5 cricketers who were dropped after a big Test knock

sounak.mullick

"Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties," goes the popular proverb, and it couldn't be more true. There have been twists and turns and unpredictable results all through the history of the game, and they aren't likely to stop any time soon.

But in certain cases, the uncertain element might not feature on the field. There could be things happening behind the scenes that produce an unlikely result, and it takes months, sometimes even years, for the fans to figure it out.

Generally, if a player scores a century in a Test match or an ODI, he is most likely to feature in the next game unless he is injured. But there have been instances where cricketers were dropped after they scored a big innings in a game.

Here is a look at 5 such cricketers:

#5 Kevin Pietersen, 2012 (149 vs South Africa)

Kevin Pietersen was the backbone of England's batting for many years

Kevin Pietersen is a fine English batsman whoaw phenomenal stroke-play earned him respect worldwide. However, he lost many years of his international career after being involved in controversies both on and off the field.

Pietersen made his Test debut during the historic 2005 Ashes series. He made a grand entry, topping the scoring charts in that series with 473 runs in five Tests at an average of 52.55.

Pietersen was handed over the captaincy in 2008, but his reign was brief; it ended due to his uncomfortable relationship with the England coach, Peter Moores.

In 2012, he scored a flawless 149-run knock against South Africa at Headingley, but an ugly incident outside the cricket field was enough to make him sit out in the following Test match. Following that match, he was accused of sending text messages to the opposition team members containing offensive words about his national team captain Andrew Strauss.

The texts, sent through Blackberry Messenger, were made public and Pietersen had to apologize to the entire team, after which he was allowed to take field for the Three Lions in their Test match in India later that year. The switch-hit man played his last Test in 2014, ending his career with 8181 runs in 104 matches including 23 centuries at an average of 47.28.

#4 Jason Gillespie, 2006 (201* vs Bangladesh)

Jason Gillespie after scoring the double century against Bangladesh

Probably a fish out of water in this list, Jason Gillespie was an effective bowler who gave immense support to Aussie frontline bowlers like Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee. The tall and lanky fast bowler was a regular in the squad until he was dropped from the starting XI after the third Test of the historic 2005 Ashes series.

His career seemed to be all but over by then, but he was surprisingly called up for Australia’s tour to Bangladesh, with an understanding that he would not be picked for the Ashes later that year. And in the second Test at Chittagong, Gillespie managed to squeeze out a rather unexpected double century to surprise everyone.

It was so obvious that he would not be included in the next series that Gillespie said, "I got Man of the Match and the Series with eight wickets at 11 and a double-hundred and won't play the next Test ... it will be a good trivia question."

That indeed end up being the last international match for the fast bowler. The Sydney-born pacer finished his 71-match Test career with 259 wickets to his name and a lone century, in his final innings.

#3 Shaun Marsh, 2015 (182 vs West Indies)

Shaun Marsh scored a century on his debut against Sri Lanka

Shaun Marsh has been in and out of the Australian national cricket team ever since he made his debut against Sri Lanka in 2011, where he scored a century. Although the stylish left-hander has been much more successful in ODIs, he also had his moments in the longest format of the game.

After a blistering 182-run against West Indies at Hobart back in 2015, it seemed obvious that he would find a place in the following match. But much to his dismay, Marsh was dropped by the selectors to pave the way for Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns.

Having played a total of 38 Test matches, Marsh has scored 2265 runs at an average of 34.32, scoring 6 centuries. The 182 against West Indies is still his highest score. The Aussie was a part of the Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground earlier this year.

#2 Geoffrey Boycott, 1967 (246*vs India)

Geoffrey Boycott became a popular commentator after his retirement

Geoffrey Boycott is arguably one of the finest batsmen that England have ever had; his career stats reflect why he was such an important member of the Three Lions during his era. Having made his Test debut in 1964, Boycott had an instant impact and provided the perfect base at the top order to build the innings for the rest of the team.

During India’s tour to England in 1967, Boycott scored an unbeaten 246, but he took a massive 555 balls to reach that score. The media went down hard on him, which forced the selectors to drop him from the playing XI in the next match.

Though he was often criticized for his low scoring rate, he was a regular in the team due to his consistency. In 1974, the Yorkshire-man decided to take a temporary retirement from cricket, the reason for which he revealed many years later, in 2006, saying that he had lost the appetite for Test cricket at that time.

He made a comeback in 1977 and scored a century.

#1 Karun Nair, 2016 (303* vs England)

Karun Nair is the second Indian to score a triple century

Armed with an impressive first-class record, Karun Nair was given the opportunity to get a taste of international cricket when he was called up for the Test series against England in 2016. After failing to convert his starts into big ones in the first two Tests, the right-hander scripted his name in the history books in his third Test at the Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Already 0-3 down in the five-match series, the visitors England managed to score a good 477 runs in the first innings of the final encounter. The reply from India was even better. Karun Nair scored an unbeaten 303-run knock, becoming only the second Indian to score a triple century - after Virender Sehwag.

Surprisingly, Nair was benched for the one-off Test match against Bangladesh which followed soon after, making way for Ajinkya Rahane, who had missed the Chennai Test owing to a finger injury. Rahane being the more experienced player of the squad was given a nod in spite of Nair’s epic run fest in the previous match.