Cricket is a quintessential team sport. Teams draw energy from their players. A sign of a good team is when its bench strength is equally good. There have been a lot of quality players who have warmed the bench for their national team for a lengthy period. Teams have the insurance knowing there is quality in the reserves and this helps them to play fearlessly. Here are the players who won the world cup without playing a single match.
StumpsandBails looks at 4 players who won the world cup despite not playing a single game:
#4 Brad Haddin
Here are the players who won the world cup without playing a single match. Brad Haddin spent a large part of his career on the sidelines owing to the presence of Adam Gilchrist. The story wasn’t entirely different in the 2007 World Cup. Gilchrist had struggled throughout the tournament but his reputation was enough for Australia to persist with him. Gilchrist scored a stunning hundred in the finals to repay the faith. It was quite obvious that as long as Gilchrist played the game, Haddin won’t get game time. 2007 World Cup reaffirmed that fact.
#3 Tom Curran
England’s World Cup team in 2019 was one of the best ODI teams ever assembled. They had 7-8 bowling options in each game. England batted all the way up till number 10. The emergence of Jofra Archer relegated many World Cup hopefuls to the sidelines. Archer was in fact fast-tracked into the team to help England win the World Cup. Tom Curran was the backup seamer England had picked in their squad. But owing to the presence of Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes, and Mark Wood, he couldn’t get even a single game in the World Cup.
#2 Marvan Atapattu
Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup without breaking a sweat. The fact that the World Cup was played on the subcontinent helped them largely. Their openers, Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana were absolutely sensational. They got their team to great starts. The genius of Aravinda De Silva came to the fore in the semi-finals and finals. Arjuna Ranatunga masterminded Lanka’s path to glory. But one man who went on to later achieve greatness couldn’t even feature in a single game in the 96’ World Cup. He was Marvan Atapattu.
#1 Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson was one of the most fearful fast bowlers the game has ever seen. He singlehandedly brought back the fear factor in the game. Johnson was part of Australia’s historic ashes series win in 2013. He played a vital role in Australia clinching the World Cup in 2015. But not many are aware of the fact that Johnson was part of Australia’s squad in 2007 too. Glenn McGrath, Shaun Tait, and Stuart Clark headlined the Aussie attack in the 2007 World Cup. McGrath was in fact named the Player of the Tournament. Owing to such quality bowlers in the playing XI, Johnson couldn’t get a single game in the 2007 World Cup.