India are currently playing their 500th Test, against New Zealand at Green Park in Kanpur. Cricwaves picks its all-time favourite XI, as a celebration of 500 Tests.
Sunil Gavaskar: An easy choice for opener, Gavaskar was the first batsman to score 10,000 Test runs, and 30 Test hundreds. In 125 Tests, he amassed 10,122 runs with 34 hundreds and 45 fifties, with a best of 236 not out. Gavaskar scored runs against the best of attacks, including the deadly West Indian fast bowlers at their peak.
Virender Sehwag: For his destructive value and sheer volume of runs, Sehwag comes in as the other opener. He scored two triple hundreds and a 293 in his career. In all, he smashed 8586 runs at an average of just under 50, with 23 hundreds and 32 fifties at a strike rate of 82.23.
Rahul Dravid: At number three, there cannot be anyone else other than Dravid. The Wall played 154 Tests and scored 13288 runs at an average of 52.31 with 36 hundreds and 63 fifties. His Adelaide effort of 233 and 72 not out was the standout performance.
Sachin Tendulkar: The number four slot is also reserved, for none else but the god of cricket. Tendulkar has scored most Test runs – 15921, most hundreds – 51, at an average of 53.78. He scored runs against all opponents in all sorts of conditions. Nothing more needs to be said.
VVS Laxman: His numbers may not be as impressive, but Laxman’s ability to play match-winning knocks gives him a slot. His 281 was a turning point in Indian Test history. In 134 Tests, he scored 8781 runs at an average of just under 46, with 17 hundreds and 56 fifties.
Vinoo Mankad: He was the best all-rounder India produced before Kapil Dev. In 44 Tests, Mankad scored 2109 runs at an average of 31.47 with five hundreds. With the ball, he claimed 162 wickets, with eight five-wicket hauls and two ten-wicket hauls.
Kapil Dev (captain): The World Cup winning skipper should lead the team. In 131 Tests, he claimed 434 wickets with 23 five-wicket hauls and two ten-wicket hauls. With the bat, he scored 5248 runs at an average of 31.05 with eight hundreds.
Syed Kirmani: He pips MS Dhoni since he was a highly-skilled keeper and Dhoni didn’t do well enough with the bat. In 88 Tests, Kirmani claimed 160 catches and effected 38 stumpings. With the bat, he scored 2759 runs with two hundreds.
Anil Kumble: India’s most successful bowler, the leggie claimed 619 wickets in 132 matches with 35 five-wicket hauls and eight ten-wicket hauls. He also has a Test hundred to his name.
Zaheer Khan: Kapil will be supported by Zaheer in the team. In 92 Tests, he claimed 311 wickets with 11 five-wicket hauls and one ten-wicket haul. Zaheer’s guile and reverse swing made him doubly dangerous.
BS Chandrasekhar: It is difficult to pick one from the famous spin trio. But, Chandra makes the cut for his x-factor. In 58 Tests, he claimed 242 wickets at an average of 29.74 with 16 five-wicket hauls and two ten-wicket hauls.
--By A Cricket Analyst