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46 Unlucky Indian Cricketers Who Never Played for India in Tests but Dominated Ranji Trophy (Updated 2023)

by Aug 10, 2022World XIs - With Twists

Collage of Unlucky Indian Cricketers Who Never Played for India

Who are some of the unlucky Indian cricketers who never played for India? Rajinder Goel, Amol Muzumdar, Padmakar Shivalkar, AG Ram Singh, B.B. Nimbalkar, Amarjit Kaypee, Sudhakar Adhikari, Hari Gidwani, Jalaj Saxena, and Pandurang Salgaoncar are the Top 10 unluckiest players who never played for India.

Here is the complete list of 39 unlucky Indian players who never played for India (plus honorable mentions at the bottom).

Keep on reading.

List of Unlucky Players Who Never Played for India

*Note: Sunil Valson is not on this list because he was selected in the 1983 ODI World Cup on the basis of his List A exploits in the Deodhar & Duleep Trophies, not Ranji Trophy

46. Sheldon Jackson (Saurashtra, 2011-)

  • Role: Batter/Keeper
  • FC Record: 90 Matches, 6608 Runs, best of 186, 48.94 average, 20-100s, 36-50s
  • Claim to Fame: Integral part of the 2019-20 & 2022-23 winning Ranji Trophy teams & 2012-13, 2015-16, 2018-19 runner-up campaigns. 17th Highest run-scorer in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy (756 Runs, centuries in quarter & semi-finals), 5th Highest run-scorer in the 2014-15 Ranji Trophy Season (819 Runs), and 9th Highest run-scorer in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy Season (854 Runs), Scored consecutive tons in the 2015 Vijay Hazare Trophy and scored 59* in record Irani Trophy run-chase (third highest run chase in India’s first-class system)
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Scored 854 runs at 47.44 in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy and 809 runs at 50.56 the year after, but did not make it to the India A tours (was called up to India A tours earlier). Despite being a consistent presence in the Saurashtra line up, he has not been able to get into the national spotlight, which lead him to depression. He was rewarded with an IPL contract and some games with KKR though.

45. Pankaj Dharmani (Punjab, 1992-2010)

  • Role: Right Arm Bat, Wicketkeeper
  • FC Record: 147 Matches, 9312 Runs, best of 305*, 50.06 average, 100s-26, 50s-42
  • Claim to Fame: 1194 Runs in 1999-2000 season (at one point, he scored 608 runs without being dismissed)
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

In 1996, he was selected to play 1 ODI, but did not get a chance in Test cricket. Played for India A vs England in tour matches as well.

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44. Shantanu Sugwekar (Maharashtra, 1987-2002)

  • Role: Right Arm Bat, Right arm off break
  • FC Record: 85 Matches, 6563 Runs, best of 299*, 63.10 average, 100s-19, 50s-26
  • Claim to Fame: Average of 63.10. Apart from Sarfaraz Khan (current player) and Bahir Shah (Afghanistan), Sugwekar has the highest first-class average to never play international cricket.
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

He captained West Zone, but that was as far as he got in the Indian selection ladder.

43. Manoj Tiwary (Bengal, 2004-2023*)

  • Role: Right Arm Bat
  • FC Record: 139 Matches, 9776 Runs, best of 303*, 48.88 average, 100s-29, 50s-44
  • Claim to Fame: 29 first-class hundreds, 139 FC matches
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Siddharth Monga’s ESPNCricinfo description of Tiwary starts with, “Manoj Tiwary is not the most fortunate man in Indian cricket.” He received some opportunities in limited overs cricket (and did well) but was never given a consistent run or got injured. Even with 9776 first class runs, he did not play a single Test match. Selected for India A a number of times.

*still playing

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42. Ashok Dinda (Bengal, 2005-2019)

  • Role: Right Arm Bowl
  • FC Record: 116 Matches, 420 Wickets, best 8/123 (innings) & 12/142 (match), 28.28 average, 5w/10w – 26/5
  • Claim to Fame: Highest wicket-taker for Bengal in his last decade of first-class cricket for almost every year (the only other year Dinda wasn’t #1 for Bengal, it was Mohammad Shami)
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

He played 13 ODIs and 9 T20Is and was trolled for his T20 bowling, but unfortunately did not get a run in the format he preferred the most. In 2012, he played for India A against England.

