Batsmen who quit too soon

February 23, 2020

In his 12 Tests, Asim Kamal managed to score eight fifties which are a lot when compared to the likes of those who were preferred over him

Last week we had a discussion about bowlers whose career ended too soon despite their memorable performances in the international arena. It’s been not only bowlers, but batsmen, too, who have been forced to quit for one reason or another. Some did it because they couldn’t be consistent enough at the international level while others were forced to leave the stage for financial reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the stars who came, who batted but who left too soon, before achieving the greatness they were destined to.

Mohammad Wasim (Pakistan)

Playing Career: Less than four years

Before he became a popular cricket analyst and successful coach at the domestic level, Mohammad Wasim burst into the international arena as a batsman who could be the next big thing. The former under-19 star began his Test career with a duck but it was his century in the second innings that made him get noticed the world over. Pakistan lost the match but gave cricket Mohammad Wasim who was instrumental in Pakistan’s triumph against India when they came over in 1996 and also in the World Series Down Under where he astonished experts with his dashing strokes. Despite scoring 192 runs in a Test Match against Zimbabwe, Mohammad Wasim was dropped from the team because of his slow batting and inconsistency. Add to that the arrival of first Mohammad Yousuf (then Yousuf Youhana) and later Younis Khan and whatever chances of a comeback the youngster had were gone. He had been in and out of the team for four years before his career ended. He played 18 Tests and 25 ODIs, scoring 783 and 543 runs, respectively.

Marcus Trescothick (England)

Playing Career: six years

For six years, Marcus Trescothick was the first-choice opening batsman for England for his brutal batting, something the team missed before him. From 2000 to 2006, he scored as many as 26 centuries for the English side, 14 in Tests and 12 in ODIs. For someone who scored 5825 runs in Tests and 4335 in ODIs, his end was nothing but tragic as he quit Test Cricket before his 32nd birthday. The 6 feet 3 inches tall batsman suffered anxiety attacks, particularly during foreign tours. He did play his last few matches in his home country but with England traveling abroad consistently and finding Alastair Cook as his replacement, Trescothick was forced to retire in 2008, two years after playing his final Test for England.

Jonathan Trott (England)

Playing Career: six years

Just like his predecessor Marcus Trescothick, Jonathan Trott started his career on a high, and ended at a low. Between 2009 and 2015, he represented England in all formats, including T20 but scored the bulk of his runs in Tests and ODIs. He scored nearly 4000 runs in 52 Tests and 3000 in 68 ODIs, averaging nearly 45 in Tests and over 50 in ODIs and was considered the most consistent batsman in England since Graham Gooch, for it was always difficult to dismiss him at the international stage. However, things began to go down after he abruptly left the Ashes tour in 2012-13 with a stress-related illness. He did earn a recall a few years later but after failing to impress the selectors, the fans and his teammates, he decided to call it a day, apparently still struggling with anxiety problems.

Asim Kamal (Pakistan)

Playing Career: Less than two years

In his 12 Tests, Asim Kamal managed to score eight fifties which are a lot when compared to the likes of those who were preferred over him. The youngster did not just prove to be the ideal candidate for the lower-middle order position with the national side in 2003 and 2005 but also displayed elegance of a classy batsman. He was unlucky to have been dismissed twice in the 90s but still managed to score 717 runs at an average of 38 which is not a bad record in the middle order. If you look at his career 15 years after he was left out, you will see that he scored runs against India, West Indies, and Australia that too away from home but it seems that the criterion for his selection was not his performance. He was discarded in 2005 by the selectors and was never recalled, a fate that might befall his successor from Karachi, Fawad Alam.

Neil Johnson (Zimbabwe)

Playing Career: Less than two years

Neil Johnson didn’t have a lengthy career for Zimbabwe but an eventful one, because he was a gifted all-rounder who could win matches. During the 1999 World Cup, he ended up with three Man-of-the-Match awards and was the main reason why his side managed to qualify for the second round for the first time. During his less than two years association with Zimbabwe cricket, Neil Johnson proved that one man can make a difference. He played 13 Tests for his birth country, scoring 532 runs with a century and four fifties, including one match-winning knock against Pakistan, in Pakistan. In his 48 ODI career, he scored as many as four tons, managed 1679 runs with 11 fifties. In addition, his 50 international wickets (15 in Tests, 35 in ODIs) gave Zimbabwe the edge they were missing before him, and have missed ever since he went back to South Africa.


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Batsmen who quit too soon: Pakistan's Mohammad Wasim, Asim Kamal, England's Marcus Trescothick, Jonathan Trott