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One Test wonders who should have played more

Australia's Stuart Law
Sri Lanka's keeper Romesh Kaluwitharana (R) runs out Australia's Stuart Law during their one-day international match in Adelaide in 1999
©Reuters
 

Cricket means more different things to more people today than ever before. Tournaments like the IPL compete with the traditional international game, and T20 tends to get more promotion than longer forms. Now there’s The Hundred starting in England to muddy the waters still further.  

 

Regardless of all that, however, there’s no disputing the fact that Test cricket represents the pinnacle of the sport. An Ashes series still prompts more visits to cricket betting sites than anything else the sport can offer, and there is no greater honour that a player can receive than to be awarded a Test cap.  

It makes it all the more tragic when a player realises the dream and plays his first Test, only for it to be his last. Yes, there are some who were clearly out of their depth, but the following one test wonders should surely have played much, much more.  

 

Stuart Law 

The Lawman, as he was known in his adopted county of Essex, was one of the most feared overseas players on the county circuit in the 1990s. 27,000 first class runs at an average of more than 50 tells you this was no ordinary talent. He received his Test call up in 1995, scored an unbeaten 50 against Sri Lanka and was never selected again. He was simply unlucky to have been around at the same time as players like Taylor, Slater, the Waughs and Ponting.  

 

Sir Charles Aubrey Smith 

Sir Charles was a star of stage and screen, perhaps best known for his role in The Prisoner of Zenda. He was also a fine cricketer, and he was awarded his solitary Test cap in 1889. His curved run-up, which started somewhere near mid-off, was described as “rather startling” by W G Grace. It was also rather effective. He took 5-19 in the first innings and picked up two more in the second. He was also captain of a team from which most of the nation’s top players were absent. He never got the chance to prove he could do it consistently.  

 

Robin Singh 

Throughout the 1990s, the all-rounder was practically the first name on the team sheet in ODIs, representing India more than 130 timesDuring the 1998 tour of Zimbabwe, India played one Test match after the ODI series, and saw no point in flying a Test squad out for a solitary game. So it was that Singh was awarded his first and only test cap. India suffered a shock defeat, while Singh scored 15 and 12 and went wicketless. Bizarrely, India’s next cap was to the unrelated Robin Singh Jr, who also played just one Test.  

 

John Stephenson 

Another mainstay of the Essex team in the 1990s, Stephenson was one of county cricket’s most versatile players. Equally at home opening or down the order, he was also a useful medium pace bowler.  Facing the mighty Australia at The Oval, he scored a composed 25 in the first innings, holding firm while wickets tumbled at the other end, and the match ended in a draw. Yet he never played for England again.   


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