Home > Features > Moments in history >

Dan Cullen: Australian off-spinner who could not manage to live up to early hype

Dan Cullen © Getty Images
Dan Cullen © Getty Images

Dan Cullen, born on April 10, 1984, is a former Australia off-spinner. Cullen was destined for a bright future as he won the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year award in 2006. But he turned out to be only a one-Test wonder for Australia. Shrikant Shankar profiles Cullen’s career.

Daniel James Cullen was born in Woodville, Adelaide. His last name is the same as that of famous characters in a very popular fantasy-romance novel series ‘Twilight’. Cullen is an off-spinner who played for South Australia in the Australian domestic circuit. His rise was so prominent that he won the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year award in 2006. He was touted to replace Shane Warne once the spin legend had retired; in fact, he was coached by former Australia leg-spinner and legendary coach Terry Jenner, who also coached Warne.

Cullen’s first season in First-Class cricket in 2004-05 was impressive as he took 43 wickets at an average of 30.37. His second season was hampered by a finger injury, but he still managed to take 27 wickets. This was when he won the Bradman Young Cricketer award in 2006. His efforts were rewarded as he was called up to play for Australia in their tour of Bangladesh that same year. Australia had won the first Test by a narrow margin of three wickets. Cullen made his debut for Australia in the second Test at Chittagong in April 2006.

Dan Cullen was awarded the Bradman young cricketer of the year © Getty Images
Dan Cullen was awarded the Bradman Young Cricketer of the year in 2006 © Getty Images

The Test is generally remembered for Jason Gillespie scoring an unbeaten 201 coming in as a night-watchman. Bangladesh had earlier elected to bat and were bowled out for 197. Cullen took his only wicket — that of Mashrafe Mortaza for four runs. Adam Gilchrist caught the catch behind the wickets. Australia then declared their score at 581 for four with Gillespie the top-scorer. Cullen did not get to bat and went wicket-less in the second innings. Australia won the Test by an innings and 80 runs and the two-match series 2-0.

Cullen then played the following three-match One-Day International (ODI) series in Bangladesh. Cullen went wicket-less in his first ODI at Chittagong on April 23, 2006. He went wicket-less again in his second ODI at Fatullah on April 26. But he did get his first two wickets in ODIs in the third match at Fatullah on April 28. The first wicket was Khaled Mashud stumped by Gilchrist. The second was Morataza caught by Andrew Symonds. Australia won the three-match ODI series 3-0. He was then selected in an ODI tri-series involving India and West Indies at Kuala Lumpur in September 2006.

He did not play any of the matches against India, but played two matches against West Indies. He didn’t take any wickets in those two matches. Australia made it to the final against West Indies but Cullen did not play. Australia won the final by 127 runs. This was one of the strongest Australian sides in history and players could only sustain their place in the team if they performed very well. That was not the case for Cullen. He has till date never played another ODI. So, in five ODIs, Cullen took only two wickets. He remains as a one-Test wonder having taken only one wicket.

His form also began to dip in the Australian domestic cricket. He only managed 14 wickets in 2006-07. He followed that up with 18 wickets in the next season. His last season in First-Class cricket was the 2008-09 one and he took only 10 wickets. He was dropped from the State side after losing his South Australian contract in the 2009-10. There was a lot of promise in Cullen’s early days as an off-spinner, but he could not manage to realise it.

(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test: Australia's practice session

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Kevin Pietersen saga: Stuart Broad, James Anderson saddened by bullying claims

Live Cricket Score India A vs Sri Lanka, warm-up match at Mumbai: India A maul Sri Lanka by 87 runs

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs South Zone, final at Delhi Day 2: South Zone lead by 32 runs at the end of second day’s play

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test at Abu Dhabi Day 1: Younis Khan reaches his 100

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 Sri Lanka Zimbabwe

Kumar Sangakkara expresses sorrow on Sri Lanka landslide

India A vs Sri Lanka 2014: Sanjay Bangar says lots of positives from India A’s win over Sri Lanka

Younis Khan, Azhar Ali put Pakistan in advantage at stumps on Day 1 against Australia in 2nd Test

Yuvraj Singh flays media for twisting statements on future in international cricket

Younis Khan one of the best I played against: VVS Laxman

Highest identical scores in both innings of a Test

Younis Khan — perhaps Pakistan’s greatest batsman ever

India A vs Sri Lankans tour match: Players look to make the most of opportunities

Viv Richards: How did he perform against the West Indian quicks?

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here