Thursday, February 3, 2011

India's Greatest ODI XI

Although it is nearly impossible to pick a team comparing players from different eras, I have tried my best to pick 11 players among all Indian players who have played ODI cricket for Team India based on CNN-IBN's attempt to do the same.

Main criteria for this team are :
1. Team balance - I wouldn't want the team to end up with 8 batsman and 1 fast bowler just because we have produced a lot of world-class ODI batsmen, while we can't the same about fast bowlers.
2. Talent and Longevity - I've tried my best to balance out the two.

Team :

Team with WC stats only.

1. Sachin Tendulkar : Duh! A very obvious choice at the top of the order. I wouldn't dare think any being that follows Indian Cricket would keep Tendulkar out of an all-time Indian Team, be it Test or ODI.

2. Virender Sehwag : Here rises a situation of being caught between the devil and the deep blue-sea. I was really tempted to open with Ganguly-Tendulkar. But I'll pass that opportunity to open with Sehwag, considering after his early career he has seldom played down the order. I know some of you point how that Sehwag has an average in the 30s in ODIs and hasn't been as effective as he ahs been in Tests, but Sehwag remains a destructive batsman who you just cannot ignore in any format of the game.

3. Sourav Ganguly(c) : A position where Ganguly usually batted later on in his illustrious career after Sehwag, Gambhir and Uthappa burst onto the scene. I think there is no denying Ganguly a place in this team, he was an absolute legend in the ODI format of the game. Captain of my team as well.

4. Rahul Dravid : Another legend of Indian Cricket. Having scored over 10,000 runs in ODI runs in International Cricket, he walks straight into the team although he doesn't seem to walk into the Indian ODI Team anymore.

5. Mohinder Amarnath : This was a tough spot to fill. I was in a dilemma to choose between between Mohammad Azharuddin and Mohinder Amarnath, stuck with the latter on the fact that he is a much better bowler(understatement of this piece) and played a big role in two of India's greatest moments in the World Cup.

6. Yuvraj Singh : Another talent like Sehwag who I have chosen for his pure ability to being able to change games in a matter of instances. Batting at a position where he started his career at, Yuvraj should be comfortable batting at the end of the innings.

7. Kapil Dev : India's only World Cup winning captain and one of the greatest cricketers to have ever step foot on the planet, Kapil Dev was a hard hitting batsman and an excellent bowler. He was also one of the better fielders, Indian Cricket has produced. The most perfect player to have in a team to add balance.

8. Syed Kirmani : Some people might criticize me for going with Kirmani over MS Dhoni but the reason, I have done that is because the batting line-up is already very strong and I wanted someone who was outstanding behind the stumps. Besides that, I'm not one who rates Dhoni's batting very highly though obviously I would say Dhoni is a better batsman than Kirmani was.

9. Zaheer Khan : I was stuck with another dilemma here, to go with 2 spinners or not. I decided to go with 1 spinner in the end as I would take Zaheer in my team any day of the week over Harbhajan Singh.

10. Javagal Srinath : One of Indian Cricket's only bright lights in the fast bowling department over the years. Has a record almost identical to Zaheer's current ODI record.

11. Anil Kumble : Walks into the team ahead of Harbhajan Singh. Highest wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs for India. Enough Said.

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