Free Press Journal

Sunil Gavaskar to Zaheer Khan! India’s All-Time Test Dream XI vs England

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Team India is gearing for the 5-match Test series against England on English soil. The England tour is very crucial and challenging for India, considering their poor record here. India first debuted in Test in 1932 in the same country and since then it has produced many greats who have ruled the world in the own eras. To note, in the past 86 years, India has mostly been on the receiving end while touring foreign soil, especially England.

1971 changed it all. India was fresh from a historic win against West Indies and the team led by Ajit Wadekar reached England high on confidence. The series went to the final Test after two exciting draws at Lord’s and Old Trafford. In the final Test, India conceded 71-run first innings lead but Chandrasekhar’s amazing spell meant 6/38 left India chasing 173, which they managed easy. The other memorable series wins came in 1986 and 2007.

Despite producing so many notable players over the years, only a few of them have managed to perform well in English conditions. Here we see an All-time Dream XI for Team India vs England.


Openers

  1. Sunil Gavaskar

The former captain played in England on various occasions as an opener. Known as little master, Gavaskar was in the mix of things when Indian first won the Test series in England. One of the notable tour s including Gavaskar was in 1979 when he single-handedly took the side to the brink of victory scoring a record-breaking 221 runs in the 4th innings of the 4th Test. However, the visitors just fell short by 9 runs which ended the game in a draw.

2. Virender Sehwag

Sehwag was a crowd favourite and a swashbuckler batsman who tore apart opposition. He surely knew how to put bowlers to the sword and kept the scoreboard running. Sehwag did not have a great record in England averaging 29.32. However, he did play some memorable knocks in England and even got a hundred during his first tour in 2002, where he tasted reasonable success.

Middle Order

3. Rahul Dravid

‘The Wall’ Rahul Dravid has earned his greatness with his persona and patience. Blessed with amazing power concentration, Dravid tore down bowling attacks and played many marathon innings in his career. He scored a double ton at the Oval in 2002 which was indeed a great inning. England posted a massive 515 on board in the first innings which put India under pressure in the decisive 4th Test. Dravid smashed an amazing 217 helping his team to reach 508.

4. Sachin Tendulkar

Undoubtedly, Sachin Tendulkar was the backbone of the Indian batting unit. His stature grew him as a batsman, even more in the challenging situations. His exploits in England and Australia are praised more often because of his quick situation adaptation skills. Many might remember his amazing innings where he scores 193 at Leeds ground where India won the match by an innings and 46 runs.

5. Dilip Vengsarkar

Another Mumbaikar, who brought glory to the country. At a time when players were deprived of scoring even a single century in English conditions, Vengsarkar scored three in three matches he played at Lord’s – in 1979, 1982 and 1986. Vengsarkar’s innings at Lord’s in 1979, which was his first, turned out to be a fighting one, helping India to a draw. Vengsarkar forged a 210-run partnership with Gundappa Viswanath and saved India when all seemed lost. In 1982, Vengsarkar hit a majestic 157 but India still lost. However, his knock was an absolute delight to watch. In 1986, he made it three in a row by scoring an unbeaten 126 in the first innings which helped India to take the series lead.

Wicketkeeper

6. Farokh Engineer

Engineer was crucial in India’s first win on English soil in 1971. In the third Test played at The Oval, Engineer scored 59 in the first innings, which was also highest individual score for India in the match. In the second innings, he scored 28 not out and was involved in a crucial partnership with Gundappa Viswanath which helped India to its first Test win in England. He was also highly efficient behind the stumps.

All-rounder

7. Kapil Dev

He was a genuine all-rounder and by far the best that country has ever produced. The former skipper was team’s go-to man with both, bat and ball. He was able to get wickets and used to bowl on consistent line and lengths. It was under Kapil Dev’s captaincy that India overcame England 2-0 in 1986. Apart from wickets, he played handy knock lower down the order. Kapil Dev and Chetan Sharma were the destroyers with the ball in the series in 1986. Then, in 1990, he scored 110 to help India to draw a Test. And, who can forget the four consecutive sixes he hit to help India avoid the follow-on at Lord’s.

Bowlers

8. Anil Kumble

All will agree that Kumble was a match-winner in all formats. The spinner enjoyed a great time in India’s triumphs in England in 2002 and 2007. English condition doesn’t have much for spinners. Yet Kumble with his ability to take wickets was effective even in unfriendly conditions or pitches. In 2007, Kumble even smashed his first Test century at The Oval, remaining unbeaten on 110.

9. BS Chandrasekhar

The orthodox-leg-spinner was a true match winner in overseas conditions. He was the chief architect in India’s maiden series in England. Talking 6 massive wickets in the 3rd Test during the 1971 series, Chandrasekhar helped India to register a 4-wicket win to claim the series.

10. Roger Binny

A natural athlete, Binny excelled at multiple sports in his youth. Binny was a terrific all-rounder in his own rights. He was an excellent batsman, used to bowl tirelessly in unhelpful conditions. He also played a crucial part in India’s 1983 World Cup campaign where Binny became the leading wicket-taker of the tournament with 18 wickets. His best spell in England was 5/40 in 1986 at Leeds, which India won by 279 runs.

11. Zaheer Khan

Zaheer led the pace attack after the departure of Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad in all format of the game. His experience of playing in tough conditions helped him to grow as a fast bowler. Zak was a tough nut to crack for the batsmen. He possessed the ability to swing the ball brilliantly and deliver inch-perfect yorkers. He played a crucial role in India’s triumph in 2007, claiming nine wickets in the Trent Bridge Test.