There’s no one with more clarity of thought than Dilip Vengsarkar when it comes to judging talent. His record as a national selector bears testimony to that. From picking Virat Kohli to appointing MS Dhoni as captain, he has always followed his gut. For him, selection is more than dry stats.
But this was an exercise any selector would find daunting. “To pick the current XI is fine but to select eleven men across different generations is an impossible task,” exclaimed Chandu Borde. The former India captain is a veteran of many selection committee meetings, having served with distinction as the chairman of the selection committee. No one is better equipped to judge the greats from the 1940s and 1950s, not to mention players from other eras.
As India face New Zealand in Kanpur for the historic 500th Test, the mind delves into the rich history of our cricket, a history full of accomplishments and famous players from varied backgrounds who stamped their authority and raised India’s stature on the world stage.
On the occasion of the landmark, HT decided to assemble a team of highly accomplished Indian stalwarts to pick the country’s all-time best XI. The elite panel included former India captains Vengsarkar and Borde, former India batsman Pravin Amre and former all-rounder Yajurvindra Singh.
They met on Tuesday, with Borde joining in via telephone from his residence in Pune, to pick a balanced side which would best represent the ethos of Indian cricket. It wasn’t easy.
The quartet dug deep into the past, with a multitude of anecdotes and laughs during the discussion. In the end, though, many hard decisions needed to be taken and the panel came to a consensus, picking XI men after long-drawn deliberations.