Every Major Cricket Nation's Most Overrated Player
Every major cricket nation has one, a player so overrated that it is hard to believe how he ever made it into the starting line-up in the first place; the exact opposite of the team’s star man.
So here we reveal the identity of just who those over-hyped players are in the current setups of the eight major cricket nations in the world across any of the game’s three formats…
Australia: Phillip Hughes
There was an enormous amount of hype that accompanied the New South Welshman after he had first broken into the Aussie Test line-up in South Africa in 2009, and with good reason too after the opener made hundreds in both innings of the second Test in Durban in that series.
However, five years and 23 Tests later and the 25-year-old has managed just one more century, while Hughes’ average has also plummeted from over 50 down to 32 in that time.
Not only that, but the left-hander is also so vulnerable outside his off stump, especially for an opening batsman, that one wonders just how on Earth he was ever able to make back-to-back tons against fast bowlers of the quality of Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis.
Whack Stat! Phillip Hughes has the highest defensive shot percentage of any Test cricketer in 2013. (minimum 500 balls faced) #Ashes— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) August 1, 2013
England: Ravi Bopara
It is one of life’s great mysteries just how the Essex all-rounder has managed to accumulate 144 international appearances for his country in all three forms of the game during the course of the last seven years.
And, given that the 28-year-old’s main strength actually lies with his batting, then current career averages of 31 (Test), 32 (ODI) and 24 (T20), during which time he has also managed to register only four tons, show you all you need to know about how overrated Bopara is as a cricketer.
Is there a more damning reflection on English cricket than Ravi Bopara accepting his 100th ODI cap?— The Big Show (@ravi_layer) February 28, 2014
India: Suresh Raina
One of the great flat-track bullies in international cricket during the past four years, although still a player who is somehow held in high regard back in his homeland, no doubt due in no small part to the swashbuckling way he plays international Twenty20 (T20) cricket.
However, with just five hundreds to his name, including only three centuries in a mammoth 189 one-day internationals (ODIs) for his country, Raina’s star quality has been greatly over-exaggerated; a fact borne out whenever the left-hander enters the Test-match arena, where he averages a paltry 28 for his country.
He's played 188 ODIs without nailing down a position. Is Suresh Raina India's best option for No. 5? http://t.co/ABAicqYhf6— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) January 24, 2014
New Zealand: Luke Ronchi
The wicketkeeper-batsman is one of those rare species to have played international cricket for two major Test-playing nations, Australia and New Zealand.
However, it was the big-hitting opener’s second incarnation with the Black Cats in 2013 that really made the headlines, due to the player’s huge reputation at that time as one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket in the shorter form of the game.
But all that hype has so far proved to be well wide of the mark, with the 32-year-old having been made to look out of his depth for the Kiwis in both ODI and T20 cricket.
NZ coach Mike Hesson has come out in support of Luke Ronchi, who has had a torrid start with the bat for his new international team. #CT13— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) June 19, 2013
Pakistan: Umar Akmal
The youngster clearly has the talent, as was demonstrated when he made a stunning ton on his Test debut in New Zealand in 2009; however, five years later and the one-time golden boy of Pakistani cricket appears further away than ever from fully realising his prodigious talents.
For every eye-catching knock that the middle-order batsman produces, such as his impressive 89-ball 102 not out against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup last week, come a series of underwhelming displays with the bat that once again remind the watching public of just what an overrated player the 23-year-old really is.
Unbelievable. After playing international cricket for over two years #UmarAkmal makes a novice mistake. When will idiots like him learn?— Faisal Sherjan (@fsherjan) December 11, 2013
South Africa: Robin Peterson
What benefits exactly does the 32-year-old provide the world’s No 1-ranked Test team and how has the left-arm spinner managed to find his way into the Proteas line-up in the first place?
Well, those two perplexing questions have no doubt been occupying the minds of South African cricket fans for the past decade and more, especially when you consider that the left-hander averages just 27 with the bat and 37 with the ball, figures which are the wrong way round for a Test-match all-rounder.
Robin Peterson is a really nice guy. And an Arsenal fan. His bowling, however...well...look at the people in the pool.— Antoinette Muller (@mspr1nt) February 12, 2014
Sri Lanka: Ajantha Mendis
After recording sensational bowling figures of six for 13 to destroy India’s fabled batting line-up in the 2008 Asia Cup final, the off-spinner has not surprisingly failed to ever recapture the heights of that display.
Sri Lanka still select the 28-year-old in all three forms of the game, especially following the retirement of his legendary fellow tweaker Muttiah Muralitharan three years ago, although the mystery spinner is now not so mysterious, just overhyped.
By axing him from international duty for a while then bringing him back, have Sri Lanka re-mysteried Ajantha Mendis' spin?— Mark Patterson (@MarkPattersonBR) September 18, 2012
West Indies: Dwayne Smith
Those in charge of cricket in the Caribbean have long since ceased to call upon the big-hitting opener in the Test arena, however, the 30-year-old still remains very much part of both their ODI and T20 plans.
Dwayne smith's stats show the sorry state of West Indies cricket at the moment: 89 ODI's, average of 17 and best of 68.— Matt Sanderson (@mattgccc) February 28, 2014
But that is perhaps more a reflection of the sad state West Indian cricket currently finds itself in than any great endorsement of the all-rounder’s abilities, with the Bajan still continuing to flatter to deceive for his country more often than not, especially with bat in hand where he averages just 17 in both shorter forms of the game.