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42 South African Born Cricketers Who Play for Other Countries: Can You Guess Them All?

South African born cricketers have had a good time recently. Marnus Labuschagne just scored a Test century at the Gabba, Neil Wagner picked up key wickets with a broken toe, and the Glenn Phillips-Devon Conway have been on fire for New Zealand.

Brydon Carse just debuted against Pakistan in England’s new-look second string team (originally born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa but has English ancestry).

That got me thinking – can we make a current World XI out of South African players that play internationally for other countries? And how many such players are there?

In total there have been 42 South African born cricketers who played for other countries, 21 of whom have already retired and 21 are still playing. 19 South African born players played for England (4 current, 15 former), 7 for New Zealand (5 current, 2 former), 6 for Netherlands (5 current, 1 former), 3 Australia (2 current, 1 former), and 7 from other nations (Zimbabwe, Scotland, Namibia, Ireland, and USA)

Table of Contents

  1. Today’s Twist
  2. The Catch
  3. Current South African Emigrant World XI
    1. 1. Keaton Jennings (England)
    2. 2. Jason Roy (England)
    3. 3. Colin Munro (New Zealand)
    4. 4. Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)
    5. 5. Devon Conway (New Zealand)
    6. 6. Glenn Phillips (New Zealand)
    7. 7. Curtis Campher (Ireland)
    8. 8. BJ Watling* (New Zealand) – WK
    9. 9. Tom Curran (England)
    10. 10. Michael Neser (Australia)
    11. 11. Neil Wagner (New Zealand)
    12. 12. Ryan Ten Doeschate (Netherlands)
  4. All Time South African Emigrant World XI
  5. A Bit of Philosophy, Of Course
  6. Variations: Make YOUR OWN World XI
  7. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

*Note: Underlined & Bolded links are videos. Underlined without bold are links to other articles.

Also Read: For other South African cricket articles, check out the following:

Today’s Twist

Build Two World XIs: (1) A current World XI and (2) World XI composed of former players who were born in South Africa but played internationally for another country.

*Note: This does not include Kolpak players or Johan Botha (who moved to Australia permanently and became an Australia citizen, but never represented them internationally. Now plays domestic cricket and BBL)

*Note, Dawid Malan was born in England and grew up in South Africa, so he is not included in the lists below.

The Catch

The XI needs to have five bowlers & a wicketkeeper. While there are several players in the current circuit who can bat, can you find at least four others who can accompany Neil Wagner?

Current South African Emigrant World XI – South African Born Cricketers Who Play for Other Countries

1. Keaton Jennings (England)

  • Born: Johannesburg, Teams: Gauteng (SA), Durham (Eng), South Africa U-19, England Lions, England
  • Why Did They Move: English citizenship through mother, Age When Left SA: 20
  • Where Are They Now: 17 Tests as English opener so far (last in Feb 2019)
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2. Jason Roy (England)

  • Born: Durban, Teams: Surrey (Eng), England Lions, England
  • Why Did They Move: Moved with family to England, Age When Left SA: 10
  • Where Are They Now: World Cup Winner as an England opener. 5 Tests, 96 ODIs.
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3. Colin Munro (New Zealand)

  • Born: Durban, Teams: Auckland (NZ), New Zealand A, New Zealand U-19s
  • Why Did They Move: Moved to NZ at an early age
  • Where Are They Now: Has played over 100 matches for the Kiwis. Currently out of favor and employs his trade in T20 leagues around the world.
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4. Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)

  • Born: Klerksdorp, North West Province, Teams: Queensland (Aus), Australia
  • Why Did They Move: Father got job in mining industry, Age When Left SA: 10
  • Where Are They Now: Scoring centuries, chirping at forward short leg, screaming ‘No Run’, and taking the world by storm. #4 in ICC Test Rankings currently. Oh and by the way, this is how you currently pronounce his name (funny video).
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5. Devon Conway (New Zealand)

