HomeICC World Test Championship Final 2023Indian Allrounders: A Story Gone Wrong

Indian Allrounders: A Story Gone Wrong

Indian allrounder story: The 1983 ODI World Cup win was a pivotal moment in Indian cricket. It showed us the importance of a world-class allrounder who could change the course of the game in any which way. Kapil Dev was the leader of the World Cup-winning side in 1983. His 175* remains as iconic as his running catch in the finals to dismiss Sir Viv Richards. All this when he opened the bowling for the side.

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Dev’s brilliance overshadowed Amarnath’s genius:

India apart from Kapil Dev had the luxury of Mohinder Amarnath who arguably was the player of the tournament. No player in the history of the game contributed in a complete all-round fashion as Amarnath did in the semis and finals of the 1983 World Cup. The fact that Amarnath’s all-around genius is hardly ever spoken of is because of Kapil Dev’s quality.

The hunt for an all-round great:

Kapil Dev is widely regarded as one of the greatest all-rounders of the game. And it was this obsession that led India to try plenty of options but the result has often been disappointing. These players were often hyped even before their debut. But their performance at the international level proved that they are a long way away from staking the claim of being an allrounder.

Indian allrounder story We look at such curious cases of Players who were touted to be the next Kapil Dev:

#1 Laxmi Ratan Shukla

It is one name that the 90s and early 2000s generation had gotten used to. Laxmi Ratan Shukla was billed as India’s next Kapil Dev in the making. It was largely down to the fact that he bowled a bit and batted decently. Shukla played 3 ODIs in total scoring 18 runs and picked up a solitary wicket. His numbers speak the rest of the story.

#2 Reetinder Singh Sodhi

He was part of India’s U-19 World Cup-winning team in 2000. Yuvraj Singh who was the player of the tournament was soon fast-tracked into the national team. Preetinder Singh Sodhi too earned a national cap in December 2000. But the ‘allrounder’ featured in just 18 ODIs for India scoring 280 runs and picking up 5 wickets. He last played for the side in 2002.

#3 Irfan Pathan

He did relatively better as compared to other names on this list. But Irfan Pathan was also cut from a different cloth. He is widely considered to be one of the best natural talents the Indian team has ever seen. His ability to swing the ball and also use the long handle was unprecedented in Indian cricket. But call it the management’s mistake or the player’s failure to adapt, Irfan Pathan remains one of the most upsetting incomplete chapters of Indian cricket.

#4 Abhishek Nayar

He had a great reputation in the domestic circuit. Abhishek Nayar was an honest trier who punched above his weight season after season in first-class cricket. The selectors were almost forced to pick Nayar. But the captain and the team management didn’t show enough faith in Nayar. He could play just 3 games wherein he hardly got to bat or got to bowl. Nayar was an allrounder and the way he was utilized speaks volumes of Indian cricket.

#5 Vijay Shankar

His unfortunate claim to fame was a reference that was made on his selection to the ODI World Cup side in 2019. The chief selector then quipped that Vijay Shankar is a 3-dimensional player. Shankar who has been part of a well-performing Gujarat Titans team in the last two years in the IPL has seen better days lately.

But the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup and life beyond it was miserable for the player. Fans and experts wasted no opportunity to joke at India’s team selection for such a big event. The irony was mainly over his selection as an ‘allrounder’.

A couple of allrounders who have been a saving grace:

#1 Shardul Thakur

He showcased his value even in the 2023 WTC Final stepping up with both bat and the ball. Shardul Thakur has played interesting cameos in the white ball formats for India. He can decisively turn the momentum of the game with both the bat and the ball. His biggest all-round contributions have come in India’s epic wins in Gabba and at the Oval in 2021. Thakur though is still a work in progress and he is more Chris Woakes than Ben Stokes or Pat Cummins. Therein lies India’s challenge of using him regularly.

#2 Hardik Pandya

It would have been interesting to see Hardik Pandya feature in India’s playing XI in the 2023 WTC Final. But the star allrounder ruled himself out on the note of him ‘taking’ away a deserving player’s spot. India needs Pandya to do what Ben Stokes does for England. They need him to step up on the big occasion as he does so consistently in the IPL. But Pandya has been a reluctant allrounder, especially in the longest format. He is the closest who has come to the idea of a genuine seam bowling allrounder for India in recent history.

Vignesh Rajagopal
Vignesh Rajagopalhttps://stumpsandbails.com/
I am a passionate cricket lover, who likes to express his views on the beautiful game and share insights and analysis about the finer aspects of the sport.

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