Top Ten Unluckiest English Cricketers In History

In this article, we will take a look at the top ten unluckiest English cricketers who failed to claim their cricket fame and were considered to be unlucky. 

One of the most competitive and esteemed cricket teams in the world, England’s cricket team has an extremely rich and storied historical past. The team’s advent in the annals of cricket was marked in the 18th century and since then, England’s cricket team has been participating in all the international cricket formats, including Test matches, One Day Internationals (ODIs), and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is). Apart from the rich history of glorious triumphs and heartbreaking defeats, England’s cricket team has also witnessed stalwart players like Joe Root and Ben Stokes. Although the majority of the discussion has always been surrounding England’s stalwart cricketers, the history of England cricket has also witnessed a few names who failed to reach the apex of their cricketing career and couldn’t unleash their true potential due to major injuries, inconsistent form, fuming controversies and many other factors. 

Timothy Andrew Lloyd

Despite all his efforts and achievements, English cricketer, Timothy Andrew Lloyd is often criticized as one of the unluckiest cricketers to ever play for the England cricket team. Timothy Andrew Lloyd had an extremely brief cricketing career and represented England’s cricket side in only one test match and three ODIs in 1984. During his debut test match against West Indies in the summer of 1984, Timothy shockingly got struck by a ball in his head, leaving him badly injured. As a result, the cricketer was forced to leave the crease after scoring a total of a mere ten runs. He was immediately rushed to the hospital and had to miss out on the remaining test series. Unable to regain his physical fitness, Timothy was never allowed to play for England ever again.

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Darren Maddy 

Former English professional cricketer, Darren Lee Maddy is often referred to as one of the most underrated players in the history of English cricket. Many critics think that Darren wasn’t allowed many opportunities to prove himself on the international stage of cricket. Darren Maddy could only be a part of three test matches and a total of eight ODIs between 1998-2000. After making his ODI debut against South Africa in 1998 and his test debut against New Zealand in 1999, the selectors brutally criticized his in-game form. During his final ODI appearance against Zimbabwe, Darren Maddy managed to score a half-century, but he was still considered to be an under-performer. Maddy’s international cricketing career was put on hold for seven years until he made a comeback during the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 tour. Darren’s 23-year-long career came to an end due to his inconsistency in 2013 with an official retirement announcement.  

Michael Atherton

Micheal Atherton ignited an inevitable “dirt in pocket” controversy while playing against South Africa at Lord’s in 1999. The cameras caught the then-captain of the England cricket team, Michael Atherton, filling up his pocket with dirt and rubbing a substance on the ball in an attempt to influence the aerodynamics and improve the ball’s swing against the opposition. Under law 41 of the laws of cricket, ‘ ball tampering’ is strictly prohibited and is considered to be a punishable offense. Once caught and confronted by the match referee, Atherton denied the ball-tampering accusation and chose to lie to the referee. As a consequence, he was fined an amount of £2,000. Although Atherton’s stubbornness saved him from getting banned, he faced a lot of brutal confrontations and media trials outside the field. The “dirt in the pocket” tarnished Michael Atherton’s stature as a potential player of the England cricket squad.

Kevin Pieterson 

Although Kevin Pieterson was considered to be one of the most formidable players in the English cricket squad. In addition to serving England’s cricket team as a captain, Kevin also smashed numerous records. Peterson holds the record for being the fastest cricketer to cross the 2,000 ODI runs benchmark. Furthermore, he also holds the record for being the fastest English player to reach 7,000 test runs. Despite his unreal potential, Kevin Pieterson was dropped out of the third test match during the test series against South Africa in 2012 because of the infamous “text gate” scandal. Pieterson allegedly sent derogatory messages against the then-English captain, Andrew Strauss, and coach Andy Flower to some of the South African players. Although Kevin scored a formidable match-winning total of 149* against South Africa in the second test match, he was shown an embarrassing exit for the remaining test series.  

