Continuing with our cricketing one-hit wonders, after a list of five batsmen last week, we will now have a look at some familiar, infamous names in the bowling department – some of whom may have been forgotten by history, but not by us. Not all of them are strictly “one-hit” wonders in a single-match sense; some of them have hit the international scene with a blast for about a tournament or a year, before fading away into oblivion.
Here are six enigmatic bowlers who belong to this elite list of shooting stars:
JASON KREJZA (AUSTRALIA)
The freshest in Indian memories, by a long margin. Many will remember the tall, crew-cut and hard-working off-spinner, who was dropped into the deep sea on Australia’s Tour of India back in 2008. The visitors lost the series 2-0, in which India’s Test-captain changing of guard took place from Anil Kumble to M.S. Dhoni for the first time. Krejza and Cameron White were two of Australia’s premier spinners in Nagpur, where he replaced another ‘fleeting’ star, Stuart Clark. The spinner then went on to give statisticians a field day, in one of the most fascinating debut performances ever by a bowler. He took 8/215 in the first innings – his first wicket being Rahul Dravid – becoming the bowler to concede maximum runs on debut, as well as the highest wicket-taker ever on debut. Two mutually exclusive records, in one innings. He went on to take four hard-earned wickets in the second innings, ending on 12/358 – the second highest number of runs conceded in a Test innings by a bowler, EVER. Many will remember that Krejza bowled an astounding amount of deliveries to concede these runs and get these wickets – 44 in the first innings and 31 in the second. However, he played just one Test after this back at home against South Africa in Perth – a graveyard for spinners. An unfortunate selection, given that he took just one wicket for 209 runs over two innings – and was never selected in a Test match again.
GEOFF ALLOTT (NEW ZEALAND)
1999. The World Cup in England. A little-known left-arm Kiwi seamer had come into the tournament with no hype behind him. He had just taken 14 wickets in a seven-match ODI series at home against South Africa. By the end, New Zealand had reached the semifinal in a terrific run, with their new hero Allott taking 20 wickets over nine games. Allott’s swing was almost unplayable, as he took four each against both eventual finalists Australia and Pakistan, before going wicketless in the losing semifinal against Pakistan. Allott went on to play nine ODI matches after the World Cup, picking up only nine more wickets. He finished with 52 wickets in a brief ODI career, at a great average of 23 – but it was his stuttering Test career that led to him being dropped permanently, with just 19 wickets from 10 Tests at an average of 58.
BOB MASSIE (AUSTRALIA)
“Massie’s Test” happened at Lord’s in the Western Australia bowler’s first-ever international match in the Ashes back in 1972. He decimated England, picking 16 wickets over two innings, in a Test debut so stunning that it could never be reproduced again. His was only the third best bowling figures of all time with his 8-for in each innings at the time. He went on to play only 5 tests after that, picking 15 wickets with just one 5-for – before he bowed out early due to an illness on the West Indies tour, never to regain that ‘swinging’ touch again.
NARENDRA HIRWANI (INDIA)
The leggie who bettered Massie’s debut figures played 16 years later in a Test at Chennai against the mighty West Indians. He returned with figures of 16 for 136 – establishing himself in Indian folklore forever. Those numbers remain a world record. Hirwani further succeeded in a home Test series against New Zealand next season with 20 wickets in three Tests, as well as a Man-of-the-Series performance in a three-nations ODI cup in Sharjah, but like many of his successors, had his career doomed because of his overseas (read outside of the subcontinent) record. The West Indians tore him apart on his Caribbean tour in 1990, after which he played only a couple of Tests through the 1990s – mostly at home. He was finally selected as an ‘experienced’ domestic hand in the famous 2001 series against Australia, but never made the final 11 because of teenager Harbhajan Singh’s terrific form. Hirwani finished with 66 wickets in his Test career at a modest average of 30.
VIJAY BHARADWAJ (INDIA)
We all remember the unassuming, dark bespectacled all-rounder making his debut for India in the four-nations LG Cup (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya) back in 1999 in Nairobi. India won all its four matches, including the final against South Africa – and Bharadwaj, the off-spinner, ended with 10 wickets (three in the final) to win the Man of the Series award, along with some very useful lower-order batting. It was his bowling, though, that caught everyone’s attention, and he was selected for India’s five-ODI home series against New Zealand, where he managed just five more wickets. He never took a 4-for or more, but symbolized India’s bits-and-pieces all-rounder strategy for years to come.
GARY GILMOUR (AUSTRALIA)
Two matches of the first-ever World Cup defined this burly left-arm Australian bowler’s career: a brilliant 6-for against England in the semis along with a lower-order batting rescue performance, as well as a 5-for in the final at Lord’s against Clive Lloyd’s winning West Indian team. He bounded in with his long-ish hair, setting the stage for perhaps the greatest fleeting bowling phase in the history of the game – before disappearing thereafter, with only one more ODI to his name.
Scott Muller (Australia – 1999), Franklyn Rose (West Indies), Lakshmipathy Balaji (India), Shadab Jakati (IPL 2013)