5 Indian legends who represented the Asian XI in the past

MS Dhoni - Asia XI
MS Dhoni - Asia XI

13 years have passed since the Asia XI (consisting of the top players in Asia) contested against the African XI for the Afro-Asian Cup. After that series, there has not been any recognized fixture involving the Asia XI. However, after a long gap, an international series between Asia XI and World XI in Bangladesh was scheduled from March 18-21, but has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Revised dates will be confirmed by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) later.

8 players from India have been selected to represent Asia and most of them have made notable contributions. In the first Afro-Asian Cup, Zaheer Khan contributed heavily with the ball by picking up 9 wickets in three ODIs while MS Dhoni and Sehwag were the star performers for India in the second edition of the cup. The notable name missing from the list of Indian players to have played for Asia XI is Sachin Tendulkar, who could not take part in both the tournaments because of injury issues. This article consists of 5 Indian stalwarts who represented the Asia XI.


#5 Zaheer Khan

Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan

Also see – IPL 2020 time table

The most successful left-arm pacer in the history of Indian cricket is also the highest wicket-taker for Asia XI with 13 wickets in 6 innings at an economy rate of 4.23. In the first match of the 2005 Afro-Asia Cup, he played an instrumental role in dismissing the African XI for 198. He picked up the crucial wicket of Jacques Kallis and ended up with figures of 3 for 37 in 8 overs. In the second game, he dismissed Mark Boucher early and went through the defences of Shaun Pollock, again picking 3 wickets.

He finished the series as the highest wicket-taker with 9 wickets in 3 games. In the second edition of the Afro-Asia Cup, he picked up 2 wickets in 3 games. He dismissed Boeta Dippenaar and Loots Bosman in the first game and bowled only 3 overs in the second game.


#Note: All statistics as of March 12, 2020

#4 Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh

The clean hitting southpaw featured in all the three matches of the 2007 Afro-Asian Cup. Singh was going through is best phase of his career in 2006-07. With the ball, he conceded 67 runs and picked up a wicket while he scored 92 runs at a strike rate of 117.94. In the first match, he scored 31 off 30 balls with the highlight being back-to-back boundaries off Elton Chigumbura. He bowled only 2 overs in that game and conceded 14 runs without picking up a wicket.

Yuvraj Singh was at his blistering best in the second game as he picked the African bowling line-up apart by scoring 30 off just 13 balls, including two nonchalant sixes down the ground. His returns with the ball were slightly better this time around as he conceded 43 runs and picked up a wicket in 7 overs. In the final ODI, he was promoted to number 4 and played a knock of 31 in 35 balls but bowled an expensive over in which he conceded 10 runs.

#3 Sourav Ganguly

Former Indian captain - Sourav Ganguly
Former Indian captain - Sourav Ganguly

The prince of Kolkata played in all the three games of the 2007 edition and scored 142 runs at a strike rate of 78. He played at number 3 instead of his natural opening position in order to accommodate Sanath Jayasuriya at the top. In the first game, he scored 32 runs off 29 balls including 7 boundaries before Morne Morkel dismissed him. His best performance of the series came in the second game where he anchored the innings to score 88 runs from 112 balls.

Some of his shots through the off-side took the fans back to his glory days as he effortlessly cut and drove, looking at his imperious best. A lofted drive down the ground was the highlight of this knock. He registered 9 boundaries and a six in this innings. This was arguably his last great knock as he was dropped from the ODI squad in November 2007 and the current BCCI President announced his retirement a year later from all forms of cricket.

#2 MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni

Since this tournament took place before the 2007 T20 World Cup, the world was yet to witness the full potential of MS Dhoni. In the first game of the series, he was dismissed for just 2 runs due to poor running between the wickets. He was able to make a considerable contribution in the second game with 33 off 38 balls including two sixes.

One of the best centuries of his career came in the last game as he brutally assaulted the African bowling line-up to register 139 runs off 97 balls. He is the only Indian player to score a century for Asia XI. Dhoni came in to bat when his team was reeling at 72 for 5 and combined with Mahela Jayawardene for a magnificent 218-run partnership. The bowler who suffered the most was Elton Chigumbura as Dhoni ruthlessly clobbered him for 3 sixes and 3 boundaries in the death overs. Dhoni hit 15 fours and 5 sixes in this memorable knock, which helped Asia XI blank Africa XI 3-0 in the series.

#1 Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag

The swashbuckling Indian opener is the second-highest run-getter for the Asia XI with 214 runs from 7 innings at a high strike rate of 103. In the first ODI of the 2005 edition, he got off to a quick start by scoring 5 boundaries but was soon dismissed by Shaun Pollock, edging the ball to Mark Boucher behind the stumps. It was a similar story in the second game as he looked well settled before throwing his wicket away to Thomas Odoyo. In the third game, Dale Steyn castled him early but the match was called off due to rain.

Virender Sehwag started the 2007 edition on a high after scoring a rapid 45 off just 42 balls at Bengaluru. His strike rate was even better in the second game as he played a T20 style knock of 52 from just 38 balls. He has also bowled 12 overs for the Asia XI and has picked up a wicket at an economy rate of 6.91. He is the second leading run-scorer for Asia XI.


Also see | Asia XI vs World XI T20I series postponed because of coronavirus threat

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Edited by rehaan díaz
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