India's Dream Cricket Test Team

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby prasen9 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:26 am

kna wrote:Laxman / Vengsarkar (too tough to call - both have played many crucial knocks for the team)
I don't know. I followed cricket from the 80s and Vengsarkar debuted before I started following things. However, I do not recall that many knocks at least in the fourth innings as I have seen Laxman play. I remember the Lords test in 1986 where Vengsarkar scored an unbeaten century in the first innings and some 30+ in I2 during a successful chase. However, the other two chasing victories I can recall, Vengsarkar did not do very well. Against New Zealand in '76 and against WI in Chennai in '79. In both cases he failed. '84 against England, at Wankhede, India was chasing only 48 and Vengsarkar was not out in the 20s. Maybe I am missing a few?

In matches India won, Vengsarkar scored over 100 runs against Pak at Mumbai in '79. '86 England he was in supreme form. Lords and Leeds wins. Then the two wins against hapless Sri Lanka (who were not much better than Zimbabwe in the 2000s at that time) at home in '86-'87. I think against New Zealand in Bangalore '88, he scored a 75 in I1 whereas Siddhu scored a century and the spinners did NZ in. I think that is about it. For a man who played 116 tests, I think the dossier is a bit thin. I do not remember him as a big match winner. I would take Laxman anyday. Other thoughts? I missed some matches?

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby Prashant » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:46 am

prasen9 wrote:I think I am a throwback to those times when wicket-keepers were chosen by their ability to keep alone and batting was a side business.


I did consider that & would agree that Kirmani was a much better keeper than Dhoni. As were Kiran More & a few others for that matter. Including the execrable Sadanand Vishwanath. Ultimately I decided that significantly better batting prowess would make up for the keeping deficiences. I am not old enough to have seen Farrokh Engineer play of course, and he might be the best compromise.


prasen9 wrote:Merchant only played 10 tests. I know it is not his fault, but, would you consider Padmakar Shivalkar for the all-time XI? Rajinder Goel? It is very difficult to include people whose careers are incomplete because we do not have a complete body of work.


This was part of what I was getting at with the "longevity vs peak" argument. Anecdotally, Amar Singh was rated extremely highly by the best batsmen in the world. But this was on the basis of ONE series where he bowled very well. Would he have succeeded over a long career? Or in 9 different countries & environments, rather than two? We simply have no way of knowing. The same is true for Merchant & many other early players.

Hearsay must play a large part in our opinions of these oldies. My dad grew up with ML Jaisimha for instance, and I heard a lot more anecdotes about him than about contemporaries that I now view as superior cricketers.

One more note on the elevens - I'm surprised that Gundappa Vishwanath doesn't crack even a second eleven for most of you. An average of 42 in 91 tests as a contemporary of Gavaskar is a fine record.

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby prasen9 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:16 am

Precisely. I was thinking the same. Vishwanath did not appear in anyone's top two lists. When I started following cricket, there was Gavaskar and then there was Vishwanath. Of course, Amarnath and Vengsarkar had made their debuts before I started following cricket, but, nobody talked about them as being better than Vishwanath. I think the lazy elegance of the other little master and the sheer joy of watching his strokes caused people to rate him highly. Only Laxman's elegance comes close to his. Maybe Azhar's wrists too. But, the two Hyderabadis are different sort of players than Vishi. He was the best back-foot player India produced. But, as days have gone by, the talent and the strokes of Vishwanath have been undervalued and his work underwhelming with respect to his potential has been looked at more and more. Maybe that is why he is no longer in the top two teams for most Indians today.

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby PKBasu » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:40 am

Sometimes context matters, and perhaps we have all undervalued the context a bit in assessing Vishy. For some periods of his career (1972-75), Vishy stood alone in India's middle order -- and there were really only two Indian batsmen of real calibre during that period, Sunny and Vishy. I was at the Eden Gardens for one of his most memorable centuries (139) as India beat the West Indies by 28 runs in January 1975, and it was a beautiful match-winning knock. Vishy was also the real hero of the world-record chase (406/4) at Port of Spain in 1976 (although Sunny too got a century, Vishy took us to the win), and played a vital part in the victory chase of 1971 at the Oval too. I suppose that is why Raju Bharatan (the deputy editor -- and sports/movie writer -- of the Illustrated Weekly of India, the leading weekly in India then, published by the ToI group and edited by the redoubtable Khushwant Singh) kept trying to convince readers that Vishy was in fact more valuable to the team than Sunny. (At least in 1974-75, he had a point, as Vishy's batting got us two victories -- aided by Pras' bowling in Madras, and Chandra's in Calcutta -- while Sunny was out of the team injured; many rated Vishy's 97 in Madras even higher than his 139 in Calcutta, and I would consider that high praise indeed).

Vishy went on for too long, though, and he spoilt his record in the final 3-4 years of his career. Later on, other match-winners like Vengsarkar came along and their achievements somewhat eclipsed Vishy's. I saw Vengsarkar's first test century (159 at the Eden in a 334-run stand with Sunny, who made 182* before declaring the innings), and it was a stodgy, inelegant innings. But Vengsarkar played some magnificent innings at the Eden thereafter -- as indeed he did at Lord's, his other favourite cricket ground. (Azhar and Laxman were the others who made the Eden their own after Vengsarkar, and before him Vishy). In the 1983-84 home series against the Windies, Vengsarkar outclassed even the great Gavaskar, and for the next 3-4 years he was probably India's best batsman (ie, for a slightly longer period than Vishy). Vengsarkar had the help of other great batsmen around him (Sunny, Amarnath in his prime, Azhar later), and the same could be said of Ganguly and Laxman (who were helped by the fact that they played alongside Sachin and Dravid). But the simple fact is that Vengsarkar's career record is superior to Vishy's, and Ganguly's is slightly superior to both (especially as Ganguly -- early in his career -- was also a genuine allrounder and fifth bowler in overseas tests).

