history. But as they say, talent may not be the only thing that propels you forward in life. This is true of the game of cricket as well. In addition to talent, you should also have the right temperament, luck as well as the support of the team's management and selectors if you want to flourish in the international arena.
Today at Cricwizz, we take a look at five players with all the talent in the world, who were not used to their full potential for various reasons.
1) Robin Uthappa
Karnataka's Robin Uthappa is one of the most talented cricketers from the mid-2000s who should have been playing for India more frequently than he actually did. Robin Uthappa is a flamboyant cricketer who can take down attacks with both textbook and unorthodox shots. He has played a string of brilliant knocks for Team India since his amazing debut against England in 2006 where he scored 86.
However, after the 2008 Asia Cup, Uthappa's form dipped and he was replaced by Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the national team. He continues to score runs in the IPL and in the domestic leagues consistently against quality opposition. Uthappa played 46 ODIs and 13 T20Is for India, which makes one wonder how much more he could have done on the international stage.
2) Irfan Pathan
The cricket fans of the 2000s will forever remember Irfan Pathan as an unfulfilled dream, who could capture hearts. After breaking into the Indian team during the 2003-04 tour of Australia, Irfan Pathan turned heads with his ability to move the ball in both directions at a tremendous pace. His ability to nail the yorker at will made him even more lethal.
From 2004-06, Pathan quickly established himself as the number one seamer but a combination of factors, including the team management's desire to turn him into an all-rounder, a change to his bowling action that caused him to lose his ability to swing the ball at pace and poor management, led to Pathan no longer being the number one seamer by 2007.
In 2007, he reinvented himself into a seam-bowling all-rounder and performed brilliantly during the T20 WC and the subsequent tour to Australia, where he also played a key role with the bat.
Yet he was dropped from the Test squad during the series against South Africa and has never been considered since.
3) Yusuf Pathan
Yusuf Pathan, An all-rounder who is aggressive with his intent and at times inventive with his strokeplay, is a giant of IPL history who needs no introduction. Pathan, a three-time IPL champion with the Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders, was a key player for both clubs over the years, as well as for Sunrisers Hyderabad, for whom he played for a couple of seasons.
Along with his brother Irfan, the duo was one of the Indian players to be selected for the ICC World T20 in 2007. The former was chosen after some impressive performances in India's inaugural domestic T20 event. Yusuf was one of the toughest hitters on the field, displaying incredible power while effortlessly plundering boundaries.
Yusuf's fearlessness and self-confidence have been his most valuable assets, as he has demonstrated the capacity to execute under duress when hopes are diminishing. He's orchestrated knocks that have rescued his team from a tangle and given them a chance to get excellent outcomes time and time again.
However, the all-rounder has only had a few opportunities to represent his country on an international level. With only 57 ODIs and 22 T20Is under his belt, he is unquestionably a talent underutilized.
4) Wasim Jaffer
Wasim Jaffer, the former India opener and domestic cricket juggernaut declared his retirement from all forms of the game after a 24-year First-Class career. Possessing the potential to play 100 Tests for India in a largely unfulfilled Test career. The opening batsman however only appeared in 31 games, scoring 1944 runs, including five hundred and 11 fifties.
Wasim Jaffer rocketed to prominence after making a triple century in only his second first-class match. In 2000, he made his Test debut against South Africa in Mumbai, after three years of preparation. Jaffer had to wait two years for his next shot due to a lean series. The Mumbai-born cricketer's first century came in 2006 and then In Nagpur, he scored a three-figure total against England.
The right-handed batsman achieved an away double century against the West Indies in June 2006, and another against Pakistan in 2007. He seems to have cemented his place in the Indian team. The selectors, on the other hand, thought Jaffer was too slow and old. In addition, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were having a good run, which made things much more difficult for him.
5) Mohammed Kaif
Showing shades of Jonty Rhodes, Mohammed Kaif emerged through Indian cricket. Kaif was a talented young man who could bat as well as bowl. His career, however, did not pan out the way everyone expected. Despite an inspiring effort at the Natwest Finals, the UP cricketer did not play in the Indian colors for long.
The batsman’s performances built a reputation for himself at the domestic level. In 2000, he guided India to victory in the ICC U-19 World Cup. Everyone knew Kaif was well versed in the game, both as a player and captain because he had led the country in an ICC event at a young age; thus, his inclusion in the One-Day International (ODI) team was promoted. Kaif was a high-energy fielder who made sure never to have a dull moment on the field.
The Indian batsman, when given a chance was made to bat all across the batting order, from third to seventh, scoring 2753 runs in 110 innings in 125 ODIs. He was finally left out of the 2007 World Cup roster to make room for other players, and at the age of 26, he played his final international match.
With a long list of unfulfilled talents across the talent pool of India, there are countless many who have not made it into this list. Such is the level of the sport played in India, that the competition for places is at high stakes with very little time to afford. Who do you think should have made it into this list and do you think the above-listed players should have been given more chances.