Memoirs of a 12th man tells the story of a village cricketer who never got into the playing XI yet had fascinating moments to share from his career.
Yajurvindra Singh (1979), Sunil Valson (1983) and Amay Khurasiya (1999) have had a similar experience – of travelling to the World Cup and not getting a game. It was disappointing but they have all moved on.
“It was really terrible missing out on a World Cup match,” said Yajurvindra, who played four Test matches. “We had lost the first two matches and there was nothing at stake (against Sri Lanka). I approached the captain (S. Venkataraghavan) and requested him to give me a chance but he was unwilling to change the playing XI because he wanted the players to get into form for the subsequent Test series against England. To tell you honestly I was surprised to have been picked for the World Cup but was disappointed at not being able to play a single match. I had been in good nick in the run-up to the Cup.”
No blame game
Valson nearly played a match in 1983 when the team won the Cup. “It was the second league match against the West Indies and there were some doubts if Roger (Binny) would be available. Kaps (Kapil Dev) told me to be ready in case Binny failed the fitness test.
"In fact, Binny took three wickets in that match. I don't blame anyone since everyone wants to play in a World Cup. I was well acclimatised because I had been playing in England when the call up came to join the team. I also wanted to play a match but then the team was well set and one had to understand the fact that the best combination was taking the field. I did not brood at all and enjoyed every successful moment of the campaign.”
Amay Khurasiya, a left-hander with a wide range of strokes, has fond memories of the 1999 World Cup even though he never played a match. “I came close at Old Trafford. Azhar bhai (Mohammed Azharuddin) asked me to be ready for the match against Pakistan. I was excited to make World Cup debut against Pakistan. But I did not play. Of course, it hurts not to have played in the World Cup but I was happy to have made that journey. I can never forget the gesture by Sachin Tendulkar. I was the last man to bat at the `nets' and there was not a bowler in sight. He bowled to me. That is an abiding memory of that World Cup.”
Others in this list are Parthasarathy Sharma (1975), Bharat Reddy (1979), Sanjay Bangar, Partiv Patel and Ajit Agarkar (2003), Irfan Pathan (2007) and S. Sreesanth (2007), Stuart Binny, Axar Tatel and Ambati Rayudu (2015). If he does not get a match in the current World Cup, Dinesh Karthik would suffer a repeat of 2007.
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