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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Top Ten Cricketers who did not Play Test Cricket

Cricket has seen many great players in its long history. Players like Sir Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Sir Garfield Sobers have taken the game at a new level. However, there are some other players who could have been touted among the all time greats, had they been able to play test cricket. In this article, I am going to write about top ten players who did not play test cricket. Before going through the list, I would like to say something.

Since my childhood, I have been an avid fan of cricket and following the game since then. Besides the career records of the players, I have also used my own experience of the game while choosing the players. It is also noteworthy that I did not only consider the ODI records of the players, but also take their first class records into account.

To be honest, it was not easy for me to decide top ten non-test playing cricketers as there were many players who deserved a place in the list by their own rights. However, as the list is limited to 10 players, I could not make it longer. Still, I included 11 players in this list as I could not resist my temptation of including former Kenya captain Maurice Odumbe in the list.

I hope you will enjoy the list of the players and I would appreciate your opinions about the list in the comment section.

Alan Jones

With 36049 runs at an average of 32.89 in 645 first-class matches for Glamorgan, Alan Jones is arguably the best non-test playing cricketer of all time. He is the leading scorer among the first-class cricketers who did not play test cricket and his 56 first-class centuries is only second to John Langridge’s record 76 centuries for a non-test playing cricketer. During his career spanning 26 county seasons, Jones scored 1000 runs in a season on 23 occasions (from 1961 to 1983), a record surpassed by only 10 other batsmen in first class cricket.

Image source: cricketarchive

A left-handed opener with excellent consistency, Alan Jones represented England in a test match against a Rest of the World XI side in 1970 after South Africa’s tour of England was called off. He scored 5 and 0 in the match, losing his wickets to Mike Procter on both occasions. After that he was never called to represent England. However, the tragedy is that in 1972 ICC took away the test status of the five-match series between England and Rest of the World XI, and thus, making Alan Jones one of the most successful non-test playing cricketers. He was Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1978.

John Langridge

Another great cricketer from outside test arena, John Langridge had a successful first-class career with Sussex. He has 34378 runs at 37.44 with 76 centuries in 574 first-class matches. I already mentioned that his 76 first-class centuries is a record for a non-test playing cricketer. His unconventional stance made him very strong in the leg side and he is placed 40th among the all time highest scorers and second to Alan Jones among the players who did not play test cricket ever. An opening batsman, John was called up for England’s tour of India in 1939-40, but the tour was cancelled due to the start of World War II.

Image source: cricinfo

John Langridge spent his entire 28-seasons-long county career at Sussex and he is now the leading run scorer for Sussex and no other Sussex play has more first class centuries than John Langridge. An excellent slip fielder, John holds record 776 catches in county cricket. He was the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1950. He was later on awarded an honorary MBE for his contribution to the game. Upon his death in 1999, Wisden termed him as one of the best English cricketers of 20th century who did not play a test match.

Steve Tikolo

The Kenyan is perhaps the best on-test playing cricketer of the current generation. Steve Tikolo’s first class record may not match with Alan Jones and John Langridge, but given his ODI record and all round performance, I think, the Kenyan star deserves to be regarded as one of the all time greats from outside the test circuit. Former captain of Kenya, Tikolo, who led Kenya to the semi final of 2003 world cup, currently has 3304 runs at 29.76 with 3 centuries and 90 wickets at 33.44 in 126 ODI matches. He also has 3988 runs at an average of 52.47 in 49 first-class matches with 11 centuries and 70 wickets.

Image source: cricket365

Steve Tikolo, a middle order batsman and a medium pacer or off-break spinner, is a veteran of four ICC World Cups including 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2007. For over a decade, Steve Tikolo has been the symbol of Kenyan cricket and is widely regarded as the best ever cricketer Kenya has produced. There is no doubt, he could have had a very good test career, if Kenya had the test status.

Jamie Siddons

An excellent batsman with full of strokes, Jamie Siddons is currently the coach of Bangladesh cricket team. He is arguably the best Australian cricketer who did not play test cricket. Playing 160 first-class matches, Siddons amassed 11587 at an average of 44.91 with 35 hundreds of which he turned 3 into double centuries.

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Jamie Siddons had variety of shots in his batting arsenal and could dominate the opponent bowlers with sheer ease. However, he ended up winning one ODI match for Australia during his career, even though he was very close to win a test call up for Australia’s 1988 tour of Pakistan, but failed to make it to the Australian squad due to a stomach problem. His 10,643 runs in heffield Shield/Pura Cup at the time of his retirement in 1999-2000 was a record that time. An excellent cover fielder, Siddons still holds the record for highest catches in the history of domestic first-class tournaments in Australia with 189 catches.

Ryan ten Doeschate

Ryan ten Doeschate is undoubtedly one of the best players from ICC Associate member countries. Born and brought up in South Africa, he started playing for Western Province in South Africa before a touring Essex team discovering his talent and skill as an all rounder. As he held an EU citizenship thanks to his Dutch descent, Essex brought him to County cricket. Thanks to his big-hitting prowess and effective medium first bowling, Ryan ten Doeschate has already become a star among the Essex cricket fans.

