When a general of great talent and courage was recommended to him, Napoleon (or so the story goes), would always ask,“Yes, but is he lucky ?”
It is a question that could also be asked of cricketers. The history of Indian cricket is littered with players whose careers have been defined by extraordinarily bad luck, so thattheir opportunities and overall record have been blighted by disappointment and underperformance. Unlucky players are those whose manifest ability has simply not been matched by recognition and reward. Every country has them - think of New Zealand’s Rodney Redmond , who hit a century on Test debut and was never picked again - but the Indian experience, as befits a nation conscious of the influences of the planets and other forces beyond an individual’s control, accommodates all known varieties of ill luck.
Spare a thought, too, for Mohammad Kaif . Selected for India against the fearsome paceof South Africa before he was quite ready, thrust unfairly into opening the batting in his second Test series, moved up and down the order and in and out of the side almost at whim, Kaif was never given a chance tosettle down into his natural roleas a dependable middle-order batsman, despite an impressive 148 not out against the West Indies in 2006 in whatturned out to be his last series. He was India’s most reliable performer in the ill-fated 2004-05 tour by Australia whereIndia relinquished the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and yet found himself dropped from the Test side. After winning two ODIs forIndia off his own bat and savingcountless runs in the field with his quick reflexes, there has been no place for him in India’s one-day plans either. A few years ago I was confidently thought of him as India’s next captain; today he would be lucky even to be India’s next 12th man. Life is unfair.
Details Collected : CricInfo ( Articles from Shashi Tharoor )
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