4 Great players who played fewer than 25 Tests
We will look at a few players who have had a big impact at the international level for their respective sides, but have managed to play very few tests for various reasons of their own.
Many careers were shortlived because of a series of injuries and few had to miss out because of the great competition that exists at the international level.
#1 Shane Bond
The tall, fast, fearsome NewZealander is definitely one of the great players in this list. Bond’s career was short-lived because of various injuries. He had a back problem in 2003 that led to nearly two years out and an operation in which his spine was fused with titanium wire.
He even had issues with his knees, feet and other body parts. But the Kiwi left a significant mark in his short career. In his 18 test matches, he picked up 87 wickets at a fantastic average of 22.09 and strike rate of 38.88. He had a beautiful athletic action and would swing in the ball lately and his 150-plus kph toe-crushing yorkers were unplayable, to say the least.
He was one of the first bowlers to break the 150 kph barrier. Even his ODI career was short-lived as he managed to play only 82 games for the blackcaps. He had a fantastic World Cup campaign, taking 17 wickets at an impressive average of 17.94.
On one occasion, Bond took the great Ricky Ponting’s wicket in each of the six consecutive games. Bond always upped his game against Australia, and it was a sign of his great skill that he took 44 ODI wickets at 15.79 against them. Bond is described by many fans as "New Zealand's best fast bowler since Sir Richard Hadlee.”
Currently, Bond is working with the IPL franchise Mumbai Indians as its bowling coach.
#2 Brad Hodge
An average of 55.89 and a high score of 203, Brad Hodge managed to wear the baggy green only on six occasions. Most commonly known for his T20 exploits, Hodge could never really breakthrough the legendary batting line up of the Aussies in the first decade of this millennium.
One could say he has been unlucky and if for any other country, would have retired as a legend by now. Hodge's path to a national call up was similar to his counterpart Michael Hussey.
Both had to wait for lightyears before getting the national call-up. But Hodge didn’t last long in the international arena. Having scored over a whopping 33,000 runs in domestic cricket across all formats in about 25 years, it's unfortunate that Brad Hodge couldn't carve a niche for himself in international cricket.
#3 Simon Jones
Simon Jones, the skiddy fast bowler from Glamorgan (England), has a storyline similar to that of Shane Bond. He is most commonly known for his 2005 ashes exploits where he managed to pick 18 wickets at an average of 21 in the historic series. He hasn’t been able to add to his career since that series.
Long Before Ashes, he had even battled a career-threatening ankle injury, but his undying attitude made sure he extended his career. He was a master of reverse swing and in-swing and his wicket of Micheal Clarke at the Old Trafford is still fresh in the minds of many. In the 18 test matches that he has represented ECB, he has bagged 59 wickets at an average of 28.
#4 Andy Bichel
Much like Brad Hodge, Andy Bichel played in the wrong era as his peak days coincided with the country's golden age of domination with extreme competition for spots. Bichel was a partnership breaker in the middle overs and more than a decent batsman to have lower down the order.
Bichel managed to play only 19 Tests for Australia that included 58 scalps. While he couldn’t hold on to his place in the whites, he was a valuable member of the One-day setup. He played a crucial role in Australia’s 2003 World Cup campaign, a tournament which even included a 7 for 20 against England. It was a superb display of fast bowling before sharing a 73 run partnership with Bevan to carry Australia home.
Other notable mentions
- Vinod Kambli (India) - 17 tests, 1084 runs, 54.2 average , Highest score of 227; First class: 9965 runs
- Rob Key (England) - 15 tests, 775 runs, First Class - 19,419 runs
- Stuart Law (Australia) - 1 test; First class - 27,080 runs; List A- 11,812
- Mike Procter (South-Africa) - 7 tests; First Class- 21,936 runs, 1417 wickets; List A- 6624 runs
- George Bailey (Australia) - 5 tests; First Class- 9894 runs; List A: 8242 runs
- Wasim Jaffer (India) - 31 tests, Highest score of 212; First class - 19,147 runs