All-time best Indian Test 11 in overseas conditions

Sunil Gavaskar
Sachin Arora

Recent batting struggles in England have made people realize the importance of the golden generation of Indian players. There amazing record in overseas conditions looks even more impressive now with the technical issues of the current crop coming to the fore. On the other hand, bowling looks better nowadays with three or four good bowlers in the squad at the same time. Earlier, Indian bowling used to depend on one or two good bowlers but that has changed in the recent past.

Let's see what could be the best Indian eleven to play in overseas conditions, taking into account every player that played for India till date:

#1 Sunil Gavaskar

Picking Indian openers doesn't require a lot of brainstorming as we never had those many great openers, that too in overseas conditions.

Sunil Gavaskar is easily the best Indian opener till date. His exploits against the great West Indian pace quartet is the stuff of the legends. In fact, he is one of the most loved and admired overseas cricketers in West Indian islands. He commanded this admiration on the basis of his performance against the West Indian team in their own backyard. He was instrumental in India winning their first series in West Indies in 1970-71. He scored a phenomenal 774 runs in just 4 test matches with 4 centuries.

His overseas record is better, with 18 of those 34 centuries coming outside India. Also, his average is slightly better outside India, with an away average of 52.11 in comparison to 50.16 in India.

#2 Virender Sehwag

First Test - Day Two:  India v Australia

Sehwag has defied all the experts' opinion with his technique and approach towards Test batting. He had a nonchalant way of batting. His approach was - see the ball hit the ball. His batting was all about hand-eye coordination, but, boy what a destructive player he was. With two Test triple hundreds to his name, he could make best of the bowlers run for cover on his day. He scored 10 of his 23 centuries outside India.

He had a strike rate of 82 in tests, which tells you how dominant he was as an opener. He scored 464 runs in 4 tests during the 2003-04 tour of Australia, which was instrumental in India drawing the series 1-1.

#3 Rahul Dravid

South Africa v India 1st Test - Day 3
Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid is one of the most respected Indian batsmen purely for his batting exploits in overseas conditions. He used to play the ball very late and was considered to be technically very good. He won many matches for India in alien conditions. His performances in Headingley in 2002 and Adelaide in 2003 really stand out.

Just to give an idea of how good he was under testing conditions, his knock of 148 in Headingley came in conditions similar to the conditions prevailing in the recently concluded Lord's test, the whole of the Indian team put together could not score 148 runs during the first inning of Lord's test.

He scored 21 of his 36 test hundreds outside India. His average outside India was 53.03 while his average at home was 51.35.

#4 Sachin Tendulkar

Australia v India - Second Test: Day 1
Australia v India - Second Test: Day 1

Writing something about Sachin Tendulkar is like stating the obvious. Arguably, the best batsman of all time, Sachin has scored runs all around the world. Sachin was so good that he scored a century at Perth (considered to be the fastest wicket in the world at that time) in 1992 during his first tour of Australia when he was just 18.

As per an anecdote, after watching Sachin bat at Perth, Allan Border who was Australian captain then and the big fast bowler Merv Hughes told each other that this guy is going to score a lot of runs in the coming future and everyone knows how right they were.

Sachin scored 29 of his 51 Test hundreds outside India. His average outside India was 54.74 while his average at home was 52.67.

#5 Virat Kohli

England v India: Specsavers 3rd Test - Day Three
Virat Kohli

Kohli is a modern day great. He is not naturally gifted like Sachin but he has an attitude to die for. His tenacity and competitiveness really stand out.

Kohli has evolved into a great batsman with no apparent weakness. He plays sping and pace with equal authority. His front foot and back foot game is equally good. He has one of the most sublime cover drive the world has ever seen.

Now that Virat has conquered his last frontier- England, with flying colors, there is no stopping him.

Kohli has scored 13 of his 23 test hundreds outside India. His ever-increasing average outside India is 48.01 while his average at home is 63.5.

