Being called great doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve won everything out there waiting for you. Sometimes, it becomes too much even for legends to reach out for everything humanly possible. Whatever sport it might be, we are bound to come across many examples of great sportspersons who won everything – apart from the most-wanted glory in the respective sport – The World Cup. One doesn’t have to look too far ahead for an example. Sachin Tendulkar, the Little Master, had to wait for six editions to get his hands on the silverware in 2011. This article lists out some of the cricket greats who undeservingly failed to hold the prestigious cup in their hands.
You might be wondering if the 1992 World Cup, where Pakistan was successful in going all the way. But, as a reminder, Waqar Younis didn’t participate in the World Cup due to an injury. His strike partner, the lethal Wasim Akram had all the fun!
There’s no doubting Younis’ capabilities – a master with the old ball, he was one of the pioneers of the Reverse Swing technique. And, he holds the record for the most number of five-wicket hauls in ODI history.
Having played three World Cups between 1999 to 2007, the Ganguly-captained Indian side played the semi-final of the 2003 World Cup. While he hit three centuries in the 2003 tournament alone, his real brilliance can be seen in the current Indian side – the most dominant team of this generation.
A master on the off side, Ganguly amassed 1006 runs across 22 matches at an average of 55.88 in the WC itself, which puts behind all doubts regarding his status as a player. Too sad that he wasn’t a part of the side which won the next WC he didn’t play – the 2011 edition.
I don’t think there’s any need of mentioning his records – they are known to even the most casual of cricket fans. He played 299 ODIs for West Indies – an unnaturally high number, and was one of the very few players to have crossed the 150-run mark thrice.
His style remained dashing, just like him, and that he arrived at the end of the long period of dominance by the West Indies is just a shame for him.
Probably the greatest all-rounder in the history of the sport, I don’t think Jacques Kallis requires a mention for what he has done for his country. Across any format of the game – there’s very little which Kallis hasn’t done. He is one of the two players – beside Sanath Jayasuriya – who has scored both 10,000 runs and taken 250+ wickets in the history of the game.
In the end, it’s just disappointing how the Golden Generation of the South African Cricketing history failed to deliver on the grandest stage, and so many legends never got the chance to lift the dream of every cricketer – The World Cup.
Abraham Benjamin de Villiers
He could do things with the bat no other batsmen could even dream of. Look at his record-breaking 31-ball century against West Indies, or his 53.50 average in the one-day format. Even if this isn’t sufficient enough, look at the 100-plus strike rate he flawlessly amasses.
Nicknamed as Mr. 360, the genius could hit you anywhere possible with his golf, hockey and tennis brilliance – but this just wasn’t enough for him to get over the line in the three WCs he was a part of.
Another great all-rounder for the English team, Ian Botham played two WC finals with England and his talent was showcased on the biggest stage. Though he was a consistent threat throughout his career as a batsman, the 1992 format of the WC brought out his bowling capabilities to the fullest.
He picked up 16 wickets in 10 games and was an important element in his side on their way to the final. Probably born in the wrong era, Botham would have surely given bowlers a run for their money, had he played in today’s world.
One of the best batsman that India ever had, Rahul Dravid was widely known for his excellent cricketing technique. Having played three World Cups just like his captain Sourav Ganguly, he amassed a 318-run partnership with him – a World Cup record.
He was the leading run-getter in his debut WC, and also scored back to back hundreds in the 1999 version. Known as ‘The Wall’, it is only inconsolable to believe that he failed to lift the trophy despite his best efforts.
Although this list would not end despite my best efforts, I would like to say that the above-mentioned players aren’t the only ones who deserved to win the WC but couldn’t. Of course, there are other greats who are worth mentioning, namely Kumar Sangakkara, Ian Botham, Shahid Afridi among others, and I would like to apologize for any missing name.
The 2019 edition of the World Cup hosted by England & Wales is in progress, and you can check out more information at the official site ICC CWC ’19. Check out the list of fixtures at Fixtures – CWC ’19.