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World Cup XI: The ones who never won

11 players who couldn't be part of a world cup winning side, but deserved to be.

To win the World Cup is a dream for every professional player. But cricket is a team game. It never matters how good you are until you have a great team to win a tournament like the World Cup.

There are several legends who just couldn’t win the World Cup in their cricket career. So why not make a dream XI of the cricketing greats who performed well individually but …..

  1. Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa)

The first opener of this XI. Although he is famous for that dropped catch off Steve Waugh in World Cup 1999, Gibbs played a major part through his batting. He scored 1067 runs in 3 World Cups with an average of 56.16. Gibbs’ 2 hundreds came against strong teams like Australia and New Zealand. He also became the first player to hit 6 sixes in an over in International cricket during the World Cup 2007, when he smashed Netherland’s Dan van Bunge out of the park. His fielding is an additional bonus, of course, if you can forget that particular catch.

Now: Coach in Afghanistan Premier League

2. Sourav Ganguly (India)

Indian captain who lead his team to World Cup final in 2003. Ganguly made 97 in his very first World Cup innings against South Africa in 1999. Ganguly’s 1006 runs in 3 World Cups were scored at an average of 55.89. And who can forget his 183 against Sri Lanka in Taunton (still the highest score by an Indian in World Cup). Ganguly has not only the skill of scoring runs but also has the capability of breaking partnerships. The best thing about him is the leadership skill for which he is the vice-captain of the team.

Now: President of Cricket Association of Bengal

3. Brian Lara (West Indies)

The Prince. It was unfortunate that when Brian Lara started his career, the champion team of the 80s, West Indies were on the decline. Richards just retired and Malcolm was playing his last World Cup. Despite 1992 was his first World Cup appearance, he was the highest scorer from his side and scored a fifty in every second match for the team. Lara’s 111 in World Cup 1996 Quarter Finals shattered the dreams of South Africa. That was the highest point of Lara’s World Cup career as West Indies never again reached the Semi-Final of a World Cup. Overall Lara scored 1225 runs with an average of 42.24. He can score quickly and on his days can beat any team single-handedly.

Now: A traveller and Golfer

4. Martin Crowe (New Zealand)

The Captain of the team. If you’re surprised to see his name in the XI then you must have missed the World Cup 1992. Crowe with his innovation and tactics made that particular World Cup exciting to watch. To take the advantage of field restriction in the first 15 overs, Crowe promoted Greatbatch as a pinch hitter and it was quite successful, Greatbatch smashed 313 runs in 7 innings with a strike rate of 87.92.

He opened the bowling with off-spinner Deepak Patel. This was something never happened before. Patel was the most economical bowler of the World Cup 1992. He gave just 3.1 runs per over and didn’t let the opposition to take advantage of field restriction.

His own batting was class apart and both Wasim and Waqar accepted that he was the best batsman against reverse swing. His total tally of 456 runs was the highest of World Cup 1992.

Now: Died of cancer (Lymphoma) in March 2016

5. AB de Villiers (South Africa)

The name is enough. One of the most destructive batsmen of all time, AB de Villiers scored runs in World Cup at a strike rate of 117.30 that is when no other batsman in top 20 scored with 100 plus strike rate. His average (63.53) is also the best among the top 20 batsmen in the World Cup. So was he the most unlucky not to win a World Cup? South Africa as a team was unlucky to win despite reaching 4 semifinals.

Whether AB won a World Cup or not, he is an automatic choice in any limited over World XI. The additional benefit of him is his acrobat fielding.

Now: Playing professional T20 leagues

6. Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)

The primary wicket-keeper of the team. Sangakkara has most runs (without winning a title). He is the only batsman to score 4 consecutive ODI hundreds. This amazing feat he achieved in his last World Cup (2015).

Not only in batting, but he is also absolutely magnificent behind the stumps. Keeper with most dismissals (54) in World Cup history. Under his captaincy, Sri Lanka reached the Finals of World Cup 2011. Despite playing the two World Cup finals, Sangakkara returned home empty-handed.

Now: Commentator and Head of MCC

7. Lance Klusener (South Africa)

The all-rounder you need who can win matches on their own.

There are only 3 players in World Cup history to win 4 Man of the Match awards in a single edition – Aravinda de Silva (1996), Lance Klusener (1999) and Yuvraj Singh (2011).

A mix up with Allan Donald in the most famous semi-final (1999) against Australia cost him the place in the finals. He won the Man of the Series for his exceptional performance in 1999.

Klusener won matches with both bat and ball. In 2 World Cups, he smashed 372 runs with an astonishing average (124) and strike rate (121). With the ball, he did wonders too, 22 wickets in 100 overs, with an average (22.14) and economy of 4.83. With such kind of record, he can make entry into any World Cup XI.

Now: Head coach of Rajshahi Kings (Bangladesh Premier League)

8. Anil Kumble (India)

India’s leading wicket-taker in Test and ODIs and one of the best spinner of his time along with Warne and Murali. Kumble’s best chance was in the World Cup 1996 when he took 15 wickets in that edition (the most by any).

He was India’s primary spinner in 1996 and 1999, but once Ganguly became the captain, Kumble was more like a traveller in the Indian team. He just played 3 matches in 2003 and 2007 World Cups combined.

Kumble’s batting and never say die attitude are the additional benefits for the team.

Now: Wildlife Photographer

9. Javagal Srinath (India)

Like Sangakkara, Srinath has most wickets (44) without the World Cup title. He made a formidable pace attack with Zaheer and Nehra in World Cup 2003. The trio took 49 wickets in that edition.

His 16 wickets in 2003 were his best performance in single edition but in the same World Cup, his worst performance in the finals shattered the hopes of millions back home. He gave 87 runs in his 10 over in the finals against Australia.

Now: ICC Match Referee

10. Waqar Younis (Pakistan)

The most unlucky among all. Waqar was at his prime in 1992 and got selected for the World Cup squad but he had to return back home because of an injury.

Waqar played 3 World Cups, led the team in World Cup 2003. Overall he took 22 wickets with an extraordinary strike rate of 25.4, the second best by any who took 20 or more wickets in World Cup.

His toe-crushing yorkers can scare any batsman of past and present generations.

Now: Coach of Sylhet Sixer (Bangladesh Premier League)

11. Allan Donald (South Africa)

The white lightning holds the record for most wickets (38) in the World Cup for South Africa. He was part of the South African team which made their World Cup debut in 1992. Took 12 and 15 wickets in 1992 and 1996 World Cups respectively.

His performance in both the editions (1992 & 1996) helped his team to reach the semi-final but he himself to be blamed for that ill-fated result in semis of 1999 when he kept watching the ball instead of listening to his partner’s call. That run out resulted in a tie and Australia’s road to the final.

Despite that, Allan Donald considered as one of the best South African fast bowlers. His supremacy belies with his pace.

Now: Assistant Coach of Kent County

What will be your Dream XI?

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