Class will out?
The last post on unfulfilled talent lead me to think about the small and select band of Indian cricketers who lorded over the domestic circuit but never played for their country.
Here’s the list I came up with:
KP Bhaskar With more than 5000 runs at an average of 52.84 in 95 first-class matches, and being the Indian Cricketer of the Year in 1989, Bhaskar was perennially close to earning the India cap. Between 1983 and 1989, he averaged close to 70.00 with 13 centuries. But, as he once told me, he just wasn’t destined to play for India.
Rajinder Goel In a domestic career that began with Punjab in 1958-59 and ended with Haryana in 1984-85, Goel took a record 640 wickets in the Ranji Trophy. Apart from one unofficial Test against Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1964-65, he never represented his country. His 640 wickets from 123 matches at a stunning average of 17.15 is a record unlikely to be broken.
Amarjeet Kaypee With 7,623 runs and 27 hundreds in Ranji cricket, a Ranji record for nine years, Kaypee retired in 2000 without once being called up to represent India.
Amol Muzumdar Another domestic giant, Muzumdar broke Kaypee’s Ranji record on November 6, 2009. That he wasn't wearing his beloved Mumbai cap when he did so tells his tale. Muzumdar was one of the many middle-order batsmen born in the wrong era, that of Azharuddin, Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly. He began his first-class career with an unbeaten 260 and stacked up runs for Mumbai season after season, winning seven Ranji titles.
Padmakar Shivalkar Like Goel, the Mumbai left-arm spinner, was unlucky to be bowling in an era when India’s Famous Four. Even 589 first-class wickets and several Ranji Trophy titles couldn’t get Shivalkar into the national side.
Uday Joshi Another spinner to be completely overshadowed by the great quartet. Took 577 first-class wickets for Saurashtra, Gujarat and Sussex.
Sarkar Talwar The former Haryana offspinner’s first-class career spanned 21 years and he is a very respectable name in the league of Indian spinners, being the second highest wicket-taker in Ranji cricket.
Ashish Winston Zaidi Domestic cricket’s own Amar Akbar Anthony consistently delivered over his first-class career as a pace bowler for UP yet was always overlooked. His 348 wickets were second only to Madan Lal’s 351 for pace bowlers in the Ranji Trophy.
Anand Shukla One of only a few domestic players with over 3,000 runs and 300 wickets in Ranji cricket, he looked on as his brother Rajesh played one Test.