Top 10 most underrated Test players in modern cricket
Cricket is called as gentlemen’s game. It is one of the most followed sports across the globe particularly the second most followed game. In many places, it is treated more than religion and culture. The players are treated like demigods and every victory is celebrated like a fest.
Since after the inception of cricket in the late 16th century, the game has produced numerous precociously talented cricketers across the cricketing nation.
But it’s a matter of regret that not all great cricketers got an equal appreciation for their contribution and talent. The excessive media attention hampers the extraordinarily performing players either in their own team or the other teams’ players of the contemporary period have often overshadowed the performances of a few equally talented teammates.
The modern cricket history has witnessed many such players. But despite possessing plenty of talent and performing consistently, haven’t got the credit they need to get.
Here are the Top 10 underrated Test players of current generation
1. Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
There is often a debate revolve around Steve Smith, Virat Kohli and Joe Root (in limited capacities, Ashes etc) but already low-profiled Kane Williamson doesn’t get the recognition he actually deserves for. He has scored 6,163 test runs to his credit at 52.20 average. He also captained Men in Black on 25 occasions and won 14 Test matches. He is averaging 74.50 of the 4 tests kiwis have played in 2019 season.
2. David Warner (Australia)
Though he is known for his shorter formats batting exploits but do not get cajoled by his current form in Ashes or contribution in the longer format. The pocket rocket has 21 career centuries to his name. He averages not so bad 45.47 per match. It’s a glorious day, he hijacks the complete Test session by his blizzard batting style and strokes. For couple of last 4–5 years that Steven Smith has taken the driver’s seat in Australian batting but before him since the Michael Clarke days Warner contributions are not spoken very well. In 2015 he scored 1,315 runs with 4 centuries, most as an Australian.
3. Ross Taylor (New Zealand)
The senior old horse of New Zealand who has witnessed Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori, Vrendon Mccullum and Kane WIlliamson as his team’s captain has been an obedient member all the time. He has Scored 6,839 runs in his Test career. He is second in the list of top run getters for New Zealand in Test cricket (first is Fleming) with an average of 46.52. The tongue poking celebration master is averaging 63 in 2019 season.
4. Vernon Philander (South Africa)
At first Dale Steyn ate all the limelight (surely for right reasons) now Kagiso Rabada is the center of all bowling attraction in the Proteas side. On the other hand, Philander has been an excellent all-rounder these years. Many times he has saved South African batting from a fall and acted well in face saving situations with the bat when needed. Also, 216 wickets in 60 Tests at 22.10 bowling average are not at all unmissable statistics. Although, less injury prone career could have made him played more Tests matches. He retired from cricket this year after a successful career.
5. BJ Watling (New Zealand)
Many of cricket fans didn’t notice that BJ Watling is already played 63 Test matches. It was February 2014, Watling scored 124 runs against India in New Zealand. His firm 352 run partnership with New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was at the time the highest sixth wicket stand in Test cricket. The record was surpassed on 5–6 January 2015 by Watling and Kane Williamson with an unbroken 365 run partnership before a declaration against Sri Lanka at Wellington’s Basin. Both players posted their highest Test scores, with Williamson not out on 242 and Watling not out on 142 runs. Such is the state of underrated elements in Test Cricket history. Watling has scored over 3000 runs with 7 hundreds till today. Though his timekeeping skills are also no mug to everyone.
6. Azhar Ali (Pakistan)
Sometimes he is regarded big thing for Pakistan, Azhar Ali could not totally emulate former figures like Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf or Inzamam-ul-Haq. But he is at the 6th spot for most Test runs for his country and probably the highest runs at present in the playing XI. 5,669 runs with an average of 43.27 with 15 tons are talk-able numbers only. After legendary Hanif Mohammad, Inzamam and Younis,only Azhar Ali (302) has scored triple century for Pakistan but he will be remained as truly underrated player.
7. Jason Holder (West Indies)
Currently Jason Holder is the no. 1 Test all-rounder in ICC rankings. He is at no.4 in ICC Test bowlers table. He is averaging 55.50 by bat and 20.20 by ball in 2019 season. In Jason Holder, West Indies has got their A-class Test all-rounder after a long wait. It’s too hard for him that his team’s failure shadows his glory every now. But he is an asset and West Indies Cricket Board (CWI) should take good care of him for a long period.
8. Ravindra Jadeja (India)
Ravindra Jadeja became only the 10th Indian bowler to pick up 200 wickets in Test format. He got the milestone in the second fastest time by an Indian bowler, behind his spin twin Ravichandran Ashwin only. The thing that makes Jadeja’s achievement unique is that he now boasts of the best bowling average (24.20) among all the Indians to have taken 200 or more Test wickets in his pocket. Jadeja is now 6th on the list of Indian spinners with the most wickets in the longest format of the game.
His Test batting average of late has increased exponentially in recent times. He was averaging 37, 41, 45.6 in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively. This year he is sitting handsome at 63.40 which is amazing.
Very few players rose to fame by attacking opening in shorter formats of the game. He is Tamim Iqbal who, today is the highest run scorer for Bangladesh. Tamim has scored 4,327 Test runs in 58 Test matches so far. In the process he also mounted 9 tons and 27 50s (again most from his team) also. He is among the only 3 players to score double hundred for Bangladesh test history.
10. Ishant Sharma (India)
He has been criticized for being average for first 7–8 years of his career but Ishant Sharma the bowler outside India has been a revelation in last 4–5 years period. While Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar are shining as the new Indian pace attack, Ishant’s contribution has been somewhere diminished into somewhere. Undoubtedly his numbers are still not so inspiring but if someone has observed his career closely he will not deny that Ishant has evolved and evolved well as a match-winner player. In addition to this, Ishant is a Gillespie kind of tail-end batsmen who might not score big runs but puts a price on his every picking.