There is a famous maxim which cites that the number of trophies doesn’t attest to the legacy of your brilliance. Similarly, cricket has its fair share of players who despite being immortal legends of the game through their scintillating showdowns on the pitch have failed to register a single World Cup in their name.
We will look at eleven such cricketers, who when teamed can form an outfit so invincible that can even challenge the collective might of the immortals of the sport.
Saurav Ganguly (c) and Shahid Afridi:
We are well aware of the fact that how Saurav Ganguly has shaped up team India into a unit which was famished to win. However, as a batsman, he also belted out equally impressive knocks that crafted several victories for the Indian side. Known as the God of the offside and also one of the most successful openers of One day cricket, he will be leading this side of superstars. The closest that he came to notching up a world cup was in 2003 when his led Team India came a cropper to an invincible Australia in the finals.
Known for his dynamic hard-hitting which once chronicled the record of the fastest century in One day cricket unless it was broken by Corey Anderson and then the current record holder, De Villiers, Shahid Afridi was one of the most belligerent batsmen of Pakistan. He is also known for his lightning-fast skitters which have provided crucial breakthroughs during imperative stages of the game. The closest that Afridi came to winning a World Cup was in 1999 when Pakistan was humiliated by Australia in the finals.
- Kumara Sangakkara (wk)
One of the finest and the gentlest cricketers that the world has ever seen, Kumara Sangakkara was an extremely emphatic moniker in the echelons of Sri Lanka. Known for his leadership flair and also some phenomenal technical batting, his performances have always egged his team to pursue the most impossible feats under staggering circumstances.
His closest tryst with the World Cup was a couple of finals where Sri Lanka was once grounded by Australia in 2007 and then by Indian in 2011. Sangakkara played crucial knocks of 54 and 48 respectively in both the matches.
- Brian Lara
A rare breed of genius whom even the best of bowlers were afraid of sledging, Brian Charles Lara left a legacy so enviable, that despite cricket undergoing a paradigm shift from the way it used to be played before, the current crop of youngsters still idolizes the West Indian southpaw.
However, his dalliance with the biggest trophies of all time always unfurled like a bad marriage as the closest that he came to the most coveted trophy was in 1996 when West Indies was beaten by a meagre 6 runs in the semi-final, thanks to a sweeping performance from Shane Warne. Though Lara staged a robust retaliation with a steady 45, his team really could not support his knock and ended up falling short.
- Ian Botham
One of the best all-rounders to have ever graced the game for England, Ian Botham failed to kiss the skies in the biggest of all tournaments. Despite showing some resolute character and an exotic brand of cricket over the years, his closest tryst with the World Cup was in 1979, when England was mercilessly tamed by a soaring West Indies.
- Andrew Flintoff:
One of the most aggressive cricketers to have played the game who gave up cricket to take up boxing, Flintoff was also one of the most sublime all-rounders to have played for England.
However, his World Cup luck was mired in controversies and poor batting form. Despite showcasing extraordinary bowling skills in the 2007 World Cup, his failure to perform with the bat resulted in him drawing major flak and England never really savoured a good World Cup either.
- Lance Klusener
The 1999 World Cup semi-final was known for the high-voltage drama that got the infamous tag of chokers intaglioed on South Africa. However, the man who fought right until the end was Lance Klusener. Despite showing top-notch resilience, Klusener failed to help South Africa cross the line as Allan Donald hesitated to run and Australia already had the bails dislodged at the other end.
- Shaun Pollock
Another tragic hero whose best love story with the World Cup arrived in the same game as South Africa failed to make it any better in the biggest of all stages. In the tied match that saw Pollock stealing away 20 crucial runs towards the end but it couldn’t help South Africa much in their pursuit of the planetary glory.
- Saqlain Mushtaq
Probably the best offie that Pakistan has ever showcased to the world was Saqlain Mushtaq. Despite being an emphatic name in the ranks of Pakistan, his relationship with the World Cup wasn’t that great. His best shot at the World Cup was in 1999 when Pakistan was tamed by Steve Waugh’s Australia in the final.
- Allan Donald:
Known as the White Lightning, Allan Donald could change the complexion of the game single-handedly on his given heyday. However, he himself was culpable for the lost chance of playing in World Cup final. Extremely reluctant to run when he saw Klusener running at his end, he left the scores tied that saw Australia walking away with the bragging rights.
- Shane Bond
Despite being New Zealand’s best in the bowling department for all the matches that he played, Shane Bond’s career failed to take flight due to countless injuries plaguing his career. Bond did try his best to lift the Blackcaps to unprecedented heights but the collaborative failure showed by the Kiwi batsmen, led to the hopes of the fast bowler being dashed out way too immaturely.