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41. Maturi Venkat ‘MV’ Sridhar (Hyderabad, 1988-2000)

  • Role: Right Arm Bat
  • FC Record: 97 Matches, 6701 Runs, best of 366, 48.91 average, 100s-21, 50s-27
  • Claim to Fame: 366 Runs vs Andhra in 1993/94, the fourth best score of all time in Ranji (3rd best at that time). He entered at 30/1 & left at 880/5, a world record
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Although he was among the best in the domestic circuit, he could not break into the national squad at any stage of his career.

40. Yashpal Singh (Sikkim, Manipur, Services, 2001-2020)

  • Role: Right arm bat/Right Arm Medium Fast
  • FC Record: 134 Matches, 9777 runs, 50.13 average, 24-100s, 52-50s
  • Claim to Fame: 5th Highest Ranji Trophy run scorer of all time (8700)
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Not that close. Although he is a stalwart in the first-class circuit, most of his runs has come for Sikkim in the Plate Group. He was a rewarded with a Kochi Tuskers Kerela contract in IPL 2011.

39. Gagandeep Singh (Punjab, 1999-2009)

  • Role: Right Arm Medium Fast
  • FC Record: 66 Matches, 266 Wickets, 6/14 (best innings), 20.84 average, 16/3 – 5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: Impressive average of 20.84 & economy of 2.52. 3rd Highest wicket-taker of the 2003-04 Ranji Trophy eason (36 wickets in 6 matches)
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test cap?

He was selected in the 2004 Test series vs Bangladesh alongside Shib Sankar Paul, but was not picked with Zaheer Khan & Irfan Pathan in the 15.

So near, yet so far.

38. Rajesh Pawar (Mumbai, Baroda, 1996-2013)

  • Role: Left-arm Orthodox
  • FC Record: 84 Matches, 281 Wickets, 7/87 (best innings), 30.07 average, 11/2 (5w/10w)
  • Claim to Fame: Part of the 1998 U-19 WC Squad, 44 first class wickets in the 1999-2000 season
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Was close to selection after his stellar 1999-2000 season, but came even closer in 2007, when he was included in the India-Bangladesh Test series. However, he did not play in the XI and was never considered for selection again. According to Siddharta Vaidyanathan from ESPNCricinfo, at his first-class debut at the age of 16, “Pawar was being touted as India’s next great left-arm spin hope.” Unfortunately, that never materialized.

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37. Rakesh Tandon (Vidarbha, Mumbai, 1969-1978)

  • Role: Allrounder (Right arm legspin/lower order batter)
  • FC Record: 50 Matches, 108 Wickets/1202 Runs, 6/34 (best innings), best of 142*, 28.62 bowling average, 24.53 batting average, 2/0 (5w/10w), 2-100s
  • Claim to Fame: Bowling alongside Salim Durani for Central Zone, they dismantled North Zone for 85/10. Played number of gutsy knocks as well including two hundreds
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

He played in the 2nd ‘Unofficial Test’ between Sri Lanka and India in 1975. However, at that point, Sri Lanka did not have Test status. The Test status would come six years later, at which point Tandon would be long gone.

36. Rajendrasinh Jadeja (Saurashtra, 1974-1987)

  • Role: Right Arm Medium Fast/All rounder
  • FC Record: 50 Matches, 134 Wickets/1536 Runs, 7/58 (best innings), best of 97, 26.24 bowling average, 24.38 batting average, 5/0 (5w/10w), 11-50s
  • Claim to Fame: Was regularly selected for West Zone in the Duleep Trophy
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Dilip Vengsarkar said that “he was unlucky to have never played for India.” Sandeep Patil concluded that “he was in contention for the Indian berth in those days” but fell short in his bating to get the allrounder spot.

(also known as Rajendra Raisinh Jadeja)

35. Krishnan ‘KP’ Bhaskar Pillai (Delhi, 1982-1995)

  • Role: Batter
  • FC Record: 95 Matches, 5443 Runs, best of 222*, 52.84 average, 18-100s, 21-50s
  • Claim to Fame: Between 1983-1989, he scored 13 centuries and averaged 70 for Delhi
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

He was selected as a standby for the India-Sri Lanka Test series in 1985. However, he was never selected.