#6 Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev India v West Indies Nehru Cup Delhi 1989
Kapil Dev

There is a rare commodity in world cricket and it is called an all-rounder. This is true more so for India. This rare species is equally good with both bat and ball. Kapil Dev is the best version of this species that India has produced. When people take your name in the same breath along with Botham, Imran and Hadlee then you are bound to be special.

Kapil won many matches for India either with bat or ball. His knock of 175 against Zimbabwe during 1983 world cup is well documented. He carried the burden of Indian fast bowling on his shoulders for many years. He was the go-to medium pacer for his captain during the era he played in. He had a lethal out-swinger which troubled many great batsmen.

He took 434 wickets at an average of 29.64 and scored 5,248 runs with 8 centuries at an average of 31.05 in 131 test matches.

#7 MS Dhoni

Australia v India: 3rd Test - Day 2
MS Dhoni

Choosing MS Dhoni as the wicketkeeper-batsman is a no-brainer on two counts, first- there is no competition and the second- his performance for India over the years.

Dhoni is one of the most swashbuckling batsmen cricket has ever seen. He is an excellent keeper to spinners. His presence of mind on a cricket field is also something to write home about.

Dhoni scored 1 of his 6 Test hundreds, outside India. His average outside India was 32.84 while his average at home was 45.76.

#8 Ravichandran Ashwin

England v India: Specsavers 1st Test - Day One
Ashwin and Kohli

Ashwin is one of the most improved bowlers during the last few years. His 7 wicket haul during the first Test match of 2018 England tour is a testimony of his improvement as a bowler. Earlier, he used to struggle outside the sub-continent but now he is fairing much better in alien conditions.

Ashwin is a keen student of the game. He has many varieties in his repertoire, who can forget when he bowled Hashim Amla, nick and crop with a carrom ball. He has a lovely drift and he uses his height to good effect while bowling.

Ashwin is really handy with the bat which is evident from the fact that he has scored 4 test hundreds.

So far, Ashwin has taken 324 wickets from 61 test matches. He has played 25 test matches outside India with a return of 99 wickets.

#9 Anil Kumble

Second Test - Australia v India: Day 2
Anil Kumble

A spinner with a fast bowler's temperament, that is Anil Kumble for you. India's highest wicket-taker by a mile, Kumble was equally effective in India and outside.

Kumble used to rattle batsmen with the bounce he used to get, as so many of his bat and pad dismissals suggest. He was relentless as a bowler. Steve Waugh once said that Kumble's biggest asset is his accuracy.

Kumble took 619 wickets from132 Test matches. He played 69 test matches outside India which fetched him 269 wickets.

#10 Javagal Srinath

Australia v India
Javagal Srinath

India's first genuine fast bowler who clocked 150 km/hr on his very first tour to Australia, Srinath was the lone work-horse for India for a long time.

During the initial stages of his career he was primarily an in-swing bowler, but, later on, he developed a lovely leg-cutter which fetched him a lot of wickets. He was a good exponent of reverse swing, which was evident during 1996 Ahmedabad Test against South Africa when he ran through a solid South African batting line-up via lethal reverse swing bowling.

He never allowed his pace to dip, even, before his retirement, he was bowling around 140 km/hr.

Srinath got wickets all around the world and was much respected. He took 236 wickets from 67 Test matches. He played 35 Tests outside India which fetched him 128 wickets.

#11 Zaheer Khan

New Zealand v India - 2nd Test: Day 4
New Zealand v India - 2nd Test: Day 4

Arguably the most skilful fast bowler India has ever produced, Zaheer Khan was a treat to watch. The way he used to set-up a batsman was like watching an artist at work, Graeme Smith can vouch for this whom Zaheer set-up many times.

He had one of the most feared yorkers. His ability to bring the ball in, to right-handers got him many scalps. Later on, he developed a fearsome leg-cutter as well. He used to bowl at a fair clip during his prime.

He took 311 wickets from 92 Test matches. He played 54 Tests outside India which fetched him 207 wickets.

Edited by Aadya Sharma


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