India All Time XIs

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With Cricinfo currently starting on its Indian All-Time XI and with the Sri Lanka-India series providing as much excitement so far as an attack of measles, I thought this would be a good time to do my own India’s Best Test XI and Best One-Day XI.

A few assumptions. Only players who appeared for India post-independence were considered. Also the list is hopelessly biased towards players I personally saw, heard and read about.

For Test Matches

Openers: There is not really much room for deliberation here. Though not of opposing polarities in terms of the hands in which they hold their bats, they definitely are in terms of batting style. Which makes them a dream opening combination. Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag. One will shut the bowlers out with his impeccable technique while the other will hammer them into submission with force that even the Mahajan cannot match on his female friends.

Numbers three and four: The upper middle-order. Again surprisingly this is also a no-brainer. At number three, you just have to put in the Wall (the prospect of Sehwag getting out and Dravid and Gavaskar batting might be terrifying for many spectators) and at number four, the greatest batsman of the modern game saunters in, with the India flag on the helmet.

Numbers five: The last specialist batting spot is one where there is some room for uncertainty. If we were playing Australia, a case could be made for VVS. If we were playing against raw pace on a bouncy track, you would be hard-pressed to look beyond Mohinder Amarnath. If it was an Indian featherbed with the ball coming ankle-height, my money would be on Azharuddin. Polly Umrigar is another contender for the slot but his critics would point out his less-than-stellar record against the best of opposition on helpful pitches. Which leaves only one person—-adroit on all surfaces and masterful in strokeplay: Gundappa Viswanath. Number five was never really his spot but he still would be my choice as the last specialist batsman in this team.

Number six: The all-rounder slot. India has produced only two outstanding all-rounders in its history: Vinoo Mankad and Kapil Dev. What gives Kapil the advantage (and it is a big one) is that he is also India’s best fast bowler. That and riding BSA-SLR to a game, learning English using Rapidex and shaving with Palmolive.

Number seven: The wicketkeeper. While the temptation would be to put India’s best ever wicketkeeper-batsman (Mahendra Singh Dhoni), [that would definitely bring up the net earnings/player number considerably] considering the batting line-up ahead of him I would put my trust in the best specialist keeper India has had—-Syed Mujtaba Hussein Kirmani, more so since, as we shall we see, we will be playing three spinners.

The four bowlers:  The bane of Indian cricket, the paucity of quality pace bowlers, is evident when we come to the pool of bowlers. Who would share the new ball with Kapil Dev? Three names I can think of—Ramakant Desai, Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan. Ramakant Desai was reputed to be really fast and accurate but not having seen him, I have to go by exclusively by his statistics which do not suggest an all-time XI placement (he played very few Tests). Zaheer Khan brings a different angle of delivery than Kapil Paaji and is an expert proponent of the art of reverse swing. However I feel he has been far too inconsistent in his career to earn the tag of an all-time great Test bowler. Which leaves one choice. Srinath—India’s fastest bowler ever (better average than Zaheer). Yes I know. If you are still not getting what’s wrong with this picture, just think of the All Time XI Pakistan would have against us—Imran, Wasim and Waqar.

Most teams would have three fast bowlers in their Test side. But as Indians, we need to play to our strength. Spin. Of the three spinners, Anil Kumble selects himself. People may say he is not really a spin bowler but honestly when someone has won so many matches for India and taken so many wickets, who cares whether he spins the ball or not. Plus he would be the best person in the XI to be the captain. With Kumble as the leg-spinner, we need someone to spin it the other way. India has produced several quality off-spinners—Erapalli Prasanna, S. Venkatraghavan and Harbhajan Singh. Based on people who played against him and those who watched him play, Prasanna with his variation and loop is considered an all-time great while the rest are not. This leaves one slot.

In my XI, I would have B.S. Chandrasekhar there purely because of his unorthodoxy. In Test matches, one needs a shock bowler—-he might not work everyday but when he is on song, he becomes nigh unplayable. Chandrasekhar was one such X-factor player, whom Viv Richards rated as the most difficult bowler he has ever played. That endorsement in itself gets him into the last spot. Which means we have our XI.

