The Test format is the most challenging form of cricket, and requires immense amounts of concentration and fitness. However, due to its slow-paced nature and relative lack of flashiness, Test cricket briefly threatened to be discarded before the ICC introduced the World Test Championship.
Over the years, we have seen many players excel in limited-overs formats only to disappoint in the longest format of the game. Technical issues, a lack of consistency, and limited adaptability to conditions are some of the common reasons for players not reaching their potential in Test cricket.
Some cricketers have even been unable to sustain that toll it takes on their body, and have opted out of the format to prolong their career in ODIs and T20s.
In this article, we take a look at 5 legendary cricketers who didn't play enough Test matches (less than 50 Tests).
#5 Lance Klusener
Lance Klusener was an enigma when he was active international cricket. Apart from his big-hitting abilities with the bat and useful medium-pacers with the ball, the South African was a quiet personality who played his cards close to his chest.
However, despite his great ODI career as a finisher, Klusener played only 49 Tests for the Proteas. After picking up 8/64 on debut against India at the Eden Gardens, many expected the all-rounder to reach the stature Jacques Kallis would later achieve.
But Klusener's Test career never quite took off, with an average of 32.86 with the bat and only 80 wickets with the ball. Since retiring, he has been using his excellent reading of the game and tactical acumen as a coach, and was even appointed the coach of the Afghanistan national cricket team last year.
#4 Michael Bevan
We can draw many parallels between the careers of Klusener and Michael Bevan. Both left-handers were incredible middle-order batsmen and handy bowlers, as well as electric in the field. Both were accomplished finishers with a cool head on their shoulders.
Unfortunately, Bevan, much like Klusener, was unsuccessful in Test cricket despite a superb debut. After three half-centuries in his debut series, Bevan went on to play only 18 Tests, in sharp contrast to the 6,912 runs he scored in 232 ODIs at an average of 53.58.
The left-arm leg-spinner also picked up 29 wickets in Tests, even recording match figures of 10/113 once. However, the 1999 and 2003 World Cup victorious campaigns he was a part of remain the highlight of his career.
Bevan has also coached many franchises since he retired from the sport in 2007.
#3 Yuvraj Singh
Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh is one of the greatest No. 4 batsmen the country has ever seen in ODIs, but had a rather forgettable Test career. In 40 games, Yuvraj scored only 1,900 runs at an average of 33.9, with only 3 hundreds to his name. His bowling was also not built on wicket-taking, and he played mostly as a specialist batsman for India.
With some technical issues plaguing the elegant southpaw throughout his career, he was often all at sea overseas, and sometimes even on the rank turners at home. Yuvraj could never make his mark on the longest format of the game, much unlike his ODI career over the course of which he scored 8,701 runs and won the Man of the Tournament award in the 2011 World Cup.
The former Kings XI Punjab captain also had a memorable T20 career, with the highlight being the 6 sixes he hit off Stuart Broad in a single over, who is incidentally England's second-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.
#2 Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi is one of the most destructive batsmen cricket has ever seen. Couple that with his accurate leg breaks, and you'd think that you had a cricketer perfectly suited to be a lower-order all-rounder in Test cricket. However, despite the promise he showed as a youngster, Afridi played only 27 Tests for Pakistan, scoring 1,716 runs and taking 48 wickets.
The former Pakistan captain opted to quit Test cricket in 2006 to prolong his limited-overs career and although cricket romantics have questioned his decision, it is hard to fault the man for the brave call. In 398 ODIs, Afridi scored 8,064 runs and picked up 395 wickets, retiring (multiple times) as one of the country's greatest-ever all-rounders.
Had Afridi chosen to play Test cricket till the end of his career, he could have broken numerous records.
#1 Lasith Malinga
Known for his distinctive action that could cause batsmen all sorts of problems in red-ball cricket, Lasith Malinga's Test career got off to a good start as he dismissed Adam Gilchrist on debut. However, injuries ravaged the speedster's career, and he played only 30 Tests with 101 wickets to his name.
Malinga had all the weapons to succeed in Test cricket - a potent yorker, a tempting outswinger, and a surprise bouncer. But after knee problems plagued him for years, he decided that his body couldn't take the workload of Tests and confined himself to the coloured clothing from 2011.
Much like Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan, we could have seen Malinga excel in the whites, but it was sadly not to be.