Cerebral Shangrila

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Best Indian Cricket XI (Tests)

It is a lazy Saturday morning and I am browsing through "Tabla" - a local tabloid for the NRI community in Singapore. There are the usual "NRI"sh articles, new restaurant ads (how many more Indian restaurants can SG handle?) and then there is an article on possible candidates for the "Best Indian Test XI".

Here is my best XI ( and the reasons) :

Some players auto-select themselves. It is impossible to imagine an Indian XI without Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Kapil Dev. Let us now delve deeper into who makes the cut:

1. Opener - Gavaskar - Is there any choice other than Gavaskar ? His record speaks for itself. This man is a true legend. Call him selfish, dictatorial but never ever go to WI, South Africa or Aus (or any true world class pitches) without him.

2. Opener - Sehwag - Five years ago, I would have never chosen him. He has come a long way now and has proven himself on many occasions that there is as much substance to him as style.

3. Dravid - The Great wall of India. Highly consistent and disciplined, he is an asset to any team. Has performed very well both at home and abroad and can be the sheet anchor if Sehwag falls early.

4. Tendulkar - Arguably one of the greatest players of this generation, Sachin is a class apart.

5. G.Viswanath - This is a debatable choice but Vishy is a personal favorite. He is definitely the most stylish player that India has ever produced. No one has square cut the ball with such elan as Vishy. He is like Steve Waugh in many ways, if he comes to bat when the team is 300/1, Vishy would get out soon but put him to bat when the team is 30/4, he works wonders.

6. Kapil Dev - Greatest all-rounder India has ever produced. Period. He taught Indians what true all-rounder skills are all about.

7. Vinoo Mankad - The second best all-rounder India has ever produced. Can bat in any position and had tremendous control over his flight. Extremely prolific with both the bat and ball, he won several matches for India single-handedly.

8. Kirmani - If we are selecting the best keeper, he is the one. Kept for the spin quartet and Kapil with equal ease. Can also be extremely handy with the bat (Don't forget that he scored a century as a night watchman).

9. Srinath - The best fast bowler India produced after Kapil. His pace can be extremely lethal and later in his career also managed to add variety to his bowling.

10. Prasanna - The best spinner India ever produced. Pras had amazing control over the flight and the ball always managed to drop a inch shorter than what the batsman expected. The fact that Sobers considers him the best spinner, speaks volumes of his talent.

11. Chandra - Can be deadly and unplayable on certain tracks and in his day. He was the most unpredictable bowler that India ever produced. Can win matches single handedly and performed with great consistency even abroad (which is where Kumble loses to him).

Players who came close and didn't make it :

Dhoni - Dhoni is a better all-rounder but as a keeper, he loses to Kirmani. With too many good bats in the team, there is no reason to compromise on a keeper.

Kumble - Loses to Chandra by a narrow margin.

Vijay Hazare - Have heard a lot about him but Vishy is too good to be dropped.

Umrigar - Great all-rounder ; but Mankad is a shade better.

Engineer - Same reason as Dhoni.

Bedi - Chandra has better variety and the "wow" factor.

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