1. S. Gavaskar

2. V. Sehwag

3. R. Dravid

4. S.R. Tendulkar

5. G. Vishwanath

6. K. Dev

7. S. Kirmani

8. A. Kumble [captain]

9. J. Srinath

10. E.Prasanna

11. B.S. Chandrasekhar

For One Day Internationals

Openers: If in the early 90s, someone had told me that an Indian All-Time XI for ODI would not have Srikkanth in it, I would have asked him what he was smoking and whether I could take a puff.  But in 2010, India have been so blessed up the order, that Krish has no place. The problem with that of course is he can become a selector and get Murali Vijay in but let’s leave that for now. In terms of candidates for Number 1 and Number 2 in the batting order, we have three giants: Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag. Because Sachin and Sourav have batted together for so long and are left-and-right-handed, I am going to pencil them in as my openers. It would be a crime not to pick Sehwag (though admittedly he is a better Test batsman than he is a One day one) if not for nothing else than the 103 career strike rate. Which makes me send him in at Number 3. Think of the bowling side who, when they see the back of Sourav or Sachin, will then see Sehwag coming in. Pity them fools.

Middle Order: With Sehwag at Number 3, one slot is taken care of. For a number four, I would like to have someone who can move the strike around, be solid technically and accelerate as needed. The person whom I have seen  play this role to a perfection was Mohinder Amarnath. Dravid could also be a candidate for this fall-back-man position if the opening dashers collapse but Amarnath, to his advantage, has his deceptively swinging medium-pacers, which won us a World Cup. Coupled that with the fact that he was a fairly decent fielder for his time (he used to lead the physical drills for the Indian team as the fitness-man) and one sees why Amarnath makes this spot his own.

Number five has two contenders. Polly Umrigar, considered India’s best batsman before Gavaskar, was also one of the biggest hitters of his era, known in the Carribean as a “palm-tree hitter”. His weakness, as alluded before, was against the best of opposition under bowling-friendly conditions, a weakness he shared with Mohammed Azharuddin, the other candidate for this slot. What edges Umrigar out however is Azhar’s sublime fielding skills. In 2010, with all the improvements in physical fitness and overall fielding standards, he still remains India’s best-ever ground fielder along with India’s best-ever “playing the field” guy.

Lower Order: At number six, we have the Haryana Hurricane. End of story. Number seven has Dhoni, India’s best keeper-batsman and a master of the art of batting in a limited over game. Number eight is for the bowling all-rounder. From what I have heard and read, there can be no one better than Salim Durrani for this position. My father always used to tell me that Durrani was born in the wrong generation—-today he would have been a rockstar. Easy on the eye (Parveen Babi made her debut opposite him), he was a very accurate left-arm bowler very difficult to get away and would be the ideal person to come in if a hurricane thirty runs was needed (In “Sunny Days”, Gavaskar wrote of how Durrani could hit sixes into the crowd on demand—-people would clamor for a six and he would send it right into their area)

Bowlers: With Kapil and Durrani being regular bowlers supported by the part-time skills of Amarnath, Sehwag, Sachin and Sourav, we need three more bowlers. Zaheer makes it here because of his yorker and because of his ability to reverse. Srinath will be the third fast bowler in the absence of options. (Again this is the weakest part of the team). The spinner’s slot once again goes to Anil Kumble despite Bhajji being the better batsman and fielder, simply because Kumble is streets ahead of Bhajji in the department that matters the most, skill.

So final XI.

1. S. Tendulkar

2. V. Sehwag

3. S. Ganguly (captain)

4. M. Amarnath

5. M. Azharuddin

6. K. Dev

7. M. Dhoni

8. S. Durrani

9. A. Kumble

10. J. Srinath

11. Z. Khan

As a bonus (which you wont find anywhere else), I include GB’s Mast XI. These guys may not win matches but I would love to see them play against Mars in a underhand one-drop-one-hand out cricket match for the fate of the solar system.

1. Sujith Somasundar (Sachin predicted this big-hitting dude would be India’s next big hope. He could not get the ball beyond 5 yards, one yard less than even Angshuman Gaekwad)

2. Arun Lal (For the sheer joy of hearing him telling the bowler gems like: You are bowling the ball. Hence you are the bowler. You need to take wickets and not give any runs.)

