I will now be writing a 4 part blog. 1st will be my best Test 11, Part 2 my best ODI 11 and the 3rd part my best T20 11. Finally the 4th will be my best all format 11. Join me in this journey in all 4 parts and i am sure it will be fun.
One disclaimer is that this will be limited to players I have actually seen live -on TV and in actual action , and hence immortals like Sir Don and Sir Gary will not be there.
Openers. Since i have not seen them, players like Jack Hobbs, Herbert Sutcliffe and Len Hutten can’t be there. However there still are some extraordinary batsman which makes selection a tough task
Who does one choose from a galaxy of stars like Gordon Greenidge, Geoff Boycott, Matthew Hayden, Alastair Cook, Graeme Smith, Sunil Gavaskar, Virendra Sehwag and so on to name just a few.
After deep thought I would go in for Sunil Gavaskar and Matthew Hayden. Sunny handled the feared West Indian fast bowlers in a manner which will remain in memory for a long long time. With him is Hayden who edges out Sehwag. Hayden as an aggressive dominating batsman will be a perfect foil to the steady, technically correct Sunny. Hayden also has the ability to hit big hundreds which will help the team immensely.
Middle Order. Here too, the stars are many. Richards, Lloyd, Border, Ponting, Gower, Sachin, Dravid, Lara, and many more. However, I will have Richards, Sachin and Lara at 3 to 5. Ponting very sadly misses out as Lara and Sachin get my nod ahead of him. Richards is my man at 3 as his very presence is inspirational. He edges out Dravid for the spot. Sachin is at 4 and Lara is at 5. While Sachin will provide stability , Lara will provide brilliance and strokeplay to take the match away from the opposition.
What about the crucial Number 6 spot. Will we have a batsman like say Ponting, or Laxman or even Younus Khan who has an incredible 4th innings record. Or will it be an allrounder like Kapil, or Imran or Ian Both or Hadlee.
After deep thought , i do go in for an allrounder and its Jacques Kallis, who as a batsman who has scored as much as gravid and who as a bowler has taken as many wickets as Zaheer Khan
For wicketkeeper, i will unhesitatingly go in for Adam Gilchrist. So many times we have seen in Test cricket that the opposition has somehow got Australia in a spot of bother at say 160/5 and then Gilchrist takes them to beyond 300 or 350 which is enough for their super attack of that time, Lee, McGrath, Gillespie and Warne.
Now spots 8 to 11 remain and i would select one spinner and 3 quicks. For spinner it has to be Shane Warne, who edges out Murali for the spot. Warne had the ability to take wickets at will while Murali comes a close second to him.
The 3 quicks create a big dilemma. Will it be Holding or Garner or Robert or Marshall. Or will it be Lillee- Thommo. Or Waqar-Akram, Donald-Pollock, Ambrose-Walsh, Steyn , Anderson or Lee-Mcgrath. There are so many exponents that choosing just 3 is an extremely difficult task
However task even if difficult has to be done. After deep thought i will go in for Akram, McGrath and Malcolm Marshall. Akram for his variety, and his being a left armer helps him immensely too. McGrath for his unyielding accuracy and Marshall for his frightening pace and ability to extract the maximum even out of batting tracks.
The playing 11 therefore is Sunil Gavaskar, Matthew Hayden, Vivian Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Jacques Kallis, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Glenn Mcgrath and Malcolm Marshall. The shrewd Sunny Gavaskar is the captain.
Do u agree with my choice of Test 11 ?