14 cricketers who did and didn’t do what we thought they would over the last five years

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Five years ago, we picked out five batsmen, four all-rounders and five bowlers who we thought would be the best over the next five-year period. Let’s have a look at how wrong we were.


Here’s who we picked. Let’s look at their records at the point at which we picked them and how they’ve fared since then. We’ll stick to Tests so that this doesn’t become too much of a statsfest.

Ross Taylor: 1,496 runs at 41.55 when we picked him. 3,135 runs at 47.50 since then.

JP Duminy: 389 runs at 48.62 when we picked him. 891 runs at 33.00 since then.

AB de Villiers: 3,558 runs at 43.92 when we picked him. 4,048 runs at 62.27 since then.

Michael Clarke: 3,693 runs at 49.24 when we picked him. 4,780 runs at 51.95 since then.

Gautam Gambhir: 2,553 runs at 56.73 when we picked him. 1,493 runs at 29.86 since then.

Three reasonable calls and two wrong ones you’d say. It’s notable that the two failures are the two who’d been in a particularly rich vein of form at the time of writing.

Duminy isn’t such a great surprise in that even at that early stage he looked a bit wobbly against the short ball, but we did expect more from Gambhir. He seemed to be a player who had to work hard to succeed so we thought he’d still be going well while those to whom batting came more easily might have grown complacent. However, if he was a fighter, he was a fairweather fighter and fairly or unfairly he’ll probably always be remembered for his ‘wait until you come to India’ type comments during a chastening tour of Australia.


Here’s who we picked.

Shakib Al Hasan: 715 runs at 29.79 and 48 wickets at 28.27 when we picked him. 1,814 runs at 43.19 and 92 wickets at 33.10 since then.

Dwayne Bravo: 1,856 runs at 32.00 and 73 wickets at 39.57 when we picked him. 344 runs at 28.66 and 13 wickets at 41.30 since then.

MS Dhoni: 2,176 runs at 40.29 when we picked him. 2,700 runs at 36.48 since then.

Matt Prior: 1,326 runs at 44.20 when we picked him. 2,773 runs at 38.51 since then.

Stuart Broad: 767 runs at 30.68 and 64 wickets at 35.78 when we picked him. 1,426 runs at 21.60 and 200 wickets at 28.02 since then.

Shakib Al Hasan’s pretty much held up his side of the bargain and that was quite a leftfield call back then. Dhoni and Matt Prior were actually the top-scoring wicketkeepers in that five-year period, even if their records seem nothing to write home about.

If Stuart Broad now seems a ridiculous selection, his bowling did at least improve, even if his batting means he shouldn’t be in this section. Dwayne Bravo, however, was an exceptionally bad selection. His Test career seemed to finish moments after we clicked ‘publish’.


Here’s who we picked.

Dale Steyn: 170 wickets at 23.70 when we picked him. 226 wickets at 21.69 since then.

Mohammad Asif: 70 wickets at 22.22 when we picked him. 36 wickets at 28.52 since then.

Ajantha Mendis: 44 wickets at 29.50 when we picked him. 26 wickets at 43.69 since then.

Ishant Sharma: 54 wickets at 34.42 when we picked him. 133 wickets at 38.47 since then.

Not for the first time, we’ll thank the cricket gods for Dale Steyn. Reading the original article again, we think we knew there was a bit of wishful thinking going on with these selections even at the time. Sad, bad and infuriating.

In conclusion

A mixed bag, but it strikes us that these results would make more sense when set alongside those who really did perform best over this five-year period. So let’s do that. Meet you back here tomorrow.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. This is all very Mea Culpa. Are you in need of a bit of catharsis or something, some disburdening of the soul? Hi, my name is Alex and I am a Not-100%-Accurate-Forecaster-Of-Cricketers’-Futures-Although-Actually-Pretty-Good-On-The-Whole.

    1. He’s not here. He’s scheduled all these posts. He’s either in a gutter in Moss Side, having drunk himself stupid on Wetherspoons ale, or on a tropical Carribean island ‘getting away from it all’.

    2. Caribbean.

      But no. That’s not where we are. The cuisine isn’t sufficiently ham and cheese based for our tastes.

    3. I think you have too narrow a list of possible places, Sam. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility he could be in the ham and cheese section of Morrisons in Dewsbury.

  2. We all make mistakes, and I for one am pleased to know even the King is fallible. And its nice you can admit to your mistakes. #stayhumble

    1. The bowlers post also mentions Mohammad Aamer as one to watch over the next 15 years. Assuming he’s the bowler also known as Mohammed Amir, that’s quite the double to pick.

      Amir could still make good on that “next 15 years” thing, though.

  3. “Five years ago, we picked out five batsmen, four all-rounders and five bowlers who we thought would be the best over the next five-year period.”

    But Yer Maj appears to have picked five batsmen, FIVE all-rounders and FOUR bowlers. Perhaps that’s where the problems started.

    1. By the way, from the comments, whatever happened to Adrian Boris Barath? (“Boris” is a better middle name than “The Next Lara” which apparently he had for a while.)

    1. A website’s homepage has one job: to make it easy to find pages of interest. Cricinfo’s current homepage used to do this one job. It no longer does this one job.

  4. From the menu of the excellent Paseo Caribbean sandwich bar in Seattle.

    Ham and Cheese $7.50
    Our twist on a classic. Razor thin slices of smoke cured ham, piled high over banana peppers, covered with caramelized onions, & Swiss cheese, melted together on a hot press. (No lettuce or jalapeños)

    1. This is an abomination.

      Any ham and cheese sandwich costing more than £4 ($6.08 at today’s rate) is an abomination.

    2. And now I google, I see it reopened under new management.

      Carry on!

      The only time I tried to go, the queue was far too long for me.

    3. I recommend the Pit Boss at Smarty Pants, by the way.

      PIT BOSS $9.75
      Savory ham, smoked bacon and swiss cheese topped with a tangy vinaigrette, lettuce, tomato and pepperoncini. Served on a toasted french roll with mayo.

  5. This is the highest a pundit can reach. Everyone has opinions; some may be better researched; but at the end of the day, prediction is messy. Almost nobody actually puts their nuts on the train track when they make a call, because there is no account of what was said even six months later; likewise there may be a lot of browbeating on someone who makes a bold, but ultimately correct estimate, only for them to hear years later how “nobody could possibly have predicted this”.

    So anyone who calls out their own predictions is a motherfucking internet hero.

  6. Whether you are here or not, you cannot afford to write a post with such a Grand Canyon sized howler. Please go back and correct the sentence “….fairly or UNFAIRLY(?) he’ll probably always be remembered…” to “He was just another young prick whose new found success got to his head to the point where his on-field mannerisms got despicable. He began to believe that if you are a good batsman you need to shove bowlers every time you take a run, and always indulge in some altercation or the other. Quite rightly, when he lost form, he finds himself out of the limelight, and forever out of sight. This is Gambhir’s loss and cricket’s gain”.

    Never shalt thou sympathize with Broad and Gambhir. Never. Not even for a moment.

  7. Just for a moment when you said he was just another young prick whose new found success got to his head i thought you were talking about KC.

  8. I’ve only ever been to Seattle twice but Smarty Pants does look awesome too. Did you know that a steak bap from Jamie Oliver’s burger van at Lord’s is $31

  9. $31,that’s value. Mind you, that’s twice the cost of admission to the ground if you live in Graeme Swann’s world

  10. And today, Dwayne Bravo formally quit tests. Probably saw your article, KC, and realised that he hadn’t formally sent his resignation in yet.

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