3. Vinod Kambli (If only Sachin had paid more attention to him…Bo hoooo……)

4. Yuvraj Singh (Aiee Ganpat zyara panee la, thoda table wable saaf kar dena yaar….[Link])

5. Atul Bedade ( The one whom Imran Khan called Bedaad)

6. Devang Gandhi (Because the Golden Rule of India is that anyone with the surname “Gandhi” is to be automatically chosen and made the captain)

6. Nayan Mongia (Nayan tarse,Taras na mile, Dono se bahe dhar, Nayan Tarse)

7. Ajit Agarkar (The Gary Sobers of an anti-matter universe)

8.  Ravindra Jadeja (For the sheer joy of watching him bat with Agarkar)

9. Bharati Arun (Fell down at the bowling crease in his first ever over)

10. Sreesanth (“We all go crazy sometimes” said Norman Bates of “Pyscho”. Well this is the man who is crazy all the time)

11. Noel David (Noel who?)

With apologies to Abey Kuruvilla, Ajay Sharma, Doda Ganesh, Raju Kulkarni, Raghuram Bhatt, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, W. V. Raman, Deep Dasgupta and many others…….

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97 thoughts on “India All Time XIs

  1. The saddest part of this selection is how easy it is to select an All Time Great XI. Shows how few great cricketers we have. But the good thing a lot of spots are taken by modern players. So things must be looking up. We are not like Australia who still have not been able to find a replacement for Bradman.

  2. How could you not consider Debasish Mohanty and Harvinder Singh for the GB XI (architects of many wins in the Sahara Cup) is beyond me :)

  3. Any all time XI would always have difference of opinion but I totally agree with ur mast XI. Also as u have excluded him expect a public statement from bedi anytime soon.

  4. No Bedi or Maninder there? At least one of them could have made it to the 3rd team. After all, just as the Gandhi factor in Devang Gandhi makes him entitled, one might argue that quotes, err… quotas too make players entitled. :-)

  5. I like this particular lie “Because the Golden Rule of India is that anyone with the surname “Gandhi” is to be automatically chosen and made the captain”

    Nice post as always.

  6. Almost agree with you on both the list. But I will have Zaheer in for Srinath as being an Indian team , it will play most of its matches in Indian conditions which these days are as much in favour of the bowler as the Icc is. And Zaheer is far better reverse swing bowler than Srinath was. you might have srinath if playing in Australia, but in India, in my opinion it has to be Zaheer.
    And you being you , I was initially sort of a bit disappointed at the first read that the list did not contain people like Sujit Somsundar & co. But then the bonus came and truly one can not find it anywhere else. Also while reading the bonus, I started wondering that where is the Noel David. And there he was hiding in the last spot as if the universe match was over and he has played his part. And thank God for rating Kumble ahead of the spin quartet and Baji.

    @RVP,
    entirely agree you on that.

  7. Laugh out loud funny. I annu mallikified the ‘Ai Ganpat’ bit into my FB status. Sorries!

    btw, my feelings are deeply hurted that Paras Mhambrey and Vikram Rathore did not make the team.

  8. yuvraj has to be in ODI XI..for his batting as well as left arm bowling..and fielding too. i think you got carried away by his current state of affairs.

  9. Where the hell is Shiv Sundar Das? He could so bore you to death that even a towel can’t save you. He is like The Wall with absolutely no runs.

  10. hmm..why dont u bengali’s think beyond ganguly in ODI’s i thght his brother was lott better than him incase the slots being reserved for begalis in this blog..

  11. ajay jadeja should have made to the one day list.
    highly under rated but has saved and won many matches from hopeless situations.

  12. great list of GB Mast XI. Test team looks rock solid, so does the ODI, but i doubt whether Dada is the right choice of being the captain.

    Considering so many mercurial temperaments in the team, as well as the egoes involved, i would put my money on Dhoni being the ODI captain, if only to crease out any hurt egoes, which Dada is more likely / prone to invoke.

  13. Good post … And Ganguly ws included as expected. I believe yuvi ws a better choice thn him while dhoni being the captain… bt well, cant challenge the bengali solidarity on this blog. I just request tht in case ganguly is again dropped , u people shouldnt support the rival team this time !

