There is no doubt about the fact this is an era of white ball cricket. Test cricket still remains the purest and the toughest format of the game, but it’s the white ball cricket which draws more and more people to the stadium as it produces high speed entertainment in a very short space of time.
Here is the best XI of players who excelled in ODIs, but not in Test cricket –
#1 Openers (Shahid Afridi, Aaron Finch):
Generally, the players are picked in the Test team on the basis of their performance in first class cricket, but Afridi and Finch were picked in the Test teams of Pakistan and Australia respectively because of their exploits in white ball cricket.
There were huge question marks over their abilities as Test players because of their tendency of playing away from their body and not using their feet a lot and as it eventually turned out, neither of them could score runs consistently at the Test level.
#2 Middle order (Alex Hales, Yuvraj Singh, Michael Bevan, Suresh Raina):
Alex Hales earned his Test opportunities by scoring heavily in the first class games, but he couldn’t achieve the consistency that was required at the Test level. He played a couple of good knocks, but was never really consistent in Test cricket.
Yuvraj and Raina were such classy players that both of them were tipped for success in Test match cricket as well and they got their opportunities in the longest format of the game at the right time.
Raina, in fact, had a great start too as he scored a hundred on his Test debut, but neither he nor Yuvraj could cement his place in India’s Test team at any stage.
As far as Michael Bevan is concerned, there was a stark difference between his average in ODI cricket and his average in Test cricket. While he averaged 53 in ODIs in close to 200 games, he averaged just 29 in Test matches and lost his place in Australia’s Test team eventually.
#3 All-rounders (Chris Harris, Ajit Agarkar):
Chris Harris scored more than 4000 runs and took more than 200 wickets in ODI cricket for New Zealand, but he couldn’t replicate that in Test cricket. The left-handed batsman averaged just 20.45 with the bat in the 23 Test matches that he played and could grab just 16 wickets with the ball.
Ajit Agarkar has a total of 288 wickets to his name in ODI cricket, but in Test cricket, he got just 58 wickets in 26 games. It’s surprising because Agarkar was capable of swinging the ball and could generate decent pace too, but he averaged more than 47 runs per wicket in Test matches.
#4 Bowlers (Brad Hogg, Lasith Malinga and Venkatesh Prasad):
Hogg, Malinga and Venkatesh, all three of them were more suited to limited-over cricket than Test cricket because their bowling was more about variations.
Hogg was not someone who could bowl at the same spot for a long period of time which was needed in Test cricket, but he could spin the ball both ways which helped him in ODI cricket.
Similarly, Venkatest was not someone who was an out and out swing bowler. He used to hit the pitch and his most potent weapons were his cutters. He got a lot of wickets with his cutters in ODIs.
Lasith Malinga could have had a long Test career because he could swing the ball but his action didn’t allow him to bowl long spells and he later opted to play just limited-over cricket for the longevity of his career.