Dravid, Kumble not in 'dream team'
The duo does not figure in the all-time great Indian XI chosen by an elite panel to mark 75 years of Indian Test cricket.Updated: Jul 01, 2007, 16:23 IST
Rahul Dravid with the highest batting average (57.46) and Anil Kumble with by far the highest number of Test wickets (552) for India do not figure in the all-time great Indian XI chosen by an elite panel to mark 75 years of Indian Test cricket.
Elegant left-hander Sourav Ganguly, spinners BS Chandrasekhar and Bishen Singh Bedi also do not make it to the team selected by eight former Indian captains and a panel chaired by great off-spinner EAS Prasanna.
To mark 75 years since India played its first cricket match against England in 1932, eight former Indian captains -- G R Vishwanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, S Venkataraghavan, K Srikkanth, Ajit Wadekar, Nari Contractor, Syed Kirmani and Abbas Ali Baig -- were requested to pick their all-time India best Test XI.
From the selections made by the eight ex-captains, a panel consisting of Prasanna, well-known sports journalist Rajan Bala and PTI Editors came up with the all-time great XI.
Former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin, who left the game under a cloud, did not figure in any of the teams chosen by the ex-captains but the panel included him with Prasanna explaining that the Hyderabad player was the most elegant batsman who fitted in both conventional and unconventional cricket besides being one of the greatest fielders.
All time best Test team (in batting order):
Sunil Gavaskar (captain), Vinoo Mankad, Vijay Hazare (vice-captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammed Azharuddin, G R Vishwanath, Kapil Dev, Syed Kirmani (wk), Javagal Srinath, EAS Prasanna, Subash Gupte. 12th Man: Vijay Manjrekar.
Reserves: Mohammed Nissar, B S Chandrasekhar, Rahul Dravid.
Explaining the selection, Prasanna said on Sunday that the panel had taken note of the players' record, nature of opposition, talent and the balance of the side while finalising the team.
"It's a well-balanced team in any given conditions. The XI which we have picked will perform. It is an objective oriented team. What I have considered is a bowling combination capable of taking 20 wickets in a Test match under any given conditions with least number of runs conceded. When least number of runs are conceded in each innings, the side has a chance of winning the match."
Bala said the team would play well against all the teams in history, except probably against Don Bradman's 1948 Australian team which he rated as the greatest side ever. "Apart from that, this team has everything. This team can play well in whatever conditions they are confronted with."
On the choice of Gavaskar as captain, Prasanna said "he is a very intelligent captain. Gavaskar is such an excellent student of the game. He is such a good CEO, like of any organisation, who does not hesitate to express his view however senior one might be."
"This man (Gavaskar) has got capabilities in addition to his own quality as a batsman. I admire this fellow."
Prasanna said Vinoo Mankad and Kapil Dev were the two columns of the team. "In my opinion, the whole thing revolves around Kapil Dev and Mankad."
Prasanna said we had picked Vijay Hazare as the vice-captain though he deserved to be captain. "If you see the composition of the team there are many youngsters than players of his own era. Therefore, it becomes a lop-sided sort of an affair if he is picked as captain. Generational gap of an environment and ambience will be there."
He paid glowing tributes to Sachin Tendulkar, who alongwith Gavaskar and Kapil Dev, figure in all the teams picked by the former captains.
"In the present and past era I don't think any cricketer would have matched his talent. I cannot recollect a player who has dominated the game like Tendulkar."
Prasanna also singled out leg-spinner Subash Gupte for special praise. "I don't think cricket will ever see a bowler like Gupte. You may see Prasanna, Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Venkataraghavan and Shane Warne."
Explaining the inclusion of Javagal Srinath, Bala said "He was outstanding. His bad luck was many of his outstanding performances were in a losing cause."