A look at players from the West Indies, England and Australia, who would have been more effective today than they were in their era
After discussing Pakistani players who were born in the wrong era for two weeks, we decided to go international and talk about the players who were at the wrong place at the wrong time or would have been more effective today than they were in their era. In this list, we have bowlers, batsmen and one all-rounder. They are from West Indies, England and Australia.
Viv Richards (West Indies)
Before there were pinch hitters, before run-a-ball was in fashion, before cricket leagues became a rage, there was Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, who is even today treated as the King of Cricket. Viv Richards dominated all bowlers who made their debuts in the 1970s and the 1980s, guiding their deliveries to the boundary as if they were club level bowlers trying to get into the international arena. Be it his innings of 189 not out against England or his 181 against Sri Lanka, or his three double centuries in Tests, Viv Richards was ahead of his times due to his courageous knocks. He didn’t wear a helmet because he wanted the bowlers to attack him and then used his bat sensibly to convert their rage into runs. Had he been active in cricket today, people would have thronged to watch him and him alone no matter what kind of cricket he was playing. He was the ideal T20 player born in the initial years of the Pajama Cricket, but still idolised by all for his fearless batting and bravado!
Ian Botham (England)
He could bat like the best batsmen of his era, he was once the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket and he rarely dropped catches when they came his way. Ian Botham was one of the finest all-rounders the world of cricket has seen. Had England won the World Cup in 1992 where they banked on his performance as well as other all-rounders, he might have carried on playing cricket. But after losing the final to his biggest rival Imran Khan’s team that was followed by a Test series defeat at home against Pakistan, Ian Botham had to go. Had he been playing the game today, he would have been cheered by fans and rated as the Most Valuable Player by his colleagues, for he could do no wrong, when on a song.
Brian Lara (West Indies)
If elegance had a human form, then Brian Lara would have been its name. The classy left-handed batsman ruled the game during the 1990s and 2000s with his record-breaking feats, his never-say-die attitude and his ability to turn defeats into victories. He quit the game when it was evolving. He never played T20 Internationals for the West Indies, and if that’s not the format’s loss, I don’t know what is. As a batsman who feared no one, as a trendsetter who believed in improving the standard and as a batsman who knew how to motivate his partner, Brian Lara would have taken to T20 cricket like a duck takes to water. Sadly, he wasn’t around when the game changed and became global, or Brian Lara would have been its face for the remainder of his career.
Had Michael Kasprowicz been in any other country, he would have been leading their bowling attack for more than a decade. It was his as well as Australia’s misfortune that he was born in the time of Glenn McGrath, Damien Fleming, Paul Reiffel, Brett Lee and Stuart Clark. Whenever he got the chance, he got the job done but that was not as common as it should have been. He has 113 Test wickets, dismissed 67 batsmen in ODIs and even played a couple of T20Is for Australia, but ‘Mike’ should have played more than he did. He was tall, well-built and above all had control over his bowling, things that would have made him feature in any Fantasy XI, except for the one he was aiming for, Australia!
Stuart Macgill (Australia)
Life is hardly fair when it comes to cricket but for Stuart MacGill, it was both cruel and unfair. He started playing cricket in the era of Shane Warne and his career ended prematurely because of injury issues. Had he been born in some other era or in some other country he might have rivaled Shane Warne for the ‘Best Spinner In The World’ position. He had different ideas when it came to leg break googly bowling, ideas that Warne didn’t master and that’s why they even played a few matches together, bowling in tandem. Had MacGill been active today, he would have made T20 Leagues all the more interesting and who knows, might have had a fan following of his own.