“Imagine there’s no countries. It isin’t hard to do.” – John Lenon
Close your eyes and think. Think if there were no boundaries. Think if you could take a 15 minute drive from Amritsar to meet your friends for a cup of tea in Lahore. Think of boarding a bus from Jaisalmer to meet your better half across the border. Think if there was no partition. Think if we had one cricket team. One HELL of a cricket team!
Here we present what we arguably think is the best all time Undivided XI to play one day cricket. Do take note that the players included here are the ones who were active post 1990(sadly Sunil Gavaskar and Zaheer Abbas miss out). Let’s have a look:
1. Sachin Tendulkar: The God of cricket is the automatic choice to open the batting. Skill, technique,temperament, class; He has it all. He is God afterall and God is perfect. Isin’t he?
2. Saeed Anwar: The classy left hander was a tough selection and was opted over the likes of Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly. The reason why was simple: he was the ideal mixture of both; like Ganguly he was gifted with timing and similarly could take the attack to the opposition anytime like Sehwag. It was no wonder that he held the record for the highest score in one day cricket (194*) for such a long time. Being a left hander would give the team an ideal left and right hand bat opening competition.
3. Virat Kohli: Agreed that there are other greats who could possibly take his position (Inzamam,Dravid) but one just could not leave out this man from the team. At number 3 he is the right man to take in charge.His all-round batting ability puts him a class above the rest as far as the one day format is concerned. Lethal in the field there is only one way in which he knows how to play the game and that is to ‘attack’.
4. Javed Miandad: Much like Virat Kohli, Miandad was an extremely tough competitor. The best thing about this man was that he revelled under pressure and produced his best. In short, Javed was a big match player with solid temperament which made him a pick above the likes of Azharuddin and Inzamam.
5. Yuvraj Singh: There will be many who will argue about this selection. Many would say that he is not even in India’s 2015 World Cup team then how come he made the cut for the All Time XI? The simple answer to this question is that he is not only a match winner but can also win a tournament single-handedly. He won his country the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2015 World Cup with his heroics. Such players are born only once in a lifetime and there was no way one could ignore this man.
6. MS Dhoni (wk/c): The wicketkeeper batsman made it to the team almost as an automatic selection. He did not have tough competitors for this place and even if he did he would still make this team. Notwithstanding the presence of other greats like Imran Khan and Kapil Dev,Dhoni is easily one of the best captains the game has ever seen. To handle a team full of superstars there is no better man. Helicopter shot anyone?
7. Imran Khan: Aura and charisma are two words that define this gentleman. Credited with taking Pakistan cricket to the next level Imran Khan is the allrounder which any team will be blessed to have. He was a close second to lead the team but lost out to Dhoni purely on the basis of big ticket tournaments that the Indian captain has won.
8. Kapil Dev: The “Haryana Hurricane” is that spark of brilliance the “galacticos” filled All Time XI requires. He can produce moments of brilliance both with the bat and ball whenever required. Throw the ball to him and he will get you a wicket. Ask him to attack and he will probably smash the ball out of the ground. A true team man who believed he could win from any position.
9. Wasim Akram: The “Sultan of Swing”. Like Tendulkar he has no other contemporary of his times who could match his talent and ability. Like Tendulkar he is the automatic choice number 2. Enough said.
10. Waqar Younis: Pakistan is always known for its fast bowlers. The man responsible for ‘reverse’ swinging the ball in the game of cricket could also reverse the fortunes of any team, whether he is playing for or against. Absolutely lethal with his swing he bowled extremely quick too. Pace, bounce and swing. What else does one want in its fast bowling spearhead?
11. Saqlain Mushtaq: If there was any other player to match his ability then it would be Saeed Ajmal ,edging him out on the grounds of the latter being banned due to suspect action. Mushtaq pioneered the ‘doosra’ and could bowl under any conditions whether spinner friendly or not. It was no surprise that he was successful in foreign conditions as well.
Sounds like a dream. Doesn’t it?
“You may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one.” – John Lenon
By Ashirbad Hazarika