Picking an India XI of Forgotten Test Players and One-Cap Wonders

Tim Collins@@TimDCollinsFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2014

Picking an India XI of Forgotten Test Players and One-Cap Wonders

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    India has always been a nation known for its extremes, a fact which has extended to the country's famous love: cricket. 

    Despite producing a glittering away of all-time greats—men such as Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Anil Kumble—India has seen a raft of players make both brief and underwhelming spells in the Test arena.

    From the flawed geniuses and hyped teenagers to the late bloomers and one-cap wonders, India's national team has regularly contained an abundance of dispensable parts who have surrounded the nation's superstar core. 

    Across the following slides, we examine 11 such players who have represented India since the turn of the century to put together the country's forgotten Test XI. 

1. Abhinav Mukund

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Matches: 5

    Span: 2011-2011

    Record: 211 runs at 21.10

    A relentless run-scorer in first class cricket, Abhinav Mukund got his break in 2011 when Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were injured for India's tour of the Caribbean. 

    After a shaky start, the left-hander put together consecutive scores of 48 and 62 to suggest he could competently lead India's top-order in their trip to England later that summer. 

    However, Mukund struggled mightily in the opening two Tests at Lord's and Trent Bridge, scoring 64 runs across four innings, losing his place in the national Test side for good. 

2. Wasim Jaffer

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    Matches: 31

    Span: 2000-2008

    Record: 1,944 runs at 34.10

    Another prolific batsman at first class level, Wasim Jaffer endured a difficult beginning to his Test career against the devastating South African pace duo of Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock. 

    A recall to the side in 2002 against the West Indies brought improved results, but it wasn't until 2006 when the right-hander cemented his place in the team.

    Scoring 181 runs across two innings against England in his first Test in four years, Jaffer appeared set for a long Test stint in his second coming.

    Yet, despite scoring four centuries—two of them double hundreds—across the next 18 months, the opener saw a dreadful run of form against Australia and South Africa in 2007-08 end his Test career. 

3. S Badrinath

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    Aijaz Rahi/Associated Press

    Matches: 2

    Span: 2010-2010

    Record: 63 runs at 21.00

    Like both Mukund and Jaffer, S Badrinath has been a brilliant run-scorer domestically in India, compiling 8,778 runs at 59.31 for Tamil Nadu.

    But like so many other talented batsmen from his nation, the right-hander saw his chances at Test level evaporate in the presence of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. 

    Of course, it was a raft of injuries to India's middle order that saw Badrinath get his opportunity, playing two Tests against South Africa in 2010.

    After making 56 in his debut innings, scores of six and one quickly saw the then 29-year-old discarded from the Test setup. 

4. Suresh Raina

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Matches: 17

    Span: 2010-2012

    Record: 768 runs at 28.44

    Among his nation's limited-overs stalwarts, Suresh Raina's vulnerability against the short ball saw his Test career end rather abruptly after making his debut in 2010. 

    Despite a sparkling 120 in his first innings against Sri Lanka, the left-hander endured difficulties each time he toured with India, resulting in his permanent axing in 2012.

    Most notable among Raina's struggles was his desperately poor tour of England in 2011, when he scored just 105 runs in eight innings at an average of 13.12.

5. Yuvraj Singh

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    Matches: 40

    Span: 2003-2012

    Record: 1,900 runs at 33.92

    Much like Raina, Yuvraj Singh's specialty has always been bludgeoning bowlers in the game's limited-overs formats.

    However, in the Test arena, the left-hander's questionable technique severely strangled his effectiveness during his nine-year career.

    Perhaps unrivalled in his ability to strike a ball cleanly, it was a weakness against quality swing and seam that was the undoing of Yuvraj on so many occasions.

    Thus, in 64 innings, the precocious talent was only able to register three centuries, the last of which occurred all the way back in 2007 against Pakistan—the only opponent he ever reached the milestone against.

