Cricket, like every other sport, is a reflection of life. It represents the good, bad, and downright ugly side of life to the hilt.
Over the years, a plethora of cricketers has seen their careers cut short due to the politics surrounding their team or administration. That is not to say that it’s always the team or board politics that has led to so many promising careers curtailed. Sometimes, it is all the player in question who is at fault.
That said, if a cricketer is outrageously talented and assuming that he is not morally corrupt, the onus lies on the team management and the concerned board to find a way to get the best out of him/her for the greater good of the team.
On that note, here’s a look at a few talented Cricketers whose career got cut short due to politics in the team:
Hailed as an ideal replacement for the legendary Javed Miandad due to similarities in batting style and temperament, Basit Ali made his international debut in both formats for Pakistan at the age of 22, following the ouster of Miandad against the West Indies in 1993.
An aggressive batsman blessed with the ability to dominate both pacers as well as spinners, Basit Ali turned heads when he registered the then second-fastest ODI hundred (67 balls) against the West Indies later that year.
Basit Ali’s best performance in Test cricket came during the 1994 Test series against New Zealand. He scored a match-winning 154-ball 85 in the first Test at the Basin Reserve and backed it up with a brilliant 139-ball 103 and a fighting 111-ball 67 in the second innings where none of the other Pakistan batsmen got more than 26.
Ali’s career went through a slump during the 1995/96 season and he was eventually dropped from the team for the 1996 World Cup to make way for Javed Miandad.
However, as he later revealed, he made way for Javed Miandad on the veteran cricketer’s request, who wanted to make the record for the most number of World Cup appearances.
“I am going to share something you might not be aware of. I have been quiet because of my country. Miandad wasn’t included in the 1996 World Cup squad. His name wasn’t there initially. I was there in the 15-member squad. “But he came with a request to the players and said he wanted to play the World Cup. He asked us — who will give me his spot? He wanted to make the most World Cup appearances record. So, I pulled out. I was in my prime (in 1995 and 1996) at that time, but still I sacrificed my place because I respected Miandad,” Basit Ali told timesofindia.com.
Ali was never picked for Pakistan again, and with match-fixing rampant in Pakistan cricket, he, alongside wicketkeeper Rashid Latif, announced his retirement from international cricket at the age of 25.