  • Born: Johannesburg, Teams: Gauteng (SA), Lions (SA), Wellington (NZ), New Zealand
  • Why Did They Move: Was not making an impact in first class cricket in South Africa. Wanted to start afresh so he sold his property & car in South Africa with encouragement from friends who took similar path, Michael Nofal & Michael Rippon, Age When Left SA: 26
  • Where Are They Now: Wonderful story this. Three years after leaving South Africa, Conway debuts for New Zealand after dominating first class cricket. 14 T20Is later, 4-50s, best of 99*, 75.00 average in ODIs (1-100), and a magnificent Test double century on debut at Lord’s.
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6. Glenn Phillips (New Zealand)

  • Born: East London, Eastern Cape, Teams: Auckland (NZ), New Zealand
  • Age When Left SA: 5
  • Where Are They Now: Partner in crime with Conway. Just scored a 108 against the West Indies in a T20I. Here to stay in their T20I squad. Coincidently, replacement for Colin Munro.
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7. Curtis Campher (Ireland)

  • Born: Johannesburg, Teams: Gauteng (SA) U-13s,U-15s, U-17s, South Africa U-19s, Ireland A, Ireland
  • Why Did They Move: Qualified to play for Ireland through grandmother – Mentioned to Niall O’ Brien that he held an Irish passport and was fast-tracked.
  • Where Are They Now: Meteoric rise for Curtis. Eye catching 59* on debut, starred in the famous chase against England (2019) and now has a full-time contract.
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8. BJ Watling* (New Zealand) – WK

*has since retired after the victorious World Test Championship campaign.

  • Born: Durban, Teams: Northern District (NZ), New Zealand U-19s, New Zealand
  • Why Did They Move: Family moved to New Zealand, Age When Left SA: 10
  • Where Are They Now: One of the cogs of New Zealand’s test line up in their rise to No.1. Ever dependable, under-rated, and starred in several back-to-the-wall gritty knocks.
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9. Tom Curran (England)

  • Born: Cape Town, Teams: KwaZulu-Natal Under-19s (SA), Surrey (Eng), England Lions, England
  • Why Did They Move: Family/Schooling. Born in SA, moved to Zimbabwe (father’s origin), played in SA for some time, before moving to England
  • Where Are They Now: In-and-out of the competitive England limited overs squad. Quite effective at the death in T20Is. His brother Sam Curran, born in England, is also pretty good.
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10. Michael Neser (Australia)

  • Born: Pretoria, Teams: Adelaide (Aus), Australia
  • Why Did They Move: Family moved to Australia, Age When Left SA: 10
  • Where Are They Now: In the reserves for the Australia seam attack. Currently in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy squad against India.
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11. Neil Wagner (New Zealand)

  • Born: Pretoria, Teams: Northerns (SA), Otago (NZ), New Zealand A, New Zealand
  • Why Did They Move: Was not getting enough opportunities due to the ‘quota system.Age When Left SA: 22
  • Where Are They Now: Part of the greatest NZ pace generation with Boult-Southee-Jamieson. Now a cult-hero of sorts. Bowls his heart on placid pitches, short ball stock (but can also swing it), Steve Smith-outer specialist, and even bowled recently with a broken toe. What a guy.
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12. Ryan Ten Doeschate (Netherlands)

*has since retired after the disastrous T20 World Cup.

  • Born: Port Elizabeth, Teams: Western Province (South Africa), Essex (England), Netherlands
  • Why Did They Move: Graham Gooch spotted him with a touring Essex team to South Africa; EU citizenship due to Netherlands descent
  • Where Are They Now: At an ODI average of 67.00 after 33 ODIs, his talent is unquestionable. He has travelled in T20 leagues around the world and is sought after as an allrounder. At 41 and having last played in 2019, his international career is coming towards an end. He has made the 2021 T20 World Cup squad nevertheless.

