India is quietly growing its massive depth in cricket, which means there will always be a few unlucky Indian cricketers. Here is our Top 13 list as well as a list of cricketers at the bottom who only played 1-5 matches for India without being given more chances.
We have already done a list of 22 Unlucky Players of All Time. This is a list that only pertains to Indian cricketers who debuted for India.
Also Read: 42 Unlucky Indian Cricketers Who Never Played for India in Tests but Dominated Ranji Trophy (Updated 2023), Indian Cricket’s Abundance of Talent: A Blessing or a Curse?, 54 Contenders for the Indian 2022 T20 World Cup Squad
List of Unlucky Indian Cricketers
*Note: We do not consider the current crop of players like Sanju Samson because their career is still to play out.
13. Parvez Rasool
- Last Match: Jan 26, 2017 (T20I) vs England
All-rounder from Jammu & Kashmir, did not get to bat in his only ODI and 10-0-60-2. Waited 3 years for another chance and got picked for the T20I series vs England.
Run out for 5(6) and decent figures of 4-0-32-1. Never to play an international game again. 4 years and only 2 games where he did not have much of a chance to showcase his talent.
12. Pragyan Ojha
- Last Match: Nov 14-16, 2013 vs West Indies
That match seem familiar? Not only was it Sachin Tendulkar’s last match in his 24-year career, it was also Pragyan Ojha’s last match in his five-year international career.
5/40 & 5/49 with a player of the match performance. Next thing you know, the Ashwin-Jadeja pair is tried out next season, and Ojha was never picked again. He was only 27 at that time (only 35 right now and doing commentary).
*One of the reasons may have been the legality of his action. He was officially banned a year and a half later but might be ‘why he disappeared from the selectors’ radar.’
11. Joginder Sharma
- Last Match: Sept 19, 2007 vs Pakistan
4 ODI matches, 4 T20I matches. His T20I career spanned between Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes & Misbah’s mistimed scoop that resulted in India’s victory.
3.3-0-20-2 & a World Cup winner tag to sign off his international career at the age of 24. Now an officer in Haryana police.Embed from Getty Images
10. Subramaniam Badrinath
- Last Match: June 4, 2011 (ODI) vs West Indies
Batting at #4, top scored with 43 (37) and won the player of the match award in his only T20I. A poor ODI series meant his career ended 9 days later. 2 Tests (in SA), 7 ODIs, and 1 T20I only for the domestic giant (10245 runs, 54.49 average, 32 – 100s, 45 – 50s). Vital cog in CSK’s 2011 victory.Embed from Getty Images
9. Barindar Sran
- Last match: June 22, 2016 vs Zimbabwe
ODI debut: 9.2-0-56-3, T20I debut: 4-0-10-4, best T20I debut by an Indian.
Two days later, his second T20I & final match, 4-1-31-2.
Was picked after only 8 List A matches and performed well only to be dropped. Now doesn’t even get IPL gigs (net bowler for Gujarat Titans this year). With Khaleel Ahmed, Natarajan, and Arshdeep Singh in the scheme of things, it looks like the 29-year old has a tough road to a comeback and may have already played his last match.
8. Manish Pandey
- Last match: July 23, 2021 vs Sri Lanka
A casualty of India’s bizarre chop and change policy between 2016-2019 in their quest to find a perfect #4 batter.
Debuting a year later than Virat Kohli & the first Indian to hit an IPL century, Pandey has never been able to do justice to his talent due to limited opportunities. It seemed that his time had come with a magnificent chase of 330, where he hit an unbeaten 104* at #6 to take India home.
An average of 44.31 in T20I with 3 fifties, more opportunities were expected, but it looks like that the time has passed.Embed from Getty Images
7. Manoj Tiwary
- Last match: July 14, 2015 vs Zimbabwe
104* (1 hundred, 1 fifty), but didn’t get anymore than his 12 ODIs and 1 T20I. Made frequent appearances for KKR but his forte was first class cricket – 9398 runs, 49.98 average, best of 303*, 29 hundreds, 39 fifties – and never played a single Test match. His ODI debut itself was delayed for more than a year after he suffered a shoulder injury on the eve of his potential ODI debut.
Also fascinating is the XI fielded in Tiwary’s last match – 8 out of these 11 can be considered ‘unlucky Indian cricketers,’ at least in limited overs cricket.
- Ajinkya Rahane, 2. Murali Vijay, 3. Robin Uthappa, 4. Manoj Tiwary, 5. Manish Pandey, 6. Kedhar Jadhav, 7. Stuart Binny, 8. Mohit Sharma
- Player of that series – Ambati Rayudu
6. Vinod Kambli
- Last match: October 29, 2000 vs Sri Lanka (ODI – Champions Trophy Final), Nov 8-12, 1995 vs New Zealand (Test)
Although Kambli had a decent 104 match ODI career and was rightly axed after India collapsed for 54 in the Champions Trophy final, it was his Test career that perplexes me. 17 Tests, best of 227, 4 hundreds, 3 fifties, and yet he played his last Test at the age of 23.