34. Shib Shankar Paul (Bengal, 2000-2014)

  • Role: Right Arm Medium
  • FC Record: 61 Matches, 220 Wickets, 7/44 (best innings), 24.95 average, 15/2 – 5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: 5th Highest wicket taker of 2003-04 Ranji Trophy (33 wickets in just 9 innings)
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Was selected for the tour to East Africa in 2004 and later for the fourth Test vs Australia in 2004 & series against Bangladesh that year, but never got a shot. By his own admission, taking Marcus Trescothick’s wicket in a Board President’s XI in 2006 was one of his most memorable moments.

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33. Ranadeb Bose (Bengal, 1998-2011)

  • Role: Right Arm Fast Medium
  • FC Record: 91 Matches, 317 Wickets, 7/24 (best innings), 25.80 average, 24/6 – 5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: In the 2006-07 season, he took 57 wickets, 9th best season haul of time (6th best at that time). According to ESPNCricinfo, after 10,658 & 2,113 List A deliveries, he had not bowled a single no ball.
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Although he was called up for the fast bowling conditioning camp by Greg Chappell, the dream was never fulfilled due to competition and lack of pace. With Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, and VRV Singh getting chances, Bose never got a shot despite his consistency.

32. Bharamiah Vijayakrishna (Karnataka, 1969-1984)

  • Role: Allrounder (Left hand bat, Slow Left arm orthodox)
  • FC Record: 80 Matches, 194 Wickets/2297 Runs, 7/85 (best innings), best of 104, 27.30 bowling average, 25.80 batting average, 100s-2, 50s-16 7/1 – 5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: Top scored in the final with 71 in Karnataka’s first Ranji Trophy win in the 1973-74 season
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

With the spin quartet ruling Indian cricket, there was not much chance for him to break into the Indian squad. Took 6/79 & 3/89 in the 1978/79 Karnataka vs West Indians tour match.

31. Syed Hyder Ali (Railways, 1963-1988)

  • Role: Allrounder (left hand bat/slow left arm orthodox)
  • FC Record: 113 Matches, 366 Wickets/3125 Runs, 9/25 (best innings), best of 121, 19.71 bowling average, 22.64 batting average, 100s-3, 50s-10, 25/3 – 5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: Has the 4th Best bowling figures in Ranji Trophy history, 9/25
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Well respected in the domestic circuit, he never made it to the national stage due to India’s famed spin quartet.

30. Premangsu Chatterjee (Bengal, 1946-1960)

  • Role: Left arm medium pace
  • FC Record: 32 Matches, 134 Wickets, 10/20 (best innings), 17.75 average, 2.19 economy
  • Claim to Fame: Best bowling figures in Ranji Trophy History (10/78 in 1956-57); Took 15 wickets in the 1955-56 semi-final to push Bengal to the final
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Chuni Goswami, who captained Bengal to the 1971/72 title, reckons that Chatterjee “would have been very successful if he was born in this era. It’s really sad that he could not play for India because of poor backing from the state administration.”

29. Rajinder Singh Hans (Uttar Pradesh, 1976-1987)

  • Role: Slow left arm orthodox
  • FC Record: 78 Matches, 340 Wickets, 9/152 (best innings), 22.13 average, 27/5 – 5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: 9/152 one of the best individual wickets haul
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Was called up to the 1979-80 Test series but never played an international game.

28. Yere Goud (Karnataka, Railways, 1994-2011)

  • Role: Batter
  • FC Record: 134 Matches, 7650 Runs, best of 221*, 45.53 average, 16-100s, 39-50s
  • Claim to Fame: Won 2 Ranji Trophies, 3 Irani Cps, and a Duleep Trophy, and a Ranji one-day trophy. Played 100 Ranji Trophy matches
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Despite score 761 runs in the 2001-02 Ranji season and regular member of the India A ide at that time, he could not find a place in the Indian middle order. At his retirement, Javagal Srinath that Goud was the “Rahul Dravid of the Railways team.”

