Friday, August 13, 2010


Cricinfo is doing the selection of India's All-Time XI Team. I had been waiting for this for a long time. Last week, it was the question of openers... it was not too difficult a choice for me. This time, it is difficult. Very very difficult. This time, it is the selection of the middle order.

Over the past decade, India has had the most celebrated middle order in Test cricket... No. 3 Rahul Dravid, No. 4 Sachin Tendulkar, No. 5 Sourav Ganguly and No. 6 VVS Laxman. It just couldn't get bigger! The middle order was so firmly established that many other talented batsmen like Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif had to wait long for their chances. Some others tried a hand at opening the innings in order to fit it... most forget here that Sehwag was originally a middle order batsman before he was nominated as an opener in India's All-Time XI!

But this represents India only over the past decade (two, in SRT's case). One look at the other nominees in the list and the fact that Cricinfo has allowed a choice of only three middle-order batsmen compounds this selection dilemma even more. Here are all the nominees and their numbers in Test Cricket:

In my opinion, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid sealed their places in the Indian All-Time XI lineup quite some years back. As for the third slot, it was a very difficult wrestle in my head. It was a tough fight between VVS Laxman (for his ability to bail the team out from tight spots time and again), Sourav Ganguly (for his ability to make strong statements like at the Gabba... plus the fact that you do need a leftie to create balance in the team... and yes, he was India's best captain EVER), Mohammed Azharuddin (he was class... his 50 to 100 conversion rate in the figures above is mind-blowing) and Dilip Vengsarkar (I never saw him bat... but I do know that Sunil Gavaskar remarked in the late 1980s that the two best batsmen in Mumbai are SRT and Dilip Vengsarkar).

In the end, I went for Sourav Ganguly... for all the reasons as stated above. The team does need a left-hander... and if that left-hander is India's best captain ever with a decent batting average and a useful seam bowling option... then he must be drafted in immediately. And well, no one can deny that Dada was an enigma!

Lets wait and see whom does Cricinfo pick in its selection... though if either one of Dravid or Tendulkar is missing (not that I see them missing out... I'd be ready to bet my Firebolt on it), then I would rate this selection committee lower than the one headed currently by Mr. Cheeka!


Freehit said...

Hey Shri,
I completely agree that Dravid and Sachin must be in all time XI,but I don't agree with Ganguly's selection.Here they are planning to pick best middle order batsmen and not statement maker.He might be a good captain,but you don't pick 10 players and a captain.Rather,11 players should be picked and then 1 should be selected who can lead the best.

Unknown said...

Hi Mayank,

I get your point about Ganguly not being the best middle-order batsmen amongst the men in the nominations list. But his numbers read quite favourably compared to many others... and not to forget his very handy bowling.

Nevertheless, these varied views and opinions is what makes the selection of India's All - Time XI's middle order the most difficult task!

Siddharth said...

Gundappa Vishwanath for me as he had played West Indies Fast Bowlers at their prime. other players like ganguly could not stand fast bowlers of this decade.

Had tough choice between vishwanath and Laxman but chose vishwanath

Other two take their place automatically Dravid and SRT