Sachin Tendulkar would play, almost to the date, 18 years longer in his Test career.Embed from Getty Images
5. Ambati Rayudu
- Last match: March 8, 2019 vs Australia
More than Manish Pandey, Ambati Rayudu suffered the most & so did India as they crashed out of the 2019 ODI CWC semi-final.
A talent of his generation, ODI average of 47.05 (3 hundreds, 10 fifties) – he was unceremoniously dropped both before the 2015 ODI World Cup (after player of the series performance vs Zimbabwe) and the 2019 ODI World Cup.
His last 10 ODI scores were 24, 13*, 47, 40*, 0, 90, 13, 18, 2. Unlucky Indian cricketer at its finest.
Embed from Getty Images
Just Ordered a new set of 3d glasses to watch the world cup 😉😋..— Ambati Rayudu (@RayuduAmbati) April 16, 2019
4. Amit Mishra
- Last match: Feb 1, 2017 vs England (T20I), Oct 29, 2016 vs New Zealand (ODI), Dec 16-20, 2016 vs England (Test)
Amit Mishra played 22 Tests, 36 ODIs, and 10 T20Is, and he never looked out of sorts. With figures of 4-0-23-1 in his last T20I, 6-2-18-5 (player of the match & player of the series – 15 wickets) in his last ODI, we wonder how things could have been.
3. Wasim Jaffer
- Last match: April 11-13, 2008 vs South Africa
A domestic cricket giant with a couple of Test double centuries, he last played Test cricket at the age of 30.
Most capped Ranji player, most runs, 57 hundreds, 91 fifties, average of 50.67. Played 20 of his 31 Tests in West Indies, South Africa, England, Bangladesh, and Australia. Maybe if we was given more chances at home…Embed from Getty Images
2. Jayant Yadav
- Last match: March 4-6, 2022 vs Sri Lanka
Although Jayant Yadav recently played, it seems that was more because of injuries and COVID replacement.
Scoring a century at #9 and a handy offspinner, it seemed that he was bound for better things. However, he has ended with only 4 Tests & 1 ODI. With Ashwin, Jadeja, Chahal, Kuldeep, Bishnoi, Sundar, and Axar’s glorious Test debut, it seems that his international career is good as done.
1. Karun Nair
Last but not the least – Karun Nair. Someone who has scored a triple century definitely deserves a rope longer than 6 Test matches.
- Last match: March 25-28, 2017 vs Australia
Notable Exclusion: Faiz Fazal (55* in his only ODI with a 126* partnership with KL Rahul), Shahbaz Nadeem (Rewarded for domestic performances but only played 2 Tests)
List of Indian Cricketers Who Only Played in 1-5 International Matches
What is our definition of the ‘unlucky cricketer’?
- Only given 1-3 opportunities without much chances after
- Dropped inexplicably even after a few good performances
Here is a list of several other unlucky Indian cricketers who deserve a mention – Only played between 1-5 matches. In some cases, did not even get to bat or ball. How can someone showcase talent in these limited opportunities? I am glad the current Rohit Sharma-Rahul Dravid lead management are giving each player a run and ‘allowing players to fail’ (i.e. players will get enough of a run. If they do not perform, then only will they be dropped).
In any case, most of the retired players are now prominent coaches or commentators.
- Gurkeerat Singh, Rishi Dhawan, Karn Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary, Naman Ojha, Pankaj Singh, Tinu Yohannan, Bharat Arun, Manpreet Gony, Abhishek Nayar, Sudeep Tyagi, Abhimanyu Mithun, VRV Singh, Abhijeet Kale, Vivek Razdan, Lalchand Rajput, Ajay Ratra, Shiv Sundar Das, Deep Dasgupta, Dodda Ganesh, Pankaj Dharmani, Paras Mhambrey, Utpal Chatterjee, Prashant Vaidya, Bhupinder Singh Sr., Sardindu Mukherjee, Gursharan Singh, Margashayam Venkataramana, Shivlal Yadav, Suru Nayak, Bharat Reddy, Sanjay Raul, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Gyanendra Pandey, Gagan Khoda, Rashid Patel, Rajinder Ghai, Thirumalai Ananthanpillai Sekar, Randhir Singh, T.E. Srinivasan, Iqbal Siddique, Hemang Badani, Rahul Sanghvi, Sairaj Bahutule, Sarandeep Singh, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Vijay Bharadwaj, Nikhil Chopra, Devang Gandhi, Robin Singh, Robin Singh Jr., Debashis Mohanty, Nilesh Kulkarni, Harvinder Singh, David Johnson, Vijay Yadav, Subroto Banerjee
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