*Captain

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Squad:

  • 13. Roelof Van der Merwe (born – Johannesburg) – played for both South Africa and Netherlands
  • 14. Stephan Myburgh (born – Pretoria) – plays for Netherlands
  • 15. Colin Ackermann (born – George) – plays for Netherlands
  • 16. Michael Rippon (born – Cape Town) – plays for Netherlands
  • 17. Brandon Glover (born – Johannesburg) – plays for Netherlands
  • 18. David Wiese (born – Roodepoort) – played for both South Africa and now Namibia
  • 19. Ruben Trumpelmann (born – Durban) – plays for Namibia
  • 20. Brad Wheal (born – Durban), 21. Chris Greaves (born – Sandton, Johannesburg) – play for Scotland
  • 22. Brydon Carse (born – Port Elizabeth) – plays for England
  • 23. Rusty Theron (born – Potchefstroom) – plays for the United States of America (USA)
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Come to think of it, this is actually a decent T20 XI that could potentially play in a league somewhere around the world. Roy-Munro-Phillips are dangerous T20 players, while Labuschagne-Conway can steady the ship. Tom Curran and Neser lead the bowling line up along with Neil Wagner and all-rounder Campher. If dibbly dobbly Munro and leggie Marnus can chip in with a few overs as the 5th/6th bowler, this is a well-balanced team.

Before we move on to the All-Time South African XI, feel free to check out other World XIs with Twists – Unlucky Cricketers XI, Underrated cricketers XI, Best Fielders XI, etc.

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All Time South African Emigrant World XI

Here is a similar line up made up of retired international players. Several English players of the great 2011-2013 Test team as well as several who left South Africa during the apartheid suspension. The details are left as an exercise for the reader.

  1. Andrew Strauss* (England)
  2. Kepler Wessels (Australia 1982-92/South Africa 1992-94): First South African Test captain upon return from apartheid
  3. Craig Kieswetter (England)
  4. Jonathan Trott (England)
  5. Kevin Pietersen (England): Dream first series against South Africa (2004) – 5 innings, 454 runs, 3 centuries, Player of the Series. Started the series with boos and ended with standing ovations.
  6. Andy Flower (Zimbabwe)
  7. Grant Elliot (New Zealand): Famously Knocked South Africa out of the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Superman.
  8. Matt Prior (England) – WK
  9. Basil D’Oliveira (England): England-South Africa Test series Trophy is named after him.
  10. Tony Greig (England)
  11. Jade Dernbach (England)

*Captain

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Squad: 12. Allan Lamb (England), 13. Stuart Meaker (England), 14. Ian Greig (England), 15. Michael Lumb (England), 16. Nick Compton (England), 17. Chris Smith (England), 18. Robin Smith (England), 19. Kruger van Wyk (New Zealand)

Jade Dernbach is the only out-and-out fast bowler, with Tony Greig, Basil D’Oliveira, & Grant Elliot as key all rounders. Part-timers Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott will be needed to complete the overs. Maybe fast bowler Stuart Meaker can replace a batsman for a more balanced line-up.

“Go try something new. Embrace change. Embrace others. Embrace diversity.”

If you like this, check out all the other articles in World XIs – With Twists section.

A Bit of Philosophy, Of Course

England famously won the 2019 World Cup with key contributions from opener Jason Roy, captain Eoin Morgan (Ireland), lead fast bowler Jofra Archer (Barbados), and player of the final Ben Stokes (New Zealand). Similarly, the 2018 FIFA World Cup was won by France, a team whose 23 member squad consisted of 15 members of African descent with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba.

In either case, diversity won. Globalism and international travel have come to a halt in times of COVID & lockdowns. In these times, the stories of someone like a Devon Conway lightens the mood. Left everything, took a risk, worked hard, and fulfilled his dream.

Embrace change. Sometimes you have to leave from your birthplace in order to prosper, whether that is for education, work, or family. Go try something new.

Embrace others. Learning from others & learning about new cultures can only be a good thing.

Embrace Diversity.

If you like these philosophy bits, go check these two featured articles below.

Also Read: Top 10 Life Lessons from IPL 2020, Cricket’s Reflections of Passion

If you like this content, feel free to subscribe above for FREE and follow us on our social media accounts. We discuss regularly about cricket on our Twitter platform, but also have Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest Accounts.