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby Sandeep » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:38 am

I have been following cricket from the 90's and so haven't seen many of the old timers play (including Gavaskar except for the highlights on TV and youtube). I can't comment on Prasanna but I am surprised by the omission of Harbhajan in most of your best XI. I think his stats which are amazing at this juncture of his career deserve some respect. Isn't he far superior than any spinner we have got? I have no doubt in my mind that by the the time Harbhajan retires he would have been well beyond Kumble in all aspects. If things go even better than his career so far, there is every chance he will break Murali's record.

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby PKBasu » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:48 am

Sandeep, I don't think Bhajji's bowling record outside India justifies his selection. He has a stellar record in India, but a very poor one outside India. Besides, Prasanna at his peak (1968-73) was definitely a better bowler home and away than Bhajji at his peak. On Indian grounds, I would pick Bhajji in Calcutta, Pras in Chennai (their respective favourite grounds). Abroad (especially in NZ/Aus and now SA, although he never got to play there) I would always pick Pras. In England, I would pick neither (playing Chandra instead, even if that meant two unorthodox leggies).

Anyway, here is Cricinfo's XI:

Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Vijay Hazare, Vinoo Mankad, Kapil Dev, MS Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Erapalli Prasanna

Interestingly, it differs from my team only slightly: I would have picked Azhar ahead of Hazare, and Nissar ahead of Srinath. But given that Nissar went to Pakistan after Partition, Srinath would certainly have been my next pacer pick.

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby Prashant » Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:12 pm

I also picked 10 of the eleven Cricinfo selections, swapping Vengsarkar for Hazare. Interestingly Cricinfo readers swapped Laxman for Hazare, but otherwise picked the same lineup as the invited experts. The only contentious spot is the third middle-order bat behind Tendulkar & Dravid. I mentioned earlier that I strongly thought about both Vishwanath & Amarnath, and I can see Azharuddin being a reasonable choice too.

All these lineups just reinforce how blessed India has been with batsmen, and relatively speaking how poorly we've done with bowlers, particularly pace men.

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby prasen9 » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:17 am

I picked Laxman. Given that Kapil can bat wonderfully well, and especially if you pick Dhoni, the team seems too batting heavy, imho. You need to drop Mankad and get in Bedi.

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby PKBasu » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:00 am

Mankad was a better bowler than Bedi. His bowling average may be marginally worse, but he won more tests for India than Bedi did -- at a time when Mankad had very little support from the other end, while Bedi was always the ideal foil (rather than lead match-winner) to either Pras or Chandra in all our famous victories (and in one or two to Venkat). Mankad's test career began extremely late (when he was past 30) because the war years eliminated what would certainly have been his cricketing prime. Nonetheless, he did extraordinary things with bat and ball -- and got his first 100 wickets in fewer tests than Bedi did. His batting (at all 11 positions) was icing on the cake, as was his fielding. Vinoo Mankad was the first Indian professional cricketer, and he would be the first one I would pick for an all-time Indian XI. As a genuine allrounder, he has had no peers in Indian cricket history. Unfortunately, he proved to be a highly defensive (and rather bad) captain. (Ironically, his son was a brilliant captain for Mumbai, but never really got a chance to shine as a batsman for India after one match-winning 97 against Aus early in his career, and rarely bowled for India although his offspin was often useful for Mumbai).

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby prasen9 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:38 am

Indeed. India won in 5 matches out of the 44 Mankad played for India. He got 41 wickets in those 5 matches at 13.31 runs/wicket. Bedi got 97 wickets in 17 matches India won out of his 67 matches at 17.65 runs/wicket. Given the batting, you may have a point there.

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby suresh » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:20 am

Now that the selection of the dream cricket team is done with, we should come with the India's nighmare cricket team ;) Will there be unanimous selections to that team? A certain name immediately springs to my mind :devil:

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby PKBasu » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:17 am

In tests, would that be Ravi Shastri, suresh? (In ODIs, he was often more useful of course..).

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby gbelday » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:47 am

Agrakar?

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby suresh » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:29 pm

Both of you are right! For tests, it would be Shastri and for ODI's it would be Agarkar. I want to see what names other would like to add.

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Re: India's Dream Cricket Test Team

Postby prasen9 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:31 pm

Since it is my charter to quibble, I will oppose that motion. Agarkar was horrible for tests and okay for ODIs. So, Agarkar gets into my test team. I will ignore the Nilesh Kulkarni types who only get a handful of matches. Among those who got a longish run, Brijesh Patel and Kris Srikkanth will be in my test team. My test bowling would be Agarkar, Nehra, Sivaramakrishnan, and Surendranath. If you allow few test wonders, then Nikhil Chopra, TA Sekhar, Kanitkar, Ajay Sharma, and Robin Singh come to my mind. If you limit it to players who at least got one wicket, Nirode Chowdhury, C.S. Nayudu, Suru Nayak, and Nilesh Kulkarni have the worst records.


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