Few quality players had a poor World Cup © Getty Images
Few quality players had a poor World Cup © Getty Images

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 witnessed some champions, but had its share of duds. Amit Banerjee creates an XI of players who, contrary to expectations, failed to put in good performances with either bat or ball. Read: ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: The CricketCountry XI

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 came to a close with Australia retaining their dominance in international cricket once again as they lifted the most coveted trophy in the sport for a fifth time, thrashing New Zealand by seven wickets. They became the first team in the process to win the World Cup in five different continents.  ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Complete Coverage

The 11th edition of the tournament provided for some great individual performances, especially by the batsmen. There were a few success stories from unexpected corners, with Grant Elliott being a shining example in this case. The tournament also saw a few unfortunate flops, especially among those cricketers heavily relied upon to contribute for their teams at the start of the World Cup. Listed below is an XI of the duds:

1. Dwayne SmithSmith was banked upon at the onset of the mega-event to get his side off to explosive starts along with Chris Gayle. Smith, who has an impressive One-Day International (ODI) career strike-rate of 92 (albeit with a below-par average), scored a meagre 93 runs from six appearances at an average of 15.50.

Getting dismissed after playing a rash shot is perhaps the main reason that one can attribute to the lean patch of the Bajan opener. The fact that his highest score was 31 does not put Smith in the brightest of lights. Cricket World Cup finals XI: Players who were outstanding on the day of finals

2. Nasir JamshedThe Pakistan batsman has been proved to be a useful opener in recent times, having shared seven century stands for the first wicket 224 with Mohammad Hafeez against India. With a strike rate of 75, Jamshed was one of the few in the Pakistan team to be entrusted with the responsibility of getting a majority of the runs for his side, given the fact that batting has been Pakistan’s weak link in the past few years.

It would however, be difficult for a cricket fan to digest the fact that an opening batsman of a leading team scored only five runs in three innings, at an average of 1.67. While one may agree that he was clearly not in the best of form, which every cricketer goes through, it was not surprising that he was dropped after a run of 0, 1 and 4. If anything, it was his fake Twitter handle that won him some reputation. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Top 10 innings

3. Mahela JayawardeneThe legendary Sri Lankan batsman, easily one of the greatest his country has ever produced, had the vision of making the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 a memorable tournament. After having retired from Test cricket last year, Mahela had intended the mega-event to be the swansong of his illustrious international career.

The only innings worth mentioning when talking about Jayawardene in the tournament however was his century against Afghanistan that helped save the Lankans the blushes. He helped rescue Sri Lanka from a 51 for 4 and resulted in a victory, but that remained his only contribution of note.  Top 10 batsmen in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

His knocks in the remaining matches were disappointing to say the least. He could gather 25 runs in the next four innings. He was dismissed for a four-ball duck during the series opener against New Zealand, failed to support long-time team-mate Kumar Sangakkara against Australia. In the crucial quarter-final against South Africa, he was dismissed for four as Sri Lanka were shot out for 133.

4. Eoin Morgan (c) — Morgan had become the poster boy for English cricket, having recorded a tremendous rise in fortunes since he decided to play for the ‘Three Lions’. After having appeared in 23 ODIs for Ireland, Morgan decided to move to England for greener pastures. He replaced Alastair Cook as English captain with the World Cup a couple of months away.

Morgan, capable of setting the field on fire with his unorthodox strokeplay, was one of the crucial figures in the England batting line-up going into the World Cup. England’s disastrous campaign saw Morgan scoring 90 from six appearances at an average of 18. His only innings of note (46) came against Scotland. He gets to lead for his unimaginative leadership throughout the tournament.

5. Mominul HaqueMominul is one of Bangladesh’s greatest discoveries in Test cricket. The arrival of Mominul, whose average of 63 in 23 Test innings is remarkable by any standards, gave Bangladesh the feeling of having a complete batting line up, one that consisted of the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah.