If you like this material, check our other featured articles here!

Also Read: Best Fielders XI feat Jonty Rhodes, Faf and ABD: The Friendship, Agony, and World Cup Hopes

Variations: Make YOUR OWN World XI

Fun exercise, wasn’t it? If you want to have more fun, you can create more variants.

Australia in 2017 fielded Usman Khawaja (Pakistan), Matt Renshaw (England), Steve O’Keefe (Malaysia), and Hilton Cartwright (Zimbabwe). Speaking of Zimbabwe, did you know New Zealand’s Colin de Grandhomme is born in Zimbabwe?

Here are some fun ideas to create World XIs with Twists:

  1. You can also make an unusual XI of cricketers born in non-Test playing countries.
    • For example, Moises Henriques (Aus) for born in Portugal, George Headley (WI) in Panama, Geraint Jones (Eng) from Papua New Guinea, (Pak) Shan Masood from Kuwait, (Pak) Imad Wasim from Wales, and many more!
  2. With the completion of Brexit, the Kolpak deal is all but over. Kyle Abbott is back with the Titans. Can you make a South Africa Exodus XI? Here are some ideas
    • Kyle Abbott, Duanne Olivier, Wayne Parnell, Marchant de Lange, Rilee Rossouw, Simon Harmer, Colin Ingram, Dane Piedt (USA)
  3. Imran Tahir is a Pakistan-born immigrant to play for South Africa. Can you make an All-Time South African immigrant XI? Or a Pakistan Emigrant XI?
    • Usman Khawaja, Imran Tahir, Owais Shah

Once you have an XI, comment below, and we will post it here! Any opinions about South African cricket?

Copyright – @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How many South African born cricketers played for other countries?

In total there have been 40 South African born cricketers who played for other countries, 21 of whom have already retired and 19 are still playing. 19 South African born players played for England (4 current, 15 former), 7 for New Zealand (5 current, 2 former), 3 Australia (2 current, 1 former), and 11 from other nations (Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Namibia, Ireland, and USA)Photo of Kevin Pietersen - one of the South African born cricketers who played for other countries

Which South African born cricketers have represented New Zealand?

South African born cricketers who have represented New Zealand include Grant Elliot, Neil Wagner, Devon Conway, & Glenn Phillips.

Which South African born cricketers have represented England?

South African born cricketers who have represented England include Jason Roy, Tom Curran, Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Basil D’Oliveira, Tony Greig, Michael Lumb, Craig Kieswitter, and several more!

Which South African born cricketers have represented Australia?

South African born cricketers who have represented Australia include Marnus Labuschagne, Kepler Wessels, & Michael Neser.

22 Unlucky Cricketers Wasted Talents: Alex Hales, Fawad Alam, Robin Uthappa, Can You Guess The Rest?

Does Luck Trump Talent?

We will continue our theme of Broken Dreams this week with a list of unfortunate or unlucky cricketers.

We present our list of Unlucky World XI below and let us know who you think have been the unluckiest of them all.

Some of these careers were ruined by inconsistency or career-ending-injury, others by controversy and politics, and while the rest suffered plain old bad-luck—the fact that they could not break it into the golden generations.

Today’s Twist – Unlucky Cricketers XI

Create a World XI with the following constraints:

  • Played within the last 25 years
  • Should have debuted (various first class legends like Alan Jones (Eng) and Amol Muzumdar (Ind) did not even make their international team)
  • The team can field an actual playing XI in a match (so we are looking for balance, with wicket-keepers necessary and at least 5 bowling options).
  • Each country can have a maximum of only 2 players per category.

The Catch

Australia’s squad of the 2000s had so many greats that several careers did not see the light of day. For example, Adam Gilchrist played 96 tests without missing one.  Does anyone even remember who the back-up keeper during Australia’s early 2000 era was?

Similarly, with India’s recent growth, one could name players like Vinod Kambli, Subramanian Badrinath, Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, and even someone like Ambati Rayudu more recently.  If you can only choose two from each country, who would it be? 