27. Dheeraj Jadhav (Maharashtra, Assam, 1999-2015)

  • Role: Right Arm Batter
  • FC Record: 111 Matches, 7679 Runs, 50.85 average, 23-100s, 31-50s
  • Claim to Fame: Highest scorer of the 2003-04 Ranji Trophy season with 1066 runs in just 12 innings
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

He was selected in the squad for the 4th Test vs Australia in 2004 based on a good performance in India A’s tour to Kenya and was also the reserve opener in the 2005 Zimbabwe Test series.

26. Surinder Bhave (Maharashtra, 1986-2001)

  • Role: Right Arm Bat
  • FC Record: 97 Matches, 7971 Runs, best of 292, 58.18 average, 28-100s, 27-50s
  • Claim to Fame: Joint 6th highest number of centuries in Ranji Trophy
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Was selected for the 1992-93 SAARC Quadrangular tournament, a competition betwen India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh made up of ‘A’ squads. Bhave scored 81, but the final was abandoned due to riots in Dhaka.

25. Basant Mohanty (Odisha, 2007-2023*)

  • Role: Right Arm Medium
  • FC Record: 105 Matches, 403 Wickets, 7/27 (best innings) & 11/49 (best match), 20.97 average, 2.28 economy, 23/3 – 5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: Was selected for East Zone in Duleep Trophy in 2009. Leading wicket-taker for Odisha in the 2018-19 season
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Statistically, he should have been right at the top in the national conversation. However, with India’s pace attack rising in this decade, Mohanty never got his chance.

*still playing

24. Priyank Panchal (Gujarat, 2008-)

  • Role: Right Arm Opening Batter
  • FC Record: 111 Matches, 7901 Runs, best of 314*, 47.02 average, 26-100s, 31-50s
  • Claim to Fame: Scored 1310 runs at 87.33 in 2016-17, when the weight of his runs lead Gujarat to a maiden Ranji Trophy victory. Between 2016-19, he had the most first class runs by anyone in India
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

When Rohit Sharma was injured for the tour of South Africa in 2021, Panchal was called up as cover. He was also in the England Test series squad that year and has been on the fringes with the India A for a number of years now. Earlier this year, Panchal was India A’s red ball captain, but another member in that India A squad got the Test cap before him—Shreyas Iyer.

Almost 33, it is difficult to see him making a debut now.

Further Reading: ESPNCricinfo’s Interview with Abhimanyu Easwaran and Priyank Panchal

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23. Venkatraman Ramnarayan (Hyderabad, 1975-1981)

  • Role: Right Arm Off break
  • FC Record: 25 Matches, 96 Wickets, 7/68 (best innings), 23.23 average, 5w – 4
  • Claim to Fame: Most successful bowler for Hyderabad in that era with 86 wickets in five seasons
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test cap?

He was named in the probables for the 1977-78 tour of Australia, but that was the farthest he got.

V Ramnarayan was “India’s third-best offspinner, kept out of the national side only by the giant skills of Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan.” Based on this opinion, he wrote the book, “Third Man.”

22. KN Ananthapadmanabhan (Kerela, 1988-2004)

  • Role: Right arm Legspin/Allrounder
  • FC Record: 105 Matches, 344 Wickets/2891 Runs, 8/57 (best innings), best of 200, 27.54 bowling average, 21.90 batting average, 25/5 (5w/10w), 3-100s, 8 -50s
  • Claim to Fame: Scored a double century and cemented his tag of an all-rounder
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Received a few opportunities for India A, but not on the national stage as his career coincided with Anil Kumble. Now an umpire.

21. Sistanshu Kotak (Saurashtra, 1992-2013)

  • Role: Left-handed Batter
  • FC Record: 130 Matches, 8061 Runs, 60 Wickets, 6/81 (best innings), best of 168*, 41.76 batting average, 15-100s, 55-50s
  • Claim to Fame: At the time of his retirement, Kotak was the highest scorer in Ranji Trophy never to have won the title. They went to the finals in his final game in 2013, but lost to Mumbai in the finals
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

In his own words Kotak said that “Every player wants to play for his country. That could not happen for me, but that is not a regret. Maybe I was not destined to.”

20. Rashmi Ranjan Parida (Rajasthan, Vidarbha, Orissa, Assam, 1994-2015)

  • Role: Right Hand Batter/Wicketkeeper
  • FC Record: 139 Matches, 8317 Runs, best of 220, 42.21 average, 16-100s, 51-50s
  • Claim to Fame: Won the 2010-11 Ranji Trophy, 5th highest number of Ranji matches played (126)
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

With India’s middle order settled and even Amol Muzumdar not getting a chance, the likes of Rashmi Parida never got to see the green light for national selection. He did play a tour game against England though.