  14. GB, was surprised to see Javagal Srinath to make to this list – the same guy who was criticised on this blog for his display of dropped shoulders when hit for a boundry, his attitude etc.. I remember there was a whole post dedicated to him. Lucky guy – still made to All time XI list.

  15. Bedi over Chandra for Tests, surely.

    Amarnath for odi’s? I understand the bowling option argument, but with 4 specialist bowlers and plenty of part-time bowlers, I am not sure how valuable his dibbly dobblies are (we already have Ganguly to deliver those). Vengsarkar and Shastri are probably better choices from his contemporaries. But I would certainly pick Yuvraj over any of them.

  16. I’d have Jadeja/robin singh in place of Azhar…that might be shocking…Azhar was hands down the most stylish batsman in the one-day format, but you always counted on either of jadeja-robin to finish off games for India…even though a false hope it might have been on numerous occasions…and both were the first of the athletic fielders in team India who made a horrible fielding side look average…though azhar also had a safe pair of hands

  17. The real players are Lalit modi, sharad pawar, Jagmohan Dalmiya etc !

    And plz write abt the upcoming Commonwealth games. CAG had submitted report ( containing info abt mismanagement) a year ago but govt failed to put the report in parliament(Its compulsory). Now congress is looking for scapegoats. The real culprit is the political leadership itself. Such scandals are happening in every govt dept. Its shameless. Govt has failed. If Zardari is mr 10 percent, sonia is mrs 10 percent.

  18. Mast X1 should have included Michael Johnson as the main attacking bowler…remember the guy who was dubbed as the fastest bowler ever born in India. The last i remember of him was in a serie against SA where he was bowling and Geof Boycott commentating and saying, “This guy is bowling ruubbishhh, if i was the selector i will not allow him to play school cricket even”…. Unfortunately the fastest bowler disappeared after that series.

  19. India has produced so few all rounders, good bowlers that the choices look hopelessly obvious. There is hardly any scope of debate. Only debatable places in test side No5 Batsman, Last spinner. In ODI you have to choose 2 batsmen out of Azhar, Sehwag, Dravid and debate one bowler.

    You didn’t mention poor man’s Gary Sobers i.e. Manoj Prabhakar and his partner the sixer sidhu.

  20. Arnab, please lets have Shastri and Sidhu in all the possible teams, if only to prevent them from entering the commentary box!!

    What about coaches? For ODI it has to be John Wright, especially since Dada is the captain. For Tests? Wright, Wadekar, Kirsten?? Not sure.

    Of course, the Mast XI coach has to be Bishan Singh Bedi, so that we can hear some “Team is pathetic. Dump them in the solar system” and “That Martian is a Chucker” kind of headlines!!

    “Whatsinaname”: It was David Johnson, not Michael. He was part of the Karnataka golden-era remember? Dravid, Kumble, Srinath, Prasad, Johnson, Sunil Joshi, Bharadwaj, Dodda Ganesh etc.

  21. Agree with most of the that Shastri, Jadeja should have been there…but where is Aakash Madan Chopraa?

  22. Oh come on..Not even mentioning Ajay Jade-Ja,Robin Singh,Navjot sidhu?!
    I know they dont deserve in the best XI but still.

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  24. The following players have taken a strong objection for being left out of the MAST XI: Amay Khurasiya, Rahul Sanghvi, Nilesh Kulkarni, Sharandeep Singh, Vijay Yadav, Ajay Ratra, Jacob Martin, SS DAS and Sadgopan Ramesh. Reports are coming in that India TV has recorded their objections and now broadcasting a story “Aakhir Kyun nahi mili enko Jagah GB ki MAST XI mein?”

  25. Brilliant…now please do an all time Pakistan XI….pretty please! and then make them play in fantasy Pak 11 v India 11 match! :)

  26. I would have included Sanjay Manjrekar in the test team.

    Unlike India, a similar Pak team would have a number of players from the 60-70-80s Hanif Mohammad, Zaheer Abbas, Majid Khan, Imran, Javed Miandad, Qadir

  27. Test XI – No arguements about Nos 1 through 5. In my opinion, at 6 and 7, Kapil and Kirmani are both at one number too high. For all his explosive talents, Kapil was an underacheiver with the bat. I will not have a maverick who averages 31 batting at No 6 unless my No 7 is bloody good. Kirmani is at best a No 8. So if Kirmani has to play, I would boost my batting with a specialist No 6 and drop Chandra. No 6 would be one of VVS/Vengsarkar/Azhar. Kapil will bat at 7.

