In this special feature, we look at Indian cricketers from the 90s, who failed to make it big at the international stage.
Indian cricketing history is filled with tales of superstars, who have wowed fans the world over. From Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli, tales of their success are stuff of legend. It is this hunger for fame and, of course, love for the game that drives millions to give it a shot at making it to the Indian cricket team. Only a few of them though succeed, and very few become a Tendulkar or Kohli or a Dravid.
Perhaps, not for lack for effort, but many who may have had the same zest to taste success as the abovementioned superstars have failed to see their dreams get realised, despite making it to the Indian team, some due to lack of inherent talent, and others who were plain unlucky.
Here’s Team India’s Lost XI
Sujith Somasunder: The prolific Karnataka batsman made his debut against South Africa at Hyderabad in the 1996 Titan Cup. He had a horror debut getting run out for 9, facing 31 deliveries. He got another chance against Australia but struggled again, managing only 7 from 32 balls. He was cleaned up by Glenn McGrath and it marked the end of his international career.
Devang Gandhi: After getting a duck in his debut Test innings against New Zealand at Mohali in 1999, Gandhi followed it up with 75, 88 and 31 not out in his next three knocks. He headed to Australia as one of India’s first choice openers. However, he was outdone by McGrath in both the innings of the Adelaide Test. The Indian selectors did not give him another chance, and he never played for India again.
Jatin Paranjpe: The son of noted Mumbai player Vasu Paranjpe, Jatin made his debut against Kenya at Gwalior in 1998. He made an easy 27, followed by an unbeaten 23 against Pakistan in Toronto. However, with only four runs in his next two hits against the arch-rivals, Jatin’s career came to an abrupt end.
Harvinder Singh: For a brief while in the 90s Harvinder promised with his pace and enthusiasm. In fact, he picked up 3 for 44 against Pakistan at Toronto in 1997 on debut. Those wore to remain his best figures though across 16 ODIs, the last of which came against Kenya in 2001. He played in the Tests against Australia at home in 1998, but missed his opportunity to make an impact. Recalled for the Kandy Test in 2001, he could not revive his career, picking only a couple of late order wickets.
Pankaj Dharmani: The Punjab batsman got only one chance to represent India at the international level, against South Africa at Jaipur in the 1996 Titan Cup. He was bowled for 8 as India failed to chase down 250, and was never seen in India colours again.
Gagan Khoda: His is a bizarre case, as the Rajasthan batsman has an ODI average of 57.50. He got a chance to play for India when some of the seniors when rested for the 1998 tri-series against Bangladesh and Kenya. In his second match against the latter, he scored 89 and was the man of the match. The irony – it was his last international appearance.
Robin Singh (Jr): Yes, this Robin Singh also represented India. The Delhi pacer was selected for the tour of New Zealand in 1999. He made his debut at Hamilton and claimed the wickets of Chris Cairns and Craig McMillan. But, he was too expensive and axed after the Test.
Noel David: He was a controversial selection for the Indian team for the West Indies tour of 1997 as a replacement for the injured Javagal Srinath. However, he claimed 3 for 21 on ODI debut, and made a mark with his superb fielding, something unheard of in Indian teams of those days. But, with just one wickets in his next three games, he was dumped.
Dodda Ganesh: The medium pacer from Karnataka had a forgettable Test debut against South Africa at Cape Town in 1997, managing just one wicket for 131 runs. He played three more Tests but could not come up with anything impactful, ending his career with an average of 57.40. Ganesh played in a solitary ODI against Zimbabwe.
Utpal Chatterjee: A slow left-arm spinner from Bengal, Chatterjee played three ODIs and claimed an impressive 2 for 35 in his second match against Pakistan at Sharjah in April 1995, even as India went down. In his next game against New Zealand at Jamshedpur, he was torn apart by Martin Crowe and co, and ended his international career with figures of 0 for 54.
T Kumaran: The fast bowler from Tamil Nadu, with an unpronounceable first name, Kumaran impressed early on his career, claiming 3 for 24 in his very second game against New Zealand at Delhi in 1999. But, his career ended in the worst possible fashion when he conceded 0 for 86 against Pakistan in the 2000 Asia Cup. He was chosen for the Australia tour in 2000, but did not play in any Tests.
Subroto Banerjee: The medium fast bowler from Bengal, Banerjee claimed Geoff Marsh, Mark Waugh and Mark Taylor on Test debut against Australia at Sydney in 1992. He did not bowl in the second innings, and surprisingly never played another Test. He managed a best of 3 for 30 on debut against West Indies at Perth in 1991, in that famous tied match. But, with only two more scalps in his next five games, his international career ended rather swiftly.