As this is the 13th post in my attempt to blog everyday of 2015, I thought I would honour the momentous occasion with a post on the unluckiest cricketers and cricketing moments.
I’m sure there are a whole host of reasons why KP will consider himself worthy of being on a list of unlucky cricketers. But I’m not going to bother sifting through his entire saga once again. The reason he appears on this list is all down to a very unusual dismissal in 2008. With England cruising at 221/2 in the 3rd Test against the West Indies, and Pietersen sitting pretty on 68, Dwayne Bravo decided to dig the ball in, and extracted bounce that took Pietersen by surprise. Pietersen was unable to get out of the way of the bouncer and the ball caught him flush on the helmet. His Woodworm helmet then mis-functioned spectacularly and was sent crashing into his stumps. Pietersen was out in the most unlucky of fashions; hit wicket. I still haven’t seen a similar dismissal in the intervening years, and come to think of it, I haven’t seen a Woodworm helmet either.
Take a look for yourself here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZjGdWt82k0
For 1,000’s of Australians, and a fair few English fans, Michael Atherton will always be remembered for one sprawling moment. After making a calm 97 to guide England back into contention in the Lord’s Ashes Test of 1993, Atherton played the ball away into the outfield and scampered through for two runs. As he turned for his third run to take him to a richly deserved hundred, he was sent back by his partner Mike Gatting. Not only did he fail to make his ground, but he also slipped and was left sprawled on the Lord’s turf, destined never to make a Test century at the home of cricket.
A couple of years later, Atherton was on the other side of an ‘unlucky’ moment. Just how ‘unlucky’ Hick can be considered is up for debate. The English batsman was in the midst of making his maiden Ashes century, but perhaps unimpressed with his scoring rate, Atherton decided to call the team off with Hick unbeaten on 98. Hick, not surprisingly, look unimpressed and some animosity remained between the pair for a while after. Hick never came close to making an Ashes century again and probably never forgave his captain either.
Probably the best regular Test batsman to never make a Test century, Warne came closest against New Zealand in 2001/2. His 99 was launching a recovery for Australia against the Kiwi’s, when he was cut down, one short of a career first Test hundred. Warne decided to take an almighty heave against Daniel Vettori and could only succeed in skying the ball to deep mid-wicket, leaving him with no choice but to trudge off for 99. As if missing out on the century wasn’t bad enough, replays later revealed that Vettori had actually overstepped the mark when bowling. Dismissed for 99…off a no-ball!
Not a particular unlucky moment to mention here, but perhaps an entire career. Stuart Law punished first class attacks in both England and Australia for over 350 matches and racked up 27,000 runs at an average in excess of 50. His Test returns however, are somewhat more modest – one innings of 54*. And that’s it! Stuart Law had one knock in Test cricket and didn’t even get out. He was immensely unlucky to be a quality batsman, at a time when Australia had a squad full of world class batting talent. The Waugh brothers, Michael Slater, Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting all made their name during the 1990’s, when Law was at his peak. Maybe Law was unlucky in the Test arena, but his first class record is still one of the best going.