    The other option is to replace Kirmani with Dhoni. This is much better for team balance as it will still let you play 5 bowlers.I would have him batting at 6 and Kapil at 7. IMO, Kumble and Chandra are too similar. I would have Bedi playing instead of Chandra. That way, you are covering all your spin bowling bases. A leggie, an offie, and a left armer.

    ODI XI: The only contentious spot for me is Durrani’s. I would be reluctant to have a man who has never played an ODI in my all time ODI XI. With three fast bowlers and a spinner, I agree that this spot has to be filled by a spin bowling allrounder. I know most people will not agree with my pick for No.8 but I will stick with my guns. Its Ravi Shastri.

  28. No Bhupinder Singh Sr. in the Mast XI???. His bowling run up and action itself should ensure him a place in the Mast XI.

  29. For the test team, I think VVS is a better choice than GV. VVS has a higher average both home (47.3 to 48.8) & away (44.8 to 36.4). But with the players in the top 4 positions, none of this might matter :)

  30. Loved this one, awaiting your take o the CWG.

    Ajit Agarkar (The Gary Sobers of an anti-matter universe) ha ha ha

    The coach of the all time XI has to be Chappel.
    On popular demand, the waterboy i mean 12th man has to be Yuvraj. http://bit.ly/cHhnRe

    the GB XI needs more East Zone representation. Deep Das Gupta, Utpal dadu come to mind..

  31. Incredible Arnab da….. fatafati… I was thinking about commenting on the Test and Oneday XI… butGB’s Mast XI is awesome!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Why is Gagan Khoda not in the list. He should open the batting for India in ODIs. Look at his ODI stats, he’s got an average of 57.50(better than any other Indian batsman).

    He played in a tri series involving India, Kenya and Bangladesh and also has a high score of 89 against Kenya. :)

  33. Lala, Chiddu and “Elevation and distance” LSR should make it to the skimpily dressed cheerleaders 11- where LSR will unveil his 13 packs!!

  34. As someone already pointed out, thanks for rating Kumble to be India’s best spinner!!! He is miles ahead of any other Indian bowler (except, perhaps, Kapil)..

  35. @GB

    literal translation of anti-matter in bengali is “apadartho”. Is that what you had in mind while describing Ajit Agarkar?

  36. The test team would match mine, though VVS would have given Vishy a run for money anywhere. As for the ODIs, if you’re willing to pick non-ODI players like Durrani, I think you could’ve picked our original six-hitter CK Nayudu ahead of Amarnath, and more importantly, Bapu Nadkarni ahead of Durrani to have spells resembling 10-5-8-0 on a regular basis, as well as hold the tail together when needed.

  37. I strongly object to Gagan Khoda aka sky-digger( “maine gagan ko khoda..naam hain mera gagan khoda”) being left out in the cold. He along with Praveen Amre aka pitch digger who made have made the perfect opening pair for GB Mast XI. Also Amre digging the pitch while taking stance will help Noel David to extract more turn..also how does Nayan Mongia get the nod over Parthiv Patel or Saba Karim for that matter? Very dissapointing.

  38. Hey GB I also wanted to see your take on India’s Best T20 team…
    although T20 is a young format but 3 World Cups,3 IPLs and 1 Champions League is enough to atleast warrant a mention..

  39. hi

    i agree wih most of it but feel we should have:

    dilip vengasarkar in the test team in the middle order – that man has been the unsung hero of indian cricket and belongs right up there…in fact he has saved and won more matches for indian cricket in both one-dayers and tests…also a reliable slip fielder…

    another observation:

    five people are common in both squads – sachin, sehwag, kapil, kumble and srinath…testimony to their great abilities to adapt to different versions.

  40. Its awesome that some true blue indians like mayank sharma, venkat and mohan have doubts about picking ganguly ahead of yuvraj in the ODI team.

