Unlucky Connor Williams gains immortality in Centurion

A prolific batter in domestic cricket, Connor Williams realised his lifelong dream of representing India when he was picked to play in the controversial Centurion Test match against South Africa in 2001.

Connor Williams realised his lifelong dream of representing India when he was picked to play in the controversial Centurion Test match against South Africa in 2001.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Connor Williams can be deemed as the most unlucky cricketer to have played a Test match without being able to claim that he has a Test cap. 

A prolific batter in domestic cricket, Connor Williams realised his lifelong dream of representing India when he was picked to play in the controversial Centurion Test match against South Africa in 2001.

As an opener, Williams made a gritty 42 off 83 in the second innings and figured in a 92-run opening wicket stand with Shiv Sunder Das against the  South African pace attack.

However, India’s refusal to accept ICC designated match referee Mike Denness meant the Test match was stripped of its official status. Williams in official records is still an uncapped player but also gained immortality with the Centurion Test.

Looking back at his international career, the 48-year-old, who took up coaching at the end of his first-class career, turns stoical. "I have moved on. I was lucky to earn the call up to the national team. There were many others who were more talented than me but weren’t lucky to be part of the national set-up. I was picked for the difficult tour to South Africa on the basis of my consistent performances in domestic cricket.

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"I never had an inkling that I would play in a Test match during that tour. But I was thrilled to make my debut in the Centurion Test. The status of the Test or the controversies preceding it didn’t bother me. I think I made about 40 odd runs against a very good South African attack and I thought I handled the pressure very well,’’ the former Baroda opener said.

"I was part of the squad against the touring English side. But I didn’t get any chance to play against them. I was dropped from the squad after the Zimbabwe series. I felt a bit disappointed as I wasn’t given another chance especially after doing well in South Africa,’’ he said.

On being still an uncapped player: "To me, I played in a normal Test match but what happened to its status are certain things which are beyond my control. At least some people will still remember me and the Centurion Test. After my first-class career, coaching was a natural choice. It kept me busy and in touch with the game. ’’ said Williams who is now working as the coach of the Andhra Ranji team.

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