Player Injury: Injuries in sports are never a good thing. It is one of the most agonizing factors in cricket. The team’s balance and the cricketer’s career all are affected momentarily at least if not permanently. There is no certainty that the game remains the same for all stakeholders involved. But at times these injuries have provided a lucky break to other cricketers. These players have then gone to cement their place in the team.
We look at 5 such players who made the most of being an injury replacement:
#5 Michael Hussey – Justin Langer
Justin Langer was regarded as one of the toughest openers to have played the game. He formed an excellent opening combination with Matthew Hayden. Langer suffered a blow to his ribs in the 2005 season. His injury paved the way for domestic giant, Michael Hussey.
The Western Australian, Hussey had to wait for 10 years to make his international debut. Hussey though grabbed his chance with both hands. His average was next to Sir Don Bradman at one point in time. Hussey is popularly known as Mr. Cricket!
#4 Andrew Strauss – Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan was not just one of England’s finest openers but was a terrific captain too. His pairing with Marcus Trescothick was formidable. Vaughan’s injury provided an entry for another fine opener, Andrew Strauss. The latter went on to seize the position in some style. Captain Vaughan gave up the opening slot to Strauss and opted to bat at number 3. In the annals of English cricket, both these openers have their names etched clearly.
#3 Rahul Dravid – Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar was one of the most technically sound batsmen of his time. He suffered an untimely ankle injury ahead of the second Test against England in 1996. Manjrekar’s injury gave way to a Karnataka youngster. His name was Rahul Dravid. Coming into bat at number 7 on debut, Dravid smashed a classy 95. He showed his immense potential in the very first game. Dravid went on to score 10,000 runs in both formats. He proved to be a worthy replacement!
#2 Chris Gayle – Dirk Nannes
RCB’s campaign in IPL 2011 was going nowhere. Their big-ticket signing, Dirk Nannes was ruled out with an injury. It is at this juncture that team director, Anil Kumble rang up Chris Gayle who was without an IPL contract. The big Jamaican walked into the IPL and scored a century on debut for RCB. The rest as they say is history as Gayle not only lifted RCB to dizzying heights but lit up the league in itself. IPL has never been the same ever since.
#1 Virat Kohli – Gautam Gambhir
Not many are aware of the fact that it was an injury to Gautam Gambhir that brought Virat Kohli into the mix. An injury before a series against Sri Lanka gave Kohli a chance to stage a comeback. Kohli wasn’t spectacular but did enough to hold on to his spot for the Champions Trophy that was played later that year. He had a fine tournament in South Africa that made him an ODI regular. It didn’t take Kohli long to establish himself as an ODI great.