All-Time India-Pakistan combined Test XI that could defeat England in England
Had there been no partition, the subcontinent would have been home to one of the greatest teams, the game of cricket has ever produced. That team would have transcended the mighty West Indies from the 80's and overpowered the all-Aussies from the early Noughties.
It would have comprised of real stalwarts and legends of the game. Let your imagination take a free roam for a minute or two. Imagine that you’re still residing in an undivided India where Kashmir is not a disputed territory, Lahore and Delhi exactly emulate each other and Kolkata is a pretty hectic drive from Quetta. Imagine having a combined Cricket team not divided by a mere Radcliffe line.
Subcontinental teams have had torrid outings whenever they have touched down upon the British shores. Even the best of the lot tend to struggle in the hostile and swinging English conditions.
But what if the subcontinent had never broken apart in two? What if we make an all-time Indo-Pak Test XI and compare it with the English teams of any cricketing era? Could the men, who were ruled by the British be able to outshine the English with such a team? I reckon this team could eclipse any cricketing team from any time and age:
#1 Sunil Gavaskar
Unarguably, one of the greatest opening batsmen that have graced the game of cricket, Sunil Gavaskar personified picture-perfect technique and immaculate defence.
His staggering career average of 51.12 is defined by a kind of stroke-play that came right out of the cricketing playbooks. Gavaskar had 34 Test tons under his belt, 2 of which came in England. The likes of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad will need to pull out magic from his pocket to get this prized wicket.
He reinvented the outlook of Indian Cricket and instilled professionalism and sophistication into it. As Harsha Bhogle, once, befittingly described:
“His (Gavaskar) numbers were stellar, but more important, to a country starved of self-respect, he was a godsend …”
#2 Sachin Tendulkar
A tally of nearly 16,000 Test runs, an average bordering a barely-believable 54 and with 51 Test centuries to his name; there was not even a feather’s doubt when choosing our 2nd opener for this star-studded XI.
Sachin Tendulkar is not only the most prolific run-getter in the game but also the finest icon that cricket has ever known. Through utter prowess and genius, he pioneered the art of batting for more than two decades before bowing out as an all-time great.
“Little Master” as renowned in the cricketing fraternity, Tendulkar enjoyed a highly impressive record on the British shores. In the 17 matches that he played in England, he racked up a plethora of runs at an average of 54.31.