  41. @identicaltwin

    They all live in “an antimatter universe” and have chosen their own ODI team with Ravindra Jadeja as the opening batsman and Agarkar as captain!

  42. 12th man: Fake IPL Player, for the gossips.

    Ajit Agarkar (The Gary Sobers of an anti-matter universe). :)
    One of the best cricket quotes ever. Highest tribute to Sobers, civilian or uncivilian, ever. :)

    One thing about selecting all time 11s is that with such greats in batting followed by an all-rounder, you should never select bits and pieces bowlers. You should go for genuine bowlers. You did a good job by selecting Srinath’s inswingers to Kapil’s off for tests, but I will not have Srinath in ODIs. I will go for the reverse swing of Manoj Prabhakar.

    Given the unpredictability of Chadra, he should only play on certain types of pitches. You should play an extra seamer in Zaheer or another spinner.

    One criteria that you haven’t discussed in odis is fielding and strike rate. Ganguly will have to be hidden somewhere. Fielders like Shastri with that batting strike rate-forget it. Never. I would also keep Yuvraj Singh at bay. Suresh Raina also will surely be a great player. He has rightfully replaced Y in tests. Players like Prabhakar and jadeja on the bench will also give company to Azhar when he fixes matches with Imran/Wasim/Salim Malik in Sharjah.

  43. I would have really added Doda Ganesh in the Mast XI list. The Arun lal gem : “you are bowling the ball. Hence you are the bowler. You need to take wickets and not give any runs” would have perfectly applied to this guy. I remember him playing a test series againt S.Africa a long time ago and seriously he had not clue how to bowl, no concept of something called stumps in cricket and somehow would manage to bowl consistently wide in tests!! He could run faster then the speed of his delivery…painful but was somewhat hilarious to watch him bowl.

    Another player i would add is Vikram Rathod, an opening batsman. This guy would give a practice catch session to wicketkeeper and slip fielders, he was a frightened pigeon against any bowling attack, you could see terror on his face facing fast bowlers and funny enough he was opening for India

  44. The Mast XI is finally a LOL post. missing that on your blog for quite some time.

    small technical query … i saw the post on my opera browser on samsung phone first. but when i visited the website through firefox on my laptop … the post was still not there. this has happened on an earlier post as well.

  45. Mast XI should also have the following posts:

    Coach: Greg Chappell (Who else?)
    Bowling Coach: Salil Ankola (Who could also teach a thing or two about acting during an appeal!)
    Manager: Lalit Modi (For his superb organizational skills, especially when it comes to after-match parties.)
    Selector: Kiran More (How else would the Mast XI be chosen?)
    Celebrity Sponsor: Vijay Mallya (The team needs to be Mast!)
    Celebrity Fans: Asin, Kim Sharma and Geeta Basra. (For the fireworks!)
    Physio: Baba Ramdev (Getting out on a duck is a disease!)
    Team CEO: Charu Sharma (Who else would answer the probing media questions!)

    Would there be any other posts?

  46. As observed by people who are much more knowledgeable than me, apparently, Kumble and Chandrashekhar are one of a kind per their bowling. I would go with one left arm orthodox bowler, possibly Bedi.

  47. India Tests (XI) :
    1.Gavaskar (C)
    2.Sehwag
    3.Dravid
    4.Tendulkar
    5.Vishwanath
    6.Amarnath
    7.Kapil Dev
    8.Kirmani (WK)
    9.Kumble
    10.Zaheer
    11.Prasanna/Srinath (depending on pitch+conditions)

    India Limited Overs International XI :
    1.Tendulkar
    2.Ganguly (C)
    3.Sehwag
    4.Azhar/Dravid (depending on pitch+conditions)
    5.Yuvraj
    6.Kapil Dev
    7.Prabhakar
    8.Dhoni (WK)
    9.Kumble
    10.Harbhajan/Srinath (depending on pitch+conditions)
    11.Zaheer

  48. Long time since I posted but how can i not after reading abt “The Gary Sobers of an anti-matter universe”!!! AWESOME!!!

    Do you realize that a lot failed cricketers have al become Ranji coaches ? Dahiya, Bharadwaj are the first few I can think of. Atleast they are better than Sir John Buch when their playing records are considered.

