Inda is about to play its 900th ODI match and on the verge of creating history again. A journey which started in 1974 has come a long way now with 214 players imprinting their footsteps on the path till date.
Picking an All-Time ODI XI for a country such as India where Cricket is considered as a religion is never easy. Barring some obvious picks in Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Kapil Dev and Virender Sehwag, we had a difficult time in deciding the rest of the team. Yet we finally succeeded and here we present our list of the Greatest Indian ODI XI –
The Charismatic Openers – Sehwag & Ganguly
Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly have opened for India on numerous occasions and have formed a lot of memorable partnerships. Both are amongst the top run-scorers for India in ODIs, Sehwag has nearly 8000 runs to his name while Ganguly has 11000 odd runs to his name as well.
While Virender Sehwag is someone who follows a ‘See the ball, hit the ball’ mantra, Ganguly is someone who can play the second fiddle to Sehwag and accelerate whenever required. So, this ideal opening pair that has served Indian cricket so well over the years is our choice as the opening pair as well.
The Ever Dependable Middle order – Tendulkar, Kohli & Yuvraj
The middle order forms the backbone for any team and having multi-dimensional batsmen at these positions is very important to the team’s cause.
Sachin Tendulkar, the ‘God of Cricket’ enters into the All-Time ODI XI at No.3 without any doubt.
However, the real trouble came when we had to pick one player between Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid and Mohammad Azharuddin. Initially, it seemed impossible to choose between the three but ultimately we arrived at the decision to choose Kohli over Dravid and Azharuddin as Kohli has a better average and strike rate in ODI cricket.
Moreover, his ability to dig the team out of trouble and play the aggressive role whenever required was also a key.
When it came to selecting someone batting at No. 5 in the team there seemed to be no one in the near vicinity of Yuvraj Singh to play that role. Being Man of the Series in both of India’s World T20 triumph in 2007 and World Cup triumph in 2011.
The Most Reliable Finishers – MS Dhoni and Kapil Dev
MS Dhoni and Kapil Dev, two of India’s greatest captains ever, will play the finisher’s role at No.6 and 7 for this squad. However, we decided to hand over the responsibility of captaincy to Dhoni along with Wicket-keeping duties considering his success as the Indian captain. There was no other alternative to Dhoni who has 9000 ODI runs and 350 dismissals to his name.
Kapil Dev will also be the third seamer for this squad as everyone knows that he was one of the greatest swing bowlers in the world during the 1980s with 253 scalps to his name. The legendary all-rounder also scored 4000 runs in ODIs and used to be a nightmare for the bowlers in the death overs.
The Match Winning Bowlers – Kumble, Harbhajan, Srinath and Zaheer
Bowlers are the ones who can win you matches when the batting chips are down. So, it is necessary to have quality bowlers in the side and we didn’t have to toil hard to choose them. While Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh appeared as the obvious choices as spinners, Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath stood above all as the pacers.
Everyone is familiar with the deadly spin combination of Kumble and Harbhajan as they have 602 ODI wickets to their name in total. Even Srinath and Zaheer have near about 600 wickets to their name combined in ODIs.
So with these players selected, our All-Time ODI XI finally becomes complete and looks strong on paper to beat even the best of present day ODI teams.