6. Ajay Ratra

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    LYNNE SLADKY/Associated Press

    Matches: 6

    Span: 2002-2002

    Record: 163 runs at 18.11

    When he scored an unbeaten 115 as a 20-year-old in the West Indies in 2002, Ajay Ratra became the youngest wicket-keeper ever to score a Test century and only the second Indian keeper to reach the milestone on foreign soil. 

    But the performance proved to be a one-off occurrence.

    In his other six innings on the tour, Ratra didn't pass 19, following up with 10 runs in three innings against England later that year, eventually being replaced by Parthiv Patel.

7. Irfan Pathan

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    Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Matches: 29

    Span: 2003-2008

    Record: 100 wickets at 32.26; 1,105 runs at 31.57

    There was once a time when Irfan Pathan was considered to be the most exciting seam-bowling prospect to emerge from India since the iconic Kapil Dev. 

    Soon after, it appeared than Pathan was ready to become one of the world's finest all-rounders when his batting blossomed in 2005. 

    But after showing immense potential on debut in Australia in 2003-04, the left-armer was never able to reach the heights expected of him, only excelling with the ball against the game's minnows in Zimbabwe and Bangladesh—the opponents he captured six of his seven five-wicket hauls against. 

    From 2006 onward, Pathan's bowling severely dropped away, seeing him play his final Test against South Africa in 2008. 

8. Piyush Chawla

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Matches: 3

    Span: 2006-2012

    Record: 7 wickets at 38.57

    Piyush Chawla has made his three Test appearances in extremely spaced out intervals since making his debut against England in 2006. 

    After rising to prominence as a 17-year-old thanks to clean bowling Sachin Tendulkar in a Challenger Series match, the leg-spinner broke into the Test team while still a teenager. 

    Claiming only one wicket on debut, Chawla waited another two years for his next opportunity when South Africa visited in 2008.

    However, Amit Mishra was typically preferred as India's leg-spinner, limiting Chawla to just one other appearance against England in 2012. 

9. Vinay Kumar

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    Pal Pillai/Getty Images

    Matches: 1

    Span: 2012-2012

    Record: 1 wicket at 73.00

    Despite a string of impressive seasons in the Ranji Trophy, Vinay Kumar struggled to win the attention of the Indian selectors between 2007 and 2009. 

    But after spending time to work on his batting, the right-arm seamer eventually broke into the national setup in 2010 for the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.

    In and around the fringes of the Indian side, the 30-year-old eventually got his chance at Test level when injuries made spots available during India's tour of Australia.

    However, a forgettable showing of 1/73 in just 13 overs during his team's innings defeat at the WACA ground in Perth quickly ended his Test career. 

10. Praveen Kumar

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Matches: 6

    Span: 2011-2011

    Record: 27 wickets at 25.81

    Few Indian seamers in recent generations have been able to match Praveen Kumar's supreme control of swing and seam.

    Brought into India's Test team in 2011, the right-armer was an immediate success, grabbing 12 wickets in three appearances in the West Indies before performing brilliantly in England despite the humiliation suffered by his team.

    However, the seamer hasn't been able to regain his position since succumbing to injury before the fourth Test of that series in 2011, missing the tour of Australia in 2011-12 and failing to impress selectors in limited-overs matches since. 

11. Munaf Patel

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    Ben Radford/Getty Images

    Matches: 13

    Span: 2006-2011

    Record: 35 wickets at 38.54

    Once hyped as the fastest bowler in India and pushed forward by Sachin Tendulkar, Munaf Patel endured a curtailed Test career after making his debut in 2006.

    Initially defined by his raw pace and reverse swing, the right-armer alarmingly lost faith in his approach, losing considerable pace and attempting to remodel himself as a reliable third option. 

    It didn't work.

    After excelling in his opening appearances against England, Patel struggled with injury and form in 2006-07, eventually watching his Test career end after a one-match recall in 2011. 

    All statistics and match data courtesy of ESPN Cricinfo.