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Playing 69 first-class matches, Ryan ten Doeschate has scored 4132 runs so far at an average of 48.61 with 15 centuries including a career best 259 not out. He also represented Netherlands in 24 one-day internationals, scoring 1026 runs at 64.12 with 2 hundreds. The all rounder also has 124 first-class wickets at 35.22 including 5 five-wicket hauls, and 44 ODI wickets at 20.86. At this moment, he is the all time highest scorer and leading wicket taker for Netherlands cricket team. Because of his consistent performance, Ryan was awarded the ICC Associate Player of the year award 2008.

Dougie Brown

One of the best cricketers Scotland has every produced, Dougie Brown, has made a huge impact on English county side Warwickshire during his first class career. With his right hand batting and right arm medium pace, Brown helped Warwickshire become one of the strongest sides of English County cricket after his debut for Warwickshire in 1992.

Image source: thepca.co.uk

Besides Scotland, Brown also represented England in 9 ODIs. Overall, he played 25 ODI matches and scored 319 runs besides taking 22 wickets. However, Brown’s true class is reflected in his first-class career. Playing 209 first-class matches, the all rounder scored 8511 runs at 30.61 with 10 hundreds and picked up 567 wickets at an average of 28.53 with 21 five-wicket hauls. He is currently appointed as the assistant coach of Warwickshire.

Anura Tennekoon

The right hand Sri Lankan batsmen may have played only 4 ODIs, but his first-class career record has made him one of the all time greats of Sri Lankan cricket. He was a regular player for Sri Lankan team before they achieved the test status. Playing 61 first-class matches, Tennekoon scored 3481 at the average of 36.26 with 5 centuries including a career best 169 not out. Even his batting average of 34.25 in ODI is excellent compared to contemporary Sri Lankan batsmen. He captained Sri Lankan national team in 1975 and 1979 world cup tournaments.

Image source: cricket.cricfeeds.com

David Hemp

Born in Bermuda, David Hemp started playing cricket in Britain. Thanks to his excellent performance in junior level cricket, Hemp was drafted into the senior team of Glamorgan County in 1991. He was part of England A team that toured India and Bangladesh in 1994-95 and at that time, he was considered to be a future of England national team.

Image source: ecb.co.uk

Hemp moved to Warwickshire in 1997 before returning to Glamorgan in 2002, but his performance was pretty much consistent in both teams. Even though Glamorgan was not a very strong side in English County Championship, David Hemp scored big innings with sheer consistent and in 2007 was appointed captain of Glamorgan. The left handed batsman has 15316 runs at 36.90 with 30 centuries to his name in 269 first-class matches. He has represented Bermuda in 22 matches so far, scoring 641 runs at 33.73 with a century to his credit and has been appointed Bermuda captain in August 2009.

Eoin Morgan

Though I included Eoin Morgan in the list, I think he could be ineligible for the selection of this list as he is likely to be called up to represent England in test cricket. In fact, the Irish has already represented England in ODI cricket. He is still 23 and has many years left in his career. Morgan now plays for Middlesex in England county competition. He has a very good first-class record with 2558 runs at 36.54 with 6 centuries in 48 matches. Playing 35 ODIs, he has amassed 1052 runs at 35.06 with a solitary century against Canada in 2007. So, there would be nothing to be surprised, if Morgan is called up to the England test squad in the near future.

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Niall O’Brien

Choosing Niall O’Brien was very hard because I had to rule out the players like William Porterfield, Trent Johnston, Roland Lefebvre, Kevin O'Brien. Still, I know that many of you would raise question about the selection of Niall O’Brien. However, the reason behind the inclusion of Ireland’s wicket-keeper batsman is his ability to play big innings against top-flight teams. For example, 4 out of his 7 ODI half-centuries came against test playing countries including a match-winning 72 against Pakistan in 2007 world cup.

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A hot-tempered cricketer, Niall O’Brien, is currently playing for Northamptonshire in County cricket. He has 3618 first-class runs at 35.12 with 9 centuries in 78 first-class matches, besides 250 dismissals behind the wicket. In 33 OdIs, he scored 815 runs at an average of 27.16 with 7 half-centuries as well as 30 dismissals.

Maurice Odumbe

Some of you may raise question about the justification of the inclusion of the Kenyan all rounder Maurice Odumbe, whose five-year ban from cricket imposed on him by ICC on match fixing ground finished recently. The reason behind his inclusion in the list (though at no. 11) is his ability to dominate the oppositions.

Image source: Daily Nation

A veteran of three world cup tournaments, Odumbe was instrumental behind the rise of Kenyan cricket at international level. He was man of the match in Kenya’s historic win over West Indies in 1999 world cup and his 211 runs at 42.20 and 9 wickets at 25.11 led Kenya to reach the semi final of 2003 ICC World Cup, best ever world cup finish by Kenya. In 61 ODIs, he has 1409 runs at 26.09 and 39 wickets.

Some Other Notable Non-Test Playing Cricketers

Well, as I mentioned earlier, there are some other players who could have made it to the list thanks to their impressive career. Here, I am mentioning some other non-test playing cricket players who could have been included in this list:

William Porterfield, Trent Johnston, Roland Lefebvre, Kevin O'Brien, Hemantha Wickramaratne, John Davison, Craig Wright, Bastiaan Zuiderent, Aasif Karim, Ryan Watson, Dirk Nannes, Sean William and Boyd Rankin.

N.B: All the Information given in the article has been updated on 20 October.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Brian Davison, Rhodesian left-hand number 3 or 4 batsman and amazing cover fielder, played for Leicestershire in the 70s - surely the greatest non-test-playing cricketer of all time!