    And .. I was expecting Mandira Bedi to open with Arun Lal in the GB XI :D

  49. Thanks for the picking Mohinder Amarnath, the technical expert on fast bowling. He would get the line in the 1st over, then go after the swing, and then the length, after which he would dictate terms to the bowler! Being a swing bowler himself helped a lot I guess. With Kapil it was “play fire with fire”. It was one bowler other fast bowlers feared. in his debut series in Pakistan, Kapil in the 2nd Test at Lahore, silenced Sarfraz Nawaz. Hardly anyone in the Pak team knew that Kapil was an all rounder in university. After the Sahiwal 1-dayer when Bedi walked off the field because Sarfraz was bowlig bouncers non-stop. Kapil the batsman at the receiving end decided to give it back in Lahore. And did he! Sarfraz was done in at the end of a v.hostile spell, when Kapil got a scuffed up ball to repeatedly buzz around Sarfraz’s head one over. A few years later in Chennai, Kapil took strike against a new ball flinging Imran, sans helmet or any such thing. The 1st bouncer was ignored, the next partil bouncer was pulled for a boundary, the 3rd bouncer was hooked for a six. Imran never tooled around Kapil after that.

  50. I have been reading a lot of the teams selected by the general cricket loving junta… and what has been striking is the number of people opting for Eknath Solkar !!

    Our PT teacher used to tell us stories about Ekki and his fielding prowess , but to select him in the all time eleven , is taking it far too ahead. I checked his stats on cricinfo and realised that he was even worse at batting and bowling than I had thought.

    27 matches – 1 century – 1000 odd runs at an average of 27 !
    and just 18 test wickets at an average of 59 and SR of 120 smthing..

    I so wish people who selected him in the eleven try explaining what were they thinking !

  51. GB, maybe you forgot a Savita Bhabhi’s favorite XI, or a Desibaba XI.

    And any posts in pipeline for our good Senator , Chuck Schumer?

  52. Test Lineup:

    Gavaskar
    Sehwag
    Dravid
    Sachin
    Laxman
    Dhoni
    Kapil
    Kumble
    Zaheer
    Prasanna
    Gupte – Sobers said the best he ever faced ! He loses nothing in comparison to quatret

    ODI

    Sehwag
    Sachin
    Sourav
    Dravid
    Azhar
    Dhoni
    Durrani / Yuvraj
    Kapil
    Bhajji
    Zaheer
    Kumble

  53. @Kaangeya
    Superb.
    Can we have some more.
    Or at your website perhaps.
    @GB
    Nice post.
    Pl. take it forward from here. Perhaps we can have India A teams in all categories also.
    BTW has everybody forgotten Sadanand Vishwanath the keeper? GB pl. do a follow up post on forgotten heroes.

  54. 1. The batting line up of the test team is a little shallow, especially because we are going to face:
    a) Marhsall, Holding, Ambrose, Sobers
    b) Lillie, McGrath, Thomson, Warne
    c) Imran, Waqar, Wasim, Fazal
    d) Botham, Flintoff, Willis, Snow
    e) Hadlee, Cairns, Bond, Vettori
    f) Donald, Pollock, Kallis, Procter

    I think we need to play both Kapil and Mankad and consequently drop Chandra to get the balance right.

    2. Very close call as you said, but I will pick Lakshman ahead of Vishwanath.

    3. You must at least consider Yuvraj for the no. 5 spot of ODI XI.

  55. Yuvraj has scored 7000+ runs at a strike rate around 90. And you include him in the list of guys that may not win you a game…..Did u try to count the number of games Azar or Amarnath won for India?
    You have given the list as much attention as the Mahajan boy gives to the females in his life….:))

  56. Any all time great list is likely to evoke a lot of debate.

    Would largely agree with your selection other than Yuvraj in the Mast XI. He may be going through a tough time, but too good a player to feature on that list.

    Second observation; there is absolutely no doubt about a certain S. Ganguly featuring in the ODI list. For all who want to counter that, please substantiate your arguments with some facts, stats and sensible judgement instead of accusing GB of having a bias.

  57. Nice post GB.

    I guess u missed out one name in GB XI, i.e. gr8 Mr Gyanendra Pandey, a man known more for hitting his wife than hitting the cricket ball on the field (he was considered a bowler who can bat)…. All the wickets he got were more because batsmen were anticipating some spin from a supposed spinner, but that was never the case with mr. pandey.