Comment below on who you think are some of the unluckiest cricketers?

ODI – Faded XI

 

  1. Alex Hales: (Behavior issues)

Catalyst of England’s ODI batting culture change, individually scored 171 within 36 overs (highest English score at that time), dropped before the 2019 World Cup because of failed drug test, ‘loss of trust’ with team, and strained relationship with captain Eoin Morgan.

2. Lendl Simmons: (Inconsistency)

If you saw the recent CPL 2020, Simmons was in some top-notch form including the final.  Watching his innings’ like the one against India in the 2016 WT20 semi-final and you wonder sometimes, what could have been had he been more consistent. 15 year career, just 8 tests and 68 ODIs is a poor reflection of his abilities.

3. Mohammad Ashraful: (Match-Fixing)

A bright star for Bangladesh. Youngest Test centurion at 17, century that upset the Aussies in 2005, but a career that was marred by inconsistency and will be forever remembered by spot-fixing in the BPL.  Could have been among the Fab Five generation for Bangladesh.

4. Brad Hodge: (Sorry, Out of Luck)

17,000 first class runs, 80 centuries in first class/list-A, 6 Tests, 203* best, 55.88 average, and one of the first T20 league superstars. Obstacles: Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds.

5. James Taylor: (Heart Condition)

Debut at 22.  Retirement at 26 due to heart condition. Was an upcoming England Talent – 1-100, 7 50s, 42.23 average. Now an English selector.

6. Robin Uthappa: (Inconsistency)

If you saw Uthappa’s 86 against England, or in the World T20 2007, or walking and hitting sixes to Mitchell Johnson, you would have thought he would have a long career. Yet another victim to inconsistency, came back in 2014-15 after a great domestic season but not given enough chances. Still a KKR and RCB star in the IPL.

7. Hansie Cronje: (Match-Fixing)

Great captain from South Africa and decent all-rounder, match-fixing killed his career in the 2000 Ind-SA series when he was at the peak of his powers.  Passed away in 2002 due to a plane crash. RIP.

8. Neil Johnson: (Politics)

If you saw Neil Johnson in the 1999 World Cup, you knew he was bound for greatness. 3 Man-of-Match trophies in that world cup, dispute with Zimbabwe Cricket resulted in premature retirement as he moved back to South Africa.

9. Brad Hogg: (Sorry, Out of Luck)

Just like Hodge, another victim of Australia’s great era. In an international career lasting 12 years, only played 7 tests and 123 ODIs. Inspirational comeback later with T20 cricket and leagues such as IPL and the Big Bash, he played his last professional match almost till he was 47.

10. S. Sreesanth: (Match-Fixing)

Although known for off-field issues, he was a marvelous fast bowler for India.  His delivery that made that great Jacques Kallis jump is one to remember. However, he was banned after the 2013 IPL spot-fixing controversy with Rajasthan. Made a comeback with…reality TV show, Bigg Boss.

11. Shane Bond: (Injuries)

You often hear Shoaib Akhtar vs Brett Lee, but another name that should have been added was Shane Bond. Fast and accurate, 147 wickets at 20.88 in ODIs and 87 wickets at 22.09 in Tests.  Played only 82 ODIs and 18 Tests, but never comprised his speed despite the injuries.

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Test – Washed Out XI

  1. Marcus Trescothick: (Mental Illness)

    First open victim of mental illness in cricket. More than 10,000 runs and 26 centuries across formats, he played his last game at the age of 30, only 6 years in international cricket. Was a stalwart at Somerset till 43 with overall record of 38000 runs and 94 centuries. Paved way for Alastair Cook, otherwise would have been the all-time best England opener himself.

  2. Mark Ramprakash: (Inconsistency)

Similar story, different reason. Over 52 test matches and 11 years, could not cement his place in the England team. Retired with 35,659 first class runs along with 114 centuries. Wow.

