“Yet, at times, the dejection does find ways of oozing itself, as it most recently did when the first player to play 100 Ranji matches for Vidarbha took to Twitter to express his anguish at being ignored. Again”

In simple terms, it can be said that it is frustrating to be Faiz Fazal. You are one of the most talented batsmen that India has produced, but considering the vastness of the land and the devout following of the sport in India, every para and every by-lane has a young child who dreams of being the next Sachin Tendulkar. You are one of the best run-scoring machines in the country at the moment, but with constant matches and constant news being churned out from the Indian cricketing realm- either by the behaviour of Kohli or the Indian pacers’ development, you are often shunned. Just like you have been for a major part of your career.

Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal and even Rishabh Pant are the players to watch out from India, but you, who have been going on for 16 years CONSISTENTLY is hardly ever given a look-in. ‘Yes he is talented, but then the others are way more skilled and consistent.’

Of course, playing for a side like Vidarbha never helps as well. It is unfortunate, but states like Delhi, Mumbai and Karnatake still garner all the attention in domestic cricket. They are the elitist sides with a rich history and hence it never really helps to belong to a side that is just an off-shoot of the Maharashtra state. The maiden Ranji trophy triumph last year was more about the underrated stars gelling together to clinch history. While it did not overlook the efforts that were put in, the win was attributed to the presence of Wasim Jaffer more than it was to your captaincy skills. The team is well-placed in the Ranji Trophy this season as well, but the inconsistent showing of Mumbai is what will grab attention. And thus, you will be lurking in the corners once again; you will be jostled in the shadows once more till of course, the team does not reach the final two, which is only when the consistency of the side will be marvelled at.

Also read: The story of India at Melbourne – Part 1

7624 runs at an average of over 42.83 in 107 First-class games. 19 hundreds and 35 fifties with a high score f 206. Numbers that look promising. Numbers that would have forced the selection committee to dial your number when a replacement in the national team was needed. And it is not that it isn’t. KL Rahul might just have bid farewell to his international career after yet another disastrous overseas game. Murali Vijay’s off-side issues have resurfaced once again after it had temporarily been pushed beneath the carpet in the county championship. With Prithvi Shaw injured, the time was opportune to get in both Mayank and Fazal into the Test side at the very top. However, only the former was flown in (surprise, surprise!), and for reasons unknown, Virat Kohli has hinted at fielding the same XI for the Boxing Day Test match. Let that sink in. Play the same set of openers, who have amassed only 750 runs in 20 games (runs improved by Rahul’s 149 against England this year) combined this year over the duo of Agarwal and Fazal, who has already scored 644 runs combined (Agarwal has just played one match) in 6 matches.

Yes, inexperience in Australian conditions might hamper the progress, but then it is always better to play talented stars who might turn the tide than consistently inconsistent batsmen.

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However, this ignorance of performances isn’t new in the Indian circuit. Karun Nair, who scored a triple hundred against England has not got considerable chances since. Manoj Tiwary, who was unlucky to miss his maiden ODI series after a last-minute injury had been dropped the game after he scored a hundred against West Indies in the sapping heat of Chennai in favour of Rohit Sharma who was given chances after chances. Mayank currently, despite being in the fray for selection has been picked and dropped without getting a game and now has been picked again on the back of a solid series to New Zealand for India A. And then there is Fazal, who is to date awaiting the elusive phone call for the Test team, two years after he was called to play for a second-string Indian team against Zimbabwe in 2016.

He had not disappointed then, scoring 55 runs in the only chance that he got to play for the Men in Blue. However, he never really cared for the shorter formats. It was only the longer format that interests him in an age when cricketers turn to T20 like it is the holy grail of cricket. Which is why he has hardly given a thought to his absence from the IPL since 2012.

Fazal however, must be well accustomed to the so-close-yet-so-far-far moments right from his Under-19 days. He was selected to be a member of the 2004 Under-19 World Cup squad, but the last minute injury ruled him out and his replacement Shikhar Dhawan went on to become the highest run-scorer in the tournament, which instantly pushed him to the radar. Does it hurt? Of course, it does. But having seen through all the obstacles and lived through all the disappointments, the cricketer must have swallowed the untimely turn of destiny with a quiet acceptance.

Yet, at times, the dejection does find ways of oozing itself, as it most recently did when the first player to play 100 Ranji matches for Vidarbha took to Twitter to express his anguish at being ignored. Again.

Shivam Dube is the new exciting player on the block. Milind Kumar from Sikkim has already scored 1017 runs in 6 matches with 4 hundreds this Ranji season. And as far as Fazal is concerned, he has not done anything extraordinary – just 566 runs with three hundreds at an average of 70.75 in five games. Just!

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