  58. We overlooked the talented Raju Kulkarni, who nearly busted our TV speakers when he landed on his ankle (of his unique side on action), and disappeared from TV screen only to be seen on his haunches in the bowling crease. The volume of stump mics was not lowered in those times and you had everyone in the splits.

  59. Agree with all the selections, especially the captain in either variant, top class selection indeed.. kudos to your expertise in not mentioning the name of Vengsarkar, I was a fan of his during my early years of cricket watching but he unfortunately was not good enough..

    Srinath getting a nod in both forms of the game ahead of greats like Amarnath Gavaskar Vishy Azar Laxman speaks volumes about the depth we had in our batting and lack of the same in pace bowling department

    liked your logic on the keeper selection of Keepers

    however, though he is in news for many wrong reasons, i still find the exclusion of yuvi a little hard to digest (more than the dilemma you faced in the srikanth omission) for the simple reason that hez been our number one player when it comes to courage in adversity situations in ODI’s and has bailed his team out in never seen manner by Indian cricket lovers, his selection is purely based on ability and accomplishments in ODI scenarios and with dada as captain he wouldn’t take grip of proceedings as he did when Dravid was at the helm..

    & for your mast 11 you forgot the awesome brother & brother in law duo of ashish kapoor and vik rathore, what torture that duo was along with pace merchant harvinder singh..

    would like you to come up with a list of all time great commentary cliches, top 20 at least, that will be great fun to read..

  60. With apologies to Abey Kuruvilla, Ajay Sharma, Doda Ganesh, Raju Kulkarni, Raghuram Bhatt, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, W. V. Raman, Deep Dasgupta and many others

    What about Mohanty, harvinder Singh, nilesh kulkarni, Vijay Bharadway, Thiru Kumaran, Tinu Youhanan, David Johnson, Pranjpe, Aashish Kapoor, Sairaj Bahutule, Rahul Sanghavi, Sarandeep Singh,

    These guys did represent India at Test and ODI levels so mediocre they were (except Mohanty) that they may even find it difficult to get into the Indian side planning to tour Zimbabwe/Nigeria/Bangaladesh

  61. It’s pretty easy to be sarcastic about people who represented India and did much better than what you have ever managed to do. At least Yuvraj won us a World Cup, the best you have done is to crack a stupid joke to make a few idiots laugh.

  62. Found this comment smwhr -

    “Ravindra Jadeja is Dhoni’s surprise weapon for the World Cup. He will persist with him till just before, and drop him for the Cup. Then the other teams won’t know where to run!”

  63. Great Post GB,but even I think you are being a bit too harsh on Yuvraj…he needs a lot of discipline…but not a spot in the Mast XI

    My Mast team would be

    1)Lalchand Rajput (yeah, he played)
    2)W.V Raman (far better off as a Bengal Coach)
    3)Polly Umrigar( He actually ran away from the ground in fear of pace)
    4)Vikram Rathod (remember?)
    5)Jatin Paranjpe (Sachin’s worst influence in Indian Cricket)
    6)Manoj Prabhakar (He sold out…and now the world knoews it)
    7)MSK Prasad ( Thank god we have a MSD now)
    8)Aashish Kapoor (The greatest off spinner we ever had)
    9)David Johnson ( What pace man, the ball used to reach the boundary before you could blink !)
    10)Venkatesh Prasad ( He once bowled a slower ball to Andrew Hudson which had reached the keeper by the time Gary Kirsten had reached the batting end )
    11)Maharaja Vizianagram ( He doesn’t bat or bowl, but we need a Captain)

    That will do… both for Test and ODI’s.

  64. Hi GB,

    I’m actually surprised that you didn’t even mention ML Jaisimha, forget select him. That said, I love your post. Especially the Noel David part! :D

  65. GB. Post Mohali test (add the previous test in Colombo) all time test XI deserves correction. All debates on final specialist batsman should be put to rest now. Laxman’s name needs to be taken in same breath as top 4 in the list. His runs, average, centuries may not speak the whole story but legend he is.
    Request you to write a dedicated piece on him.

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