Disappointing would be but a polite word for Mominul’s run in the recent World Cup. He was dismissed for scores of three and one against Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, which caused him to fade away into the oblivion for the rest of the tournament. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: The Associate XI

6. Luke Ronchi (wk) — Ronchi made his international debut for Australia back in 2008 and was marked out as a supporting pillar in the ODI middle-order along with Elliott. Ronchi, who blasted his way to a record 170 not out against Sri Lanka recently, scored more than 10 only twice in the entire tournament  — against Sri Lanka (29*) and Scotland (12). He scored a miserly 32 from the next five appearances at an average of 6.4, getting dismissed for a four-ball duck in the all-important final.

Though New Zealand performed exceptionally for the most part in the tournament, a consistent Ronchi would have perhaps helped them secure the wins more comfortably, and could even have changed the course of the final in which the Black Caps were bundled out for 183, losing the game by seven wickets eventually. Top 10 wicketkeepers in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

7. Ravindra Jadeja‘Sir Jadeja’, as he is affectionately known amongst teammates and fans,  has been one of MS Dhoni’s most trusted soldiers in recent times, both for his country as well  as for  Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Naturally, Dhoni would vouch for his presence in squad for a tournament as important as the World Cup.

However, Jadeja failed to live up to his skipper’s expectations in the showpiece event. With fitness issues bothering him before the start of the tournament (he played a solitary game during the Triangular Series before the World  Cup), Jadeja had to grab the bull by the horns if he intended to keep his place in the side for long.

Jadeja, to put things politely, was the weakest link of the site. Having appeared in all of India’s games in the tournament, he collected 57 runs from eight innings at 14.25 and a highest score of 23. He was slightly better off with the ball, grabbing nine wickets in the eight innings that he played. He failed to click when India needed him the most, especially during India’s failed semi-final clash against Australia.

8. Thisara PereraSri Lanka have been blessed by quality all-rounders like Thisara and Angelo Mathews. Perera’s ability to hit the ball hard and far, which comes in handy down the order for Lankans, as well as to get the wickets at crucial stages made him an individual to reckon in the eyes of the Sri Lankan selectors. A spot in the World Cup side was naturally beckoning him.

At the end of Sri Lanka’s World Cup 2015 campaign, the feeling of Perera not having performed to his potential was staring in the face of the fans. Perera scored 62 from four innings at an average of 20; 47 of these came in the game against Afghanistan. While he was the fourth-highest wicket-taker for the Lankans, his six wickets came at a disappointing average of 46.66. The most forgettable of his spells came against Australia when he conceded 87 runs from nine overs.  Top 10 fielders in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

9. Shahid AfridiAfridi has been a cricketer of a special kind, one who lives to entertain the crowd. He proved his leadership abilities when he captained Pakistan to a semi-final finish in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. He had earlier announced his intention to retire from ODIs at the end of the World Cup, and it was expected that he would light the fireworks in the 50-over format one last time before bowing out for good — more so because he had never scored a single World Cup fifty.

Afridi failed to live up to his reputation in the World Cup, collecting 116 runs at 23.20 and two wickets at an average of 141. It was but a forgettable tournament for Afridi, with Mark Nicholas perhaps rubbing salt on the wound by forgetting to mention his name in the list of retirees at the end of the tournament. Read: Mark Nicholas misses out on Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq while announcing list of retirees

10. Stuart BroadBroad, one of the more experienced members of England, had a fairly decent outing in ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, grabbing six wickets from three appearances at 25.50. The performance was commendable mainly due to the fact that Broad had prospered in the subcontinent.

By the time were packing their bags for their flight to the British Isles, Broad ended up having the worst statistics among the bowlers. The four scalps in six games came at the price of 254 runs, leading to an average and strike rate of 63.5 and 71 respectively.  Top 10 bowlers in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

11. James AndersonMuch was expected of Anderson, the spearhead and finest English bowler of his generation as well as one of the greatest overall in the illustrious history of the country. Anderson’s experience of 194 matches in the 50-over format, the most in the squad, would have also made him an important figure on the field as well as the dressing room.

Anderson finished with five wickets from six appearances at an average and strike rate of 49 and 55.2 respectively; his best performance of 2 for 30 came against Scotland. These numbers are disappointing by his standards, since England were showing signs of promise during the Triangular Series that immediately preceded the tournament. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Top 10 spells

 (Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)