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19. Sridharan Sharath (Tamil Nadu, Assam, 1992-2007)

  • Role: Left-Handed Middle Order Batter
  • FC Record: 139 Matches, 8700 Runs, Bet of 224, 51.17 Average, 27-100s, 42-50s
  • Claim to Fame: At the time of his retirement, only Tamil Nadu player to play 100 Ranji Trophy matches
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Not very close due to the competition. He played in a Board President’s XI match vs Sri Lanka, but did not get any further.

Like many first-class giants during this time, Sharath just couldn’t break through the Indian squad with the golden generation of Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly, and VVS Laxman around. When he retired from Tamil Nadu cricket (came back year later for Assam), he said “My not playing for India, and the fact that Tamil Nadu did not win a Ranji Trophy title in my time, remain my biggest disappointments. The hard work factor was missing during the time I played.”

18. Parvez Rasool (Jammu & Kashmir, 2008-2022)

  • Role: Allrounder (Right arm off break, Right arm bat)
  • FC Record: 87 matches, 299 Wickets/5023 Runs, 8/85 (best innings) & 12/73 (best match), best of 182, 27.92 bowling average, 37.76 batting average, 20/4 – 5w/10w, 100s-13, 50s-20
  • Claim to Fame: Lala Amarnath Award (best allrounder) in 2013-14 & 2016-17 seasons
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Parvez has already featured in our unlucky Indian cricketers who deserved more chances, but that was in limited overs cricket. In first-class cricket, he deserved even more chances.

What a colossal allrounder he was in Ranji Trophy. First cricketer from Kashmir to be picked for India A, he took seven wickets against Australia while representing the Board President’s XI team in 2013. He went on to play a couple of limited overs matches in 2014 and was recalled in 2017 for the T20 squad, but never for Test cricket.

17. Kanwaljit Singh (Hyderabad, 1980-2001)

  • Role: Right Arm Off break
  • FC Record: 111 Matches, 369 Wickets, 8/86 (best innings), 28.24 average, 21/4 – 5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: Holds the record for the 5th best season hall—62 wickets in 1999-2000 season.
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

He was selected for an India A vs England A in 1994/95 and did pretty well. However with Test season ending soon and Rajesh Chauhan India’s first choice off-spinner, he could not make it into the team. With 113 wickets after the age of 40, he still had a desire to play for the nation.

16. Faiz Fazal (Vidharba, 2003-2023*)

  • Role: Right Arm Opener (right arm medium part-time)
  • FC Record: 135 Matches, 9128 Runs, best of 206, 41.68 average, 100s-24, 50s-39
  • Claim to Fame: In the 2015-16 season, he scored 714 runs at 44.62 (including 127 in chase of 480 in Irani Cup)
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Played 1 ODI, scored 55 runs. Never played for India again. For all his first first-class run-scoring abilities, never received a Test call up. Did receive an India A call up during that time though.

*still playing

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15. Devendra Bundela (Madhya Pradesh, 1995-2017)

  • Role: Allrounder (Right arm bat/right arm medium)
  • FC Record: 164 Matches, 10004 Runs/58 wickets, best of 188, 6/37 (best innings), 43.68 batting average, 45.65 bowling average, 100s-26, 50s-54, 2/1 – 5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: Highest Ranji Trophy appearances; 3rd Highest Ranji Trophy scorer of all time (9205)
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Member of the India U-19 team in 1995, he could never break into the senior national side. Also did not win a Ranji Trophy title (finals in 1998-99).

14. Kailash Gattani (Rajasthan, 1962-1983)

  • Role: Right Arm Medium
  • FC Record: 109 Matches, 396 Wickets, 7/13 (best innings), 19.91 average, 20/5 – 5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: 51 wickets in 1969/70, highest of that season
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Although he was a regular in the Central Zone teams for the Duleep Trophy for a number of years, his name was not called up any further.

