In Test cricket, numbers matter a lot. We often talk about players who score big hundreds or take 5-wicket hauls, but the importance of the work-rate of the players is also as much as their numbers. A bowler bowling for long periods and providing control to his captain or a batsman grinding his way through tough periods is also vital for a Test team.
Here are the most underrated players in Test cricket –
#1 Ishant Sharma (India)
Ishant Sharma is a real workhorse for the Indian Test team. When the ball is moving around, he is a very tricky customer to face, but even when the ball is not moving around, he bowls with discipline and creates enough pressure from one end to force the batsman to look for a release shot and throw away his wicket. Ishant is one of the top Test bowlers in the world at the moment, but he isn’t talked about a lot.
#2 Asad Shafiq (Pakistan):
Asad Shafiq is not flamboyant, but he is really gritty and when the conditions are tough and the bowlers are on top, he gets his head down and bats long for Pakistan. The fact that his batting is not always pleasing to the eyes is the reason why the fans don’t quite appreciate his efforts as much as they should. However, Shafiq remains a vital cog of Pakistan Test match batting line-up.
#3 Suranga Lakmal (Sri Lanka):
Suranga Lakmal comes to the party for Sri Lanka whenever the pitch has something for the fast bowlers. He can swing the ball with good control and can run through an opposition batting line-up with the new ball. However, since he doesn’t have a lot of pace, he remains a bit underrated in the Sri Lankan cricketing circuit.
#4 Tim Paine (Australia):
Many people believe Tim Paine shouldn’t be the captain of the Australian Test team because he doesn’t score enough runs with the bat. But, his primary job is wicket-keeping and he hardly makes any mistake behind the stumps. Also, he led the Australian side during a very tough period when David Warner and Steve Smith weren’t a part of the Aussie set-up. He deserves a lot more appreciation.
#5 Tom Latham (New Zealand):
Tom Latham has been as consistent as Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson in Test match cricket for New Zealand. He opens the batting in tricky New Zealand conditions against the moving ball and has still managed to maintain a very healthy average with the bat. Despite his consistency, Latham is still not regarded as one of the best players in the world.
#6 Dean Elgar (South Africa):
Dean Elgar is a very tough character. He is not blessed with a great technique and he often finds himself struggling in testing conditions, but he never gives his wicket away and grinds through the tough periods to score some vital runs for South Africa. However, his grit and determination often go under the radar.
#7 Roston Chase (West Indies):
Roston Chase had been brought into the West Indies Test team as a batsman who could bowl a bit, but he has been as good as a specialist bowler for West Indies, apart from doing his primary job with the bat as well. Chase has now become West Indies’ first choice spinner in Test match cricket, but his all-round contributions don’t get enough accolades.
#8 Mark Wood (England):
Mark Wood has not played a lot of Test match cricket for England because of injury issues, but whenever he has played, he has made a significant impact for the Poms. He was one of the heroes of England’s recent Test series win in South Africa, but he still remains in the shadow of England’s legendary fast bowling duo of Stuart Broad and James Anderson.