3. Mohammad Kaif: (Inconsistency and Politics)

Forever remember for his fielding and 88* Natwest chase that gave India a belief of winning and chasing overseas, his career never took off. First U-19 winning captain to play for India, he made his highest test score 148* in the West Indies in his second to last test, which came at the age of 26. Dropped as a result of chopping and changing under Greg Chappell right before the 2007 World Cup.

4. Adam Voges: (Sorry, Out of Luck)

Same scenario as Hodge and Hogg, but with a better ending. Finally debuted at the age of 35, and ended with 5 hundreds and a record-breaking average of 61.87.  

5. Fawad Alam: (Politics)

Well well well, we are finally here. Made a memorable 168 on debut, yet only featured in 3 tests. Mohammad Amir is a career some would regret about, but by the time Amir had his great spell in 2010, the spot-fixing scandal, the 5-year ban, the comeback, the Champions Trophy 2017 performance, and test retirement at the age of 27, Fawad Alam had added exactly 0 Tests from 2009.

After toiling in first class cricket with 34 centuries and average of 56.35 and after numerous selection committees, he finally got a recall after 10 years, only to be given out by DRS due to 2 umpire-calls. Add to that English rain, which limited his chances in the next two tests.  How unlucky can one get?

6. Prasanna Jayawardene: (Sorry, Out of Luck)

Thilan Samaraweera stated recently in his Sri Lanka XI that “Prasanna was the best wicketkeeper Sri Lanka ever produced,” and he did play 58 Test matches. So why is he here?  Well, his career was always a stop-gap measure due to Sangakkara. Even cricinfo reads that his career was ‘marginalised since the rocket-fuelled arrival’  of Sangakkara.

7. Simon Harmer: (Kolpak Deal)

Self-acclaimed ‘best off-spinner in the world,’ he regularly employees his service for Essex, forgoing his chance to play for South Africa again (at least until we know how Brexit impacts Kolpak).  Has taken 636 wickets at 27.17 with 37 5-fors and 7 10-fors. Not too bad.

8. Mohammad Amir: (Match-Fixing)

See Fawad Alam (5). 

*Note: (Honorable Mention) Could also have added Mohammad Asif for the same reason here. One of the best swing bowlers of all-time. 

9. Stuart McGill: (Sorry, out of luck)

Same reason as the rest of the Aussies here with the additional fact that he also played under the shadow of the great Shane Warne. Still managed to play 44 Tests and took 208 wickets at a strike rate of 54.0. Cricinfo said it best, “Stuart MacGill had the best strike-rate and worst luck of any modern spin bowler.”

10. Duanne Olivier: (Kolpak)

Another casualty of the Kolpak. What makes this worse is his brilliant start to international cricket.  Played just 10 tests, 48 wickets, 3 5-fors and a player of the series award with 24 wickets. Then he left South Africa. Also had replaced Kyle Abbott, who had also signed Kolpak deal. Rub salt in the wound there.

11. Simon Jones: (Injury)

We have all heard this one. The 2005 Ashes Series was made memorable by some bowling spells by Simon Jones. At the end of the series, suffered an ankle injury, never to make an international comeback.

Honorable Mention:  Lasith Malinga (great limited overs bowler but had to cut his Test career short).

Honorary Tribute:  Phillip Hughes 

3 centuries in Tests and an-up-and-coming opener for Australia, a bouncer in a domestic game took Hughes’ life.  Shock to the cricketing world, brought about a revolution on concussion and brain-injuries.

RIP Phil Hughes.

Well, these were our list of unlucky cricket teams. What is yours?

COMMENT below on who you think we missed out! Do not forget to SUBSCRIBE, SHARE, AND FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

Source: ESPNCricinfo

Image Courtesy:  Brad Hodge: NAPARAZZI / CC BY-SA 2.0 ; Brad Hogg: Deon Maritz from Cape Town, South Africa / VIA CC 2.0;  Sreesanth:  Harrias / CC BY-SA 3.0 ; Fawad Alam: Harrias / CC BY-SA 3.0; Robin Uthappa (On chai with Lakshmi):  Dharini2991 / CC0; Simon Jones: Goleyjai96 / CC BY-SA 3.0