With the practice matches getting underway, the build-up to the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England has well and truly begun. While the main games are scheduled to start from the beginning of next month, millions of fans across the globe are eagerly awaiting 4th June when arch-rivals India and Pakistan take on each other in a high-voltage encounter.
The India-Pakistan matches have always been the cynosure of all eyes. While it gives the players the chance to prove their mettle in nerve-wracking situations, some of these matches remain in the history books forever. There has been no dearth of talent when it comes to players from these two nations, and hence in this article, we take a look at the combined India-Pakistan all-time ODI XI.
Pakistan’s best-limited overs opening batsman till date, the ever elegant Saeed Anwar was one who always relied on timing and placement rather than brute force. Although he excelled in the Test arena as well, it was the ODIs where the southpaw stamped his authority with aplomb. His record 194 against India was the highest score in ODI history for 12 years before being broken by Charles Coventry in 2009. With 8824 runs from 244 innings including 20 centuries, Anwar’s ability to play big knocks makes him pip Virender Sehwag in the opener’s role.
Also Read: India-Pakistan: Top performers!
It is unthinkable to not have Sachin Tendulkar on any list. And this list is no exception. The first man to score a double century in ODIs not just holds the record for most runs and most centuries in the format, cricketing ‘God’ Sachin Tendulkar by default walks in any ODI XI till date. While his records and achievements speak for him, Sachin’s undying passion for the sport made him the game’s biggest icon. The ICC World Cup win in 2011 completed his full set of trophies before the Master bid adieu to ODIs in 2012. He finished with a staggering 18426 runs, which was laced with 49 glittering centuries.
A modern-day great, Virat Kohli’s ability to attain success against new challenges makes him a standout among his contemporaries. While he has had a mixed bag of fortunes in Tests, Kohli has been absolutely phenomenal in the limited overs format. Having already racked up 27 hundreds in 179 matches, Kohli is only batsman who looks to threaten Tendulkar’s records in ODIs. The ‘Ace of Chase’ thrives on proper cricketing shots but is not shy of launching verbal volleys on being provoked. Kohli’s stature is reaching new highs every day and when it comes to chases, he is the safest bet in the current era.
A real character on the field, Miandad was perhaps the best batsman Pakistan produced after Zaheer Abbas. The former’s exceptional talent of performing under pressure finds him a spot in our XI ahead of Abbas. Miandad might have scored only eight hundreds in 233 ODIs, but had an impressive average of 41.7. Three of those tons came against India, against whom he always brought out his A-game. There were few Pakistan cricketer who could play better mind games than him, but India will always remember Miandad as the one who smashed Chetan Sharma for a six in the final ball to win a match for his country.
An inspiration for one and all, the stylish Yuvraj Singh battled cancer and made a return to cricket field in phenomenal fashion. Getting very limited opportunities in Tests meant that Yuvi focused his energies entirely on the ODIs and T20s. On his day, he can destroy any opposition without much hassle, but his off-days are too difficult to digest for his fans. Nearing the end of his career, Yuvraj has already scored 8539 runs with 14 hundreds in 296 ODIs and thereby is the potent spin all-rounder in this team.
MS DHONI (C & Wk)
With an unparalleled ability to bring out the best out of his troops, the talismanic MS Dhoni is the captain of our team. Although he has a safe pair of hands behind the stumps, it is his unique ability to finish off matches from not-so-easy situations which makes MSD a must have in any ODI team. With every ICC trophy in his cabinet, Dhoni averages over 50 in ODIs in spite of just 10 centuries to show for. And when it comes to India-Pakistan matches, who can forget his blistering knock of 148 at Vizag in 2005, an innings which was a statement of Dhoni’s arrival in the international arena.
Under his able leadership, India bagged their maiden World Cup title in 1983. Kapil’s capability of swinging the cherry in all conditions made him a fearsome proposition with the bowl and a strike rate of 95 in batting meant he could smash any bowler in the opposition rank at will, something which he did umpteen number of times.
Pakistan’s best all-rounder till date, and arguably the second-best in the world after Sir Garfield Sobers, Imran Khan was an inspirational leader on and off the field as he led Pakistan to the 1992 World Cup title. Like Kapil, his solitary century in ODIs came in 1983 World Cup but he was a better bowler than his Indian counterpart. With 182 wickets and 3709 runs in 175 games, Imran was an instrumental figure in Pakistan cricket and was equally capable of wrecking havoc both in Tests and ODIs and hence is the second all-rounder in our side.
The ‘Sultan of Swing’ was best known for his ability to make the ball talk and leaving the batsmen dumbfounded. However, he was no pushover with the bat too. The second highest wicket-taker in ODIs with 502 scalps in 356 matches, Akram formed a dangerous bowling duo alongside the fearsome Waqar Younis. While he was not the greatest with the bat, the left armed pacer made amends with his deadly ability to swing the ball. After going wicketless in his first two ODIs, Akram showed his class in the third, bagging a fifer against Australia in Melbourne after which he never looked back.
Akram’s partner in crime and a veteran of many India-Pakistan battles, Waqar Younis was the modern architect of ‘reverse swing’. With a vicious Yorker up his sleeve, Waqar got the better of batsmen on 416 occasions in 262 games. His 7/36 against England is the 7th best bowling figures in ODIs and the second best in his country behind Shahid Afridi. His lusty hitting down the order was an added incentive for his team, but primarily it was Waqar the bowler who gave batsmen sleepless nights.
288 wickets in 169 ODIs is not enough as a testimony to Saqlain’s spin bowling skills, for he is better known as the inventor of the off spinner’s biggest weapon – the ‘doosra’. He enjoyed equal success both in sub-continent and in the pace-friendly countries. Saqlain held the record for the fastest 100 wickets in ODIs for 19 years before being finally broken by Mitchell Starc in 2016. Though his international career spanned for just about a decade, the offie is regarded as the best spinner to emerge from Pakistan.