Cricket’s popularity continues to increase, thanks in part to the media’s assistance. T20 cricket, the newest and shortest format, has proven to be revolutionary in the game’s development, despite the fact that only a few countries play Test cricket.
Despite the sport’s growing popularity, certain cricketers continue to be overlooked for a variety of reasons. Several Indian cricketers enjoyed remarkable success but were eclipsed by their teammates’ fame. Cricket is definitely a numbers game, yet many players have gone unnoticed while having decent or relatively better stats than others.
These are five Indian cricketers who are underrated.
Number 1. Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal, one of the most brilliant cricketers on this list, had a short run with India’s red-ball side but is no longer in the fold despite being at his prime. The prolific hitter is one of the few cricketers who can have an impact in both Test and white-ball cricket, but he is hampered by competition in the current Indian side.
Mayank, 32, made his Test debut against Australia in 2018, scoring 76 runs, the best total by an Indian cricketer in Australia on his debut. He has 1488 runs at an average of 41.33 from 36 Test innings, including four centuries and two double tonnes.
He last played a Test in March 2022, and despite constantly accumulating runs in domestic cricket, he has not been selected for the national squad. As compared to KL Rahul’s (2642 runs at 33.44) and Shubman Gill’s (736 runs at 32), Agarwal may have earned more opportunities.
Number 2. Wasim Jaffer
Wasim Jaffer continues to be the top run-scorer in Ranji Trophy history, with 12038 runs, about 3000 more than Amol Mazumdar. He also tops the century record with 40 centuries and is the first batsman to reach 1000-plus runs in two tournaments.
His figures are just incredible, elevating him to the top of India’s domestic cricket superstars. Despite his impressive record, Jaffer only earned 31 Test and two ODI appearances for India. One may claim that despite being given opportunities, the athlete failed to make an impression.
In Test cricket for India, he scored 1944 runs at an average of 34.10 and had five centuries. Nonetheless, those 31 Test appearances were spread out across a nine-year period. Just 31 matches in nine years to measure a player’s accomplishment is a little harsh, but this did not happen for the first time with a player.
Number 3. Sanju Samson
Samson, the list’s youngest player, made his international debut in 2015. Unfortunately, he has only played in 28 games thus far. Samson rose to prominence as a result of his regular performances for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, and the 28-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman was predicted to succeed MS Dhoni.
Yet, he was never given a consistent run on the squad. Incidentally, he has been ruled out of India’s forthcoming ODI series against Australia. With Rishabh Pant out for an extended duration, it seems Samson might have played both ODIs and T20Is. Nonetheless, Ishan Kishan was chosen as the first-choice wicketkeeper by the management.
When compared to Pant and Kishan, Samson’s stats are impressive enough to spark a dispute. Samson has yet to get much recognition or assistance from management, but he remains modest.
Number 4. Murali Vijay
Murali Vijay, another local powerhouse on the list, was able to get reasonable chances and put in his best efforts to justify with stats. Yet, the recently retired top-order hitter was never given the credit he deserved.
Vijay played in many memorable innings throughout his career, scoring 3982 runs in 61 Tests at an average of over 40. His greatest influence came in red-ball cricket, against the strong Australian squad. In 15 Tests against Australia, he scored 1324 runs at an average of 47.28, including back-to-back 150s.
All of his 12 Test hundreds came as an opener, and he is third in the list of openers with the most centuries for India, behind only Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag. Yet, few recognised his work, and even fewer praised him for his service when he announced his retirement in January 2023.
Number 5. Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar, a right-arm medium pacer, made his international debut in 1998 but only lasted nine years. Agarkar got more ODI wickets with a higher bowling average than his pace partner Zaheer Khan and remains India’s third-highest ODI wicket-taker, with 288 wickets from 188 innings at an average of 27.85.
Agarkar also has the highest bowling average and strike rate among the top five ODI wicket-takers. In addition, he is the only Indian bowler to have 10 four-wicket hauls in ODIs, a feat that only spin ace Anil Kumble has accomplished.
Agarkar holds the record for the quickest fifty in ODIs by an Indian cricketer, in addition to his achievements with the ball. In 2000, he hit a 21-ball half-century against Zimbabwe in Rajkot. Agarkar also got a Test century, this time against England at The Lord’s in 2002. Despite these accomplishments, he was never regarded as highly as his peers.