13. Connor Cecil Williams (Baroda, 1995-2011)

  • Role: Left Arm Orthodox
  • FC Record: 124 Matches, 7942 Runs, best of 237*, 39.9 average, 19-100s, 42-50s
  • Claim to Fame: Scored 143 & 83 in the Irani Trophy, which prompted him to national selection
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

He played in the India vs South Africa 3rd Test and scored 5 & 42. However, due to a controversy between the ICC and South African cricket, this match was deemed unofficial. Hence, he never got the honor of an official India Test cap.

He was later selected for the first Test against England in 2001 in the 14-man squad. However, he did not win the competition for the opening batter battle as Shiv Sunder Das and Deep Dasgupta opened.

12. Mithun Manhas (Delhi, 1997-2016)

  • Role: Right arm batter/wicketkeeper/allrounder
  • FC Record: 157 Matches, 9714 Runs, best of 205*, 45.82 average, 100s-27, 50s-49
  • Claim to Fame: 7th all-time Ranji run-scorer (8554), 9th most centuries (25), 3rd most matches played in Ranji (135)
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

With India’s Fab Four in their prime, there was never a chance that Manhas could break into India’s Test squad. Domestic giant nevertheless.

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11. Paras Dogra (Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry, 2001-2023*)

  • Role: Right Arm Batter
  • FC Record: 128 Matches, 9333 Runs, best of 253, 51.85 average, 100s-31, 50s-32
  • Claim to Fame: Holds the record for most double tons in Ranji Trophy. 6th highest on the all-time run list, and joint-second on all-time century list
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Came close to an India call-up in 2013, when he went to the West Indies with India A.

10. Jalaj Saxena (Madhya Pradesh, Kerela, 2005-2023*)

  • Role: Allrounder (Right Arm Bat/Legbreak googly)
  • FC Record: 133 Matches, 410 Wickets/6567 Runs, 8/36 (best innings) & 16/154 (best match), best of 194, 25.97 bowling average, 34.74 batting average, 28/7 – 5w/10w, 100s-14, 50s-32
  • Claim to Fame: Lala Amarnath (best all rounder award) in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2017-18. Became the only Indian to hit a 100 & take an 8-wicket innings haul twice in the same match. Only player apart from Anil Kumble to take 16 wickets in a Ranji Trophy match
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Although he was selected in India A in 2013, he was out of contention till 2019 when he returned to play for India A against England Lions and South Africa A. He said “I spoke to the selectors and asked them. They told me that I am in their sights and they are watching me, and if they get the chance, they’ll give me an opportunity.”

That opportunity never came. The closest he got was in 2021 when Ravindra Jadeja was injured for the England Test series. However, Axar Patel got the nod (and Axar made it count).

*still playing

9. Hari Gidwani (Delhi, Bihar, 1972-1992)

  • Role: Right arm bat
  • FC Record: 119 Matches, 6805 Runs, best of 229, 42.53 average, 100s-15, 50s-32
  • Claim to Fame: Scored centuries in 5 consecutive Ranji Trophy matches between 1986-1988
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Scored 46 against West Indies and a century vs Sri Lanka in tour matches but did not climb the final ladder to national glory. In his own words, Gidwani stated that “I was closest to India selection in 1975-76 when I got a hundred against the visiting Sri Lankan team.”

8. Pandurang Salgaoncar (Maharashtra, 1971-1982)

  • Role: Right Arm Fast
  • FC Record: 63 Matches, 214 Wickets, 7/72 (best innings), 26.70 average, 11/1 – 5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: Once hit Sunil Gavaskar on the hand. Was one of the fastest bowlers in the 1970s in India’s domestic circuit
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Very, very close. Played the unofficial Tests vs Sri Lanka in 1974. Then was in the West Zone team who played the West Indies XI. Madan Lal and Syed Abid Ali were selected after these matches respectively, with Salgaoncar narrowly missing out. On a couple of occasions, he was called for the 1975 World Cup team, but could not make it past the trials.

7. Sudhakar Adhikari (Mumbai, 1959-1971)

  • Role: Right Arm Opener
  • FC Record: 65 Matches, 3779 Runs, best of 192, 40.63 average, 100s-11, 50s-18
  • Claim to Fame: Scored a century in the morning and reached his wedding venue by the night
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

According to V Ramnarayan (in the list above himself), Adhikari was “considered distinctly unlucky not to gain the approval of the Indian selections in the 1960s.”

