For professional athletes, representing their country in a global sporting event is usually their driving ambition and winning it is the crowning glory of their careers.
For most cricketers, the one-day international (ODI) World Cup is such a tournament, but many top-class players miss out on the quadrennial tournament – often because of injury, but sometimes due to tactical decisions or bust-ups.
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Here are five top players who are missing out on the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup, hosted by India from October 5 to November 19.
Tamim Iqbal: Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s most prolific batsman in the ODI format and one of their all-time greats was left out when the squad was announced belatedly last week. Selectors said the 34-year-old’s persistent back injury forced him out of the final squad as they didn’t want to “take a risk” in the 46-day tournament.
The left-handed opener has scored 8,357 runs, including 14 centuries, in 243 ODIs for the South Asian side, but has been in and out of the side over the past few years due to injury. He announced and then reversed a shock retirement earlier this year.
A day after Bangladesh named their squad, the former captain lashed out at the board for “creating barriers” preventing his inclusion. The drama continued as Bangladesh’s captain Shakib Al Hasan called Iqbal’s statements “childish and immature”.
Given the controversy, the batter’s injuries and age, it is unlikely that he will be part of Bangladesh’s squad in the 2028 edition of the tournament.
Naseem Shah: Pakistan
Shah has been a key component of Pakistan’s recent bowling attack, ably sharing the responsibility of opening the bowling with Shaheen Shah Afridi. The 20-year-old keeps the batters in check from one end at an impressive economy rate of 4.68 in 14 matches, while Afridi attacks from the other.
Shah has also built a reputation for finishing off run chases when he comes in to bat lower down the order – just ask Afghanistan.
But Pakistan were forced leave Shah out of the World Cup squad after he suffered a major shoulder injury during Pakistan’s Asia Cup match against India last month. He is likely to be out injured for three to four months, according to Pakistan’s selectors.
With a heavy heart, I'm sharing that I will not be part of this amazing team that will be representing our beloved country. While I'm disappointed, I believe everything is in Allah's hands. InshahAllah will be on the field very soon.
Thank you to all my fans for the prayers!
— Naseem Shah (@iNaseemShah) September 22, 2023
Jason Roy: England
It was a roller coaster of emotions for Roy as he was named in England’s provisional World Cup squad, then left out when the defending champions named their final 15.
Roy was a vital member of England’s white-ball revolution that began under former captain Eoin Morgan after a dismal run at the 2015 edition, and he was one of their leading run scorers (443 runs in seven matches) when they turned things around to win their first World Cup four years later at Lord’s.
The 33-year-old opening batter has not been a permanent fixture in the England side due to injury and missed out on making a case for his inclusion in the World Cup squad as he suffered back spasms during last month’s ODI series against New Zealand.
England’s coach Matthew Mott said Roy’s exclusion from the squad was “the toughest decision” he has made and insisted that the batter was happy to be among the reserves for the tournament.
Captain Jos Buttler said the “brutal nature of sport” means that good players often miss out on big tournaments.
Wanindu Hasaranga: Sri Lanka
Hasaranga has earned a reputation as Sri Lanka’s biggest cricket star of the past few years.
The lethal leg-spinning all-rounder has three five-wicket hauls amongst his 67 wickets in ODI cricket, backed up with four half-centuries in 832 runs.
But the all-rounder suffered an injury during the Asia Cup and was not able to fully recover in time for the squad announcement, Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement.
The 26-year-old’s absence will be a major blow to the 1996 champions considering he was the leading wicket-taker in the last two T20 World Cups and has been their most prolific bowler in recent years.
Hasaranga will be considered as a replacement player should a member of the travelling squad suffer an injury.
Michael Bracewell: New Zealand
New Zealand’s 2022 ODI player of the year will miss the tournament due to an Achilles injury suffered during an English county match in June.
The 32-year-old’s absence has dealt a big blow to the 2019 runners-up, who play the World Cup opener on October 5 against defending champions England.
Bracewell can bat up and down the order, bowl decent off-spin and is also able to keep wickets. His batting average of 42.5 comes at an impressive strike rate of 118.60 in ODI cricket.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead said Bracewell is a “great team man”.
“We’ve seen his exceptional skills in all three facets of the game and he was shaping as an important player for us at the World Cup in India.”
No Michael Bracewell for the ODI World Cup is a huge blow for New Zealand.
For his impact balancing the side from No 7, his explosive hitting at the back end, and how his off spin complements Mitchell Santner's left-arm, he's arguably an even bigger loss than Kane Williamson.
— Tim Wigmore (@timwig) June 14, 2023