To celebrate the start of the IPL, here is my Indian test XI from the 30 years I have spent watching cricket.
1. Sunil Gavaskar – India’s pre-eminent batsman before Tendulkar who faced down the legendary West Indian pace attack in the 70s and 80s and took 13 centuries from them at a superlative 65.45.
2. Virender Sehwag – The most devastating test batsmen ever along with Viv Richards. Sehwag is not a mere mortal, he is a God.
3. Rahul Dravid – The Wall tends to get runs when India needs them most and his technique is impeccable.
4. Sachin Tendulkar – Approaching 100 international test centuries and the leading run scorer in tests and ODI. No other words are necessary.
5. V.V.S Laxman – I could have gone for Vengsarker, Azharuddin or Ganguly, but seeing Laxman bat is like watching poetry in motion.
6. Mahendra Singh Dhoni – A good wicketkeeper and an excellent batsman who already averages around 40 in tests.
7. Kapil Dev (Captain) – The man who led India to victory in the 1983 World Cup and one of the four great all-rounders of the 80s along with Imran, Botham and Hadlee.
8. Anil Kumble – Over 600 test wickets and a man that performed in all countries and upon all surfaces. India’s leading matchwinner with the ball.
9. Javagal Srinath – Where Kapil trod, Srinath followed and he was a wonderful leader of the Indian attack
10. Zaheer Khan – Other than the incomparable Wasim Akram, Zaheer has to be the best left arm quick I have seen in 30 years of test cricket.
11. Bishan Bedi – I could have gone for Harbhajan but as a small boy I remember being transfixed by the wily Bedi.