6. Amarjit Kaypee (Haryana, Punjab, 1980-2000)

  • Role: Right hand bat
  • FC Record: 117 Matches, 7894 runs, best of 210*, 52.27 average, 100s-27, 50s-34
  • Claim to Fame: At the time of his retirement, he was the highest run-scorer in Ranji history. 6th Most number of Ranji 100s (27), 2nd at the time. Once scored 150+ in both innings of a match
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

According to ESPNCricinfo, “there have been many cricketers who have received a raw deal from a jaundiced selectorial eye and Kaypee must consider himself very unlucky in this regard.”

5. Bhausaheb Babasaheb Nimbalkar (Maharashtra, Railways, Rajasthan, Baroda, 1939-1965)

  • Role: Right hand bat/wicketkeeper/Right arm Fast medium
  • FC Record: 80 Matches, 4841 Runs, best of 443*, 47.93 average, 100s-12, 50s-22
  • Claim to Fame: Highest individual score in Ranji Trophy history and the highest score for a cricketer never to have played international cricket—443*
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Played for the country unofficially against a Commonwealth match in 1949-50. However despite an illustrious domestic career from 1939-1965, he did not play a Test match.

4. Amritsar Govindsingh ‘AG’ Ram Singh (Madras, 1932-1947)

  • Role: Allrounder (Left hand bat/slow left arm orthodox)
  • FC Record: 56 Matches, 265 Wickets/3314 Runs, 8/14 (best innings), best of 126, 18.56 bowling average, 35.25 batting average, 24/8 – 5w/10w, 100s-6, 50s-22
  • Claim to Fame: Became the second cricketer to score 1000 runs and take 100 wickets in the Ranji trophy
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

Played in two unofficial Tests in 1935-36 in the tour to England and was selected in 1945 to a tour to Ceylon, but never had the honor to don the Indian cap. Due to his excellent all-round abilities, Natarajan Sriram reckons that “AJ Ram Singh takes his place as one of the unluckiest cricketers in the history of Indian cricket.”

3. Padmakar Shivalkar (Mumbai, 1961-1988)

  • Role: Slow left arm orthodox
  • FC Record: 124 Matches, 589 Wickets, 8/16 (best innings), 19.69 average, 2.04 economy, 42/13 -5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: 361 Ranji wickets for Mumbai (record), Joint-second 10-wicket hauls in Ranji (11)
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

He went to Sri Lanka in 1973-74 and played a couple of tour matches.

From the age of 22 to the age of 48, Shivalkar played first class cricket. Yet during those 26 years, not once did he get a chance to represent India at a national level. With Bishan Singh Bedi, one of the all-time greatest, wreaking havoc and Rajinder Goel not getting a chance, Shivalkar was left behind.

Was honored for his contribution to the Indian domestic scene with a CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award.

2. Amol Muzumdar (Mumbai, Andhra, Assam, 1993-2013)

  • Role: Right Arm Bat
  • FC Record: 171 Matches, 11167 runs, best of 260, 48.13 average, 100s-30, 50s-60
  • Claim to Fame: 2nd highest All-time Ranji Runs (9205), 5th highest all-time centuries (28), 2nd most number of Ranji matches (136), Vice-captain of the 1994 India U-19 Team (As of 2007, he had won Mumbai 7 Ranji trophy titles)
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

By his own admission, he came close to the Indian team spot in 1994. Even after years of consistent runs scoring, selectors did not consider him. He deliberated quitting cricket in 2002, but ended up playing till 2013.

Fun fact. When Vinod Kambli & Sachin Tendulkar scored the 664-run partnership in their school days, Amol Muzumdar was slotted in the next position. That was probably the closest he got to the India cap.

1. Rajinder Goel (Haryana, Patiala, Southern Punjab, Delh 1958-1985)

  • Role: Slow left arm orthodox
  • FC Record: 157 Matches, 750 Wickets, 8/55 (best innings), 18.58 average, 2.10 economy, 59/18 – 5w/10w
  • Claim to Fame: Most Ranji wickets of all-time (637), 3rd Longest career (27 years), Highest wicket taker in the 1978-79, 79-80, 83-84, and 84-85 season. 53 five-fers & 17 10-fers, both Ranji records
  • How Close Was He to Indian Test Cap?

