Picking an “all-time XI” seems to have become quite the trend these days. As many cricketers, both – retired and current have made their picks, Harsha Bhogle has joined the race as well. The renowned cricket commentator and journalist took to social media to express his views on this particular trend and picked his all-time XI. Harsha is known to be quite innovative and creative with his work as he showed us with his recent posts on Facebook and Twitter by picking an all-time XI from the pre-1970s era.
Before making his pick on Facebook, Harsha expressed his dislike of the current trend and the flaws that exist in the selection process which all the cricketers have been using. He also went on to mention that he would be picking his all-time XI based on the players which he had seen playing over the years.
“I am not a great fan of picking all time XIs because you don't always know enough about players from another era and so, in effect, you pretend to be an expert in an area in which you aren't. And so, when I got asked to pick my own version (coming up on cricbuzz) I stayed with players I had seen,” said Harsha.
Harsha went on to mention the popularity of these picks by cricketers and spoke about how those picked from recent times are trending. He referred to the importance of recognising the talent of the cricketers who laid the foundation of Indian cricket, much before the Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev era.
“There is also the ‘recency’ factor to a popular vote, and I could see that nobody other than Gavaskar and Kapil Dev were able to break that barrier in several recent public polls.
But we need to be aware of what came before because a generation flowers on the seeds the previous one planted. And so I would love someone competent to pick an all-time India XI of players from another era, say pre-1970 which coincides with the arrival of Gavaskar in early 1971,” said Harsha on his post on Facebook.
Thus, Harsha went on to list down a full squad of the “All time India XI” from the pre-1970s era. The list he made relied on numbers and perceptions based on conversations with people of that age.
Harsha picked Vinoo Mankad and Vijay Merchant as the openers of the team. Mankad was most famously known for his record 413 runs opening partnership with Pankaj Roy in 1956. The record lasted for 52 years before it was broken by the South African pair Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith.
Vijay Merchant was the God of first class cricket. Having averaged 71 in first class matches, it was unfortunate that he did not get a lot of chances to shine in the national cricket team.
In the middle order, Harsha picked three former captains, namely Vijay Hazare, Polly Umrigar and Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. Hazare and Pataudi were quite successful during their reign as captain. Hazare was the one who led India to their first ever Test win, in their 25th test match and Tiger Pataudi as he is commonly known is, to date, the second youngest Test cricket captain ever.
Along with them, he named Vijay Manjrekar, Farookh Engineer, and all-rounder Dattu Phadke in the middle order as well.
In the bowling department, Harsha went for two spinners, namely Erapalli Prasanna and Subhash Gupte. Both – Prasanna and Gupte were extremely skilful and feared spin bowlers amongst opposition batsmen. While Prasanna was part of the legendary spin quartet of India, Gupte was regarded as the best leg spinner by West Indies legend Sir Gary Sobers.
Harsha picked fast bowler Mohammed Nissar to complete his playing XI. Nissar played as a fast bowler for the Indian cricket team after independence and domestic teams in India and Pakistan before independence.
To complete the squad, Harsha picked Bishan Singh Bedi, Chandu Borde, Dilip Sardesai and Salim Durrani as the substitutes or reserves.
Pre-Gavaskar era XI. Informed views welcome. Merchant,Mankad,Hazare,Umrigar,Manjrekar,Pataudi,Engineer,Phadkar,— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 27, 2016