James Taylor 

The Nottinghamshire and England’s former star cricket player, James Taylor, established himself as the youngest Leicestershire cricket player to amass 1,000 championship runs in a season. Additionally, James Taylor also holds the record for being the youngest player to score a century in one-day matches for Leicestershire and a double-century in first-class cricket. With a total of 34 test match appearances in the test format, James Taylor, unfortunately, had to bid a tragic and sudden farewell to his extremely promising cricketing career at the young age of twenty-six in April 2016 due to a serious heart condition called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) that involves life-threatening heart rhythms.

Craig Kieswetter

Former English professional cricketer, Craig Kieswetter, represented the England cricket team in a total of 71 matches across different formats. Craig was honored with the Man of the Match award during the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 tournament. However, owing to his inconsistency after 2010, Craig was dropped out and replaced by Joss Buttler. Craig’s inconsistent performances were further worsened by the injury that he sustained while batting for Somerset in 2014, as a swing delivery slipped through the gap between his helmet and visor, striking him hard directly in his eye. Although he was named in the provisional England squad for the 2015 cricket World Cup as there were positive speculations about his recovery, he was ultimately dropped out because of his persistent vision issues. Owing to his irreversible injuries and inconsistency, Craig Kieswetter officially announced his retirement from professional cricket in 2015 at the young age of 27. 

 Alex Hales 

Alexander Daniel Hales, popularly known as Alex Hales, has represented the English cricket side in a total of eleven test matches, seventy-five T20s and seventy ODIs. Hales has achieved some phenomenal feats in his cricketing career. He has established himself as the first English batsman to score a century after smashing a dominating total of 116* not out against South Africa in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 tournament. Hales played a crucial role in assisting the England cricket team to a fortunate victory at the 2022 T20 World Cup. Apart from his formidable achievements, Hales has also witnessed his share of lows. Earlier in 2017, Hales was suspended for an ugly altercation with his teammate Ben Stokes. 

Afterward, Hales also failed a recreational drugs test, forcing him to face an official ban of three years. At the age of 34, Alex’s controversial international cricketing career came to an end as he officially announced his retirement from international cricket. 

Graeme Swann

Graeme Swann is a name that disappeared from the annals of English cricket overnight. His retirement came as a major shock to his supporters and critics. Former professional English cricketer, Graeme Swann was a crucial member of the England squad that clinched the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 tournament. Swann proved his dominance in the game and established himself as the first English bowler to pick up fifty wickets in a year and clinched multiple Man of the Match awards. Furthermore, after Jim Laker, Swann became the second English player to take 10 wickets in a single match in 2010. Graeme Swann’s abrupt decision to retire from cricket took place between the Ashes Series of 2013. He was brutally criticized and trolled for leaving the team abruptly while it was already struggling. In a recent interview, the legendary off-spinner revealed his nerve problem in his elbow which compelled him to announce his abrupt retirement from the game.

Chris Lewis 

Chris Lewis has witnessed one of the most controversial cricketing careers in the history of English cricket. Although the English all-rounder represented England for eight years between 1990-1998 at the international cricket stage, playing a total of 32 tests and 53 ODIs, he still failed to meet the expectations of selectors and supporters. After his abrupt retirement from cricket in 2008, Chris Lewis was caught smuggling liquid cocaine illegally to England, resulting in a jail sentence. Chris Lewis has also authored a book titled “Crazy: My Road to Redemption” where he mentioned the dark controversies and instances that derailed his cricketing career.  

Monty Panesar 

One of the most stellar batsmen of the England cricket team, Monty Panesar’s cricket journey has been full of exciting ups and tragic downfalls. Panesar’s record for picking up 167 test wickets, earned him the most coveted “Wisden Cricketer of the Year ” award. With his destructive bowling attack, Monty Panesar came through as a nightmare for numerous batting legends, including Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni. However, it was in 2012 when Panesar’s downfall slid in, from alcoholism to divorce. Panesar landed into a streak of unending controversies which largely impacted his cricketing career. England’s finest frontline spinner, Monty Panesar officially announced his retirement in 2016. Since then, he has been working as a freelance journalist and writer.