He played an unofficial Test against Ceylon in 1964-65, taking 4/33 in the second innings. According to Bishan Singh Bedi, ‘Goely, as I called him, was a much better bowler than me. Honestly, I was just lucky that I got the break [to play for India]. I was very fortunate. That is where Goely might have missed out. But I rated him very highly.”

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Will Sarfaraz Khan Remain an Unlucky Indian Cricketer?

Will Sarfaraz Khan add to the list of unlucky Indian cricketers who never played international cricket? The man has been bludgeoning runs for the last couple of first couple of first-class seasons.

At the moment, his first-class record reads: 37 Matches, 3505 Runs, 79.65 average, 13 centuries, 9 fifties, and a best of 301*.

Some like Jaydev Unadkat and Shahbaz Nadeem have recently lived to see the dream by playing a couple of Test matches after years of toil. Others like Priyank Panchal, KS Bharat, & Abhimanyu Easwaran have traveled with the reserve and India A squads for the last few years without breaking into the XI. Prithvi Shaw scored a 379 and still cannot break in the Indian Test squad.

On the other hand, the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar Yadav have broken into India’s Test squads due to heroics in other formats. There is no right and wrong here, but due to timing and form, some first-class legends have missed out on international Test careers.

Honorable Mentions And Those Who Just Played 1-3 Test Matches (Separated by Era)


  • Vaman Vishwanath Kumar (2 Tests)
    • Played 2 Tests and got 7 wickets despite having a FC career of 599 wickets. In the era of the spin quartet
  • KR Rajagopal, Gokul Inder Dev, Anand Shukla, Vijay Bhosle, Ramesh Nagdev, AAS Asif, PK Belliappa, B Mahendra Kumar


  • Hemanth Kanitkar (2 Tests)
  • Abdul Ismail, Saad Bin Jung, AV Jayaprakash, Barun Burman, Uday Joshi, Sarkar Talwar, Vijay Mohanraj, Michael Dalvi, Naushir Mehta, Anil Mathur


  • Sadanand Vishwanath (3 Tests)
  • S Vasudevan, Abdul Azeem


  • Ajay Sharma (1 Test)
    • Scored 10,000+ first class runs at an average of 67.46 played exactly 1 Test for India (and later getting banned for match-fixing scandal). Also had 7 double tons in Ranji Trophy history.
  • Hrishikesh Kanitkar (2 Tests)
  • Ashish Winston Zaidi, Sunil Subramaniam

Post 2000s

  • Subramaniam Badrinath (2 Tests)
  • Vinay Kumar
    • Although Kumar played 31 ODI matches for India, he played only 1 Test match. For someone with 139 FC match experience & 504 wickets at an average of 22.44 to his name, that is a shame
  • Rishi Dhawan, Basant Mohanty

Also Read other articles in our Unlucky Cricketer Series:

Other Resources

Unlucky Indian Cricketers Who Never Played for India – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)?

Who is the unluckiest Indian cricketer and why?

Rajinder Goel is the unluckiest cricketer. Despite taking 750 first class wickets and 637 Ranji Trophy wickets (100+ more than the next highest), he was never considered at the highest level.

Who is the unluckiest player in cricket history?

Rajinder Goel & Amol Muzumdar are the unluckiest players in Indian history. They both have played for more than two decades and hold records in their respective crafts. Due to competition from India’s spin quartet in the 1960s, Rajinder Goel could not break through India’s ranks and due to the presence of the Fab Four, Amol Muzumdar could not break through.

Who are the best Indian players who have not played for the Indian national team?

Rajinder Goel, Padmakar Shivalkar, Amol Muzumdar, Hari Gidwani, AJ Ram Singh, B.B. Nimbalkar, Amarjit Kaypee, Paras Dogra, Mithun Manhas, and Pandurang Salgaoncar are the Top 10 unluckiest players who never played for India.

Who has played the most Ranji Trophy games without representing India?

Devendra Bundela (145), Amol Muzumdar (136), Mithun Manhas (135), Rashmi Parida, and Rajinder Goel (123) played the most Ranji Trophy matches without representing India.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, LLC 2023. Originally published on 02/01/2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).


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