Angelo Mathews' All-Time XI: Sachin Tendulkar, Kumar Sangakkara as openers, no Virat Kohli or MS Dhoni
Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka’s cricket captain and an esteemed all rounder, picked his all time cricketing XI across the various formats of the game recently. The side has a strong Sri Lankan core, with a Sri Lankan captain and wicket keeper. He has excluded himself from the list, but having amassed over 4000 runs in Tests and ODIs and over 100 wickets in ODIs, it will not be a big surprise if he goes down as one of the greatest all rounders the game has ever seen. Mathews has a reputation of being a match-winner, sometimes carrying his country on his shoulders, and it is no surprise that his side is littered with match-winners.
To open the batting, he has India’s Sachin Tendulkar. Mathews adds that Sachin is one of the best cricketers he has ever seen play the game. To add to this, the fact that he has the most runs in Tests as well as ODIs makes him an automatic selection. Kumar Sangakkara will complete a left hand-right hand batting combination at the top. Sangakkara, will don the wicketkeeping gloves as well. While he has batted at #3 for almost his entire life, Mathews believes he would rather see him at the top.
At one down, he has gone with West Indian Brian Lara. It is to Mathews belief, that Lara is the best cricketer to have come out of the Caribbean since Sir Garfield Sober and Sir Vivian Richards. At #4, he has gone with Aravinda de Silva, who he believes is the greatest player produced by Sri Lanka ever. Aravinda de Silva, who played a match winning knock in the 1996 world cup final will captain the side. Mathews remarks that while all 11 players would make great captains, he has gone with his compatriort.
Mahela Jayawardane will slot in at #5 in the middle order. Mathews remarks that Jayawardane is a great technician and one of the best batsmen to watch when he is in full flow. Jacques Kallis comes in at #6, according to Mathews, he is the greatest all rounder the world has ever seen.
Australia’s Shane Warne and Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan are next #7 and #8. He believes that Shane Warne is the greatest leggie to play the game, and the second greatest spinner after Muralitharan. Muralitharan cannot be left out of the side as he has the highest number of wickets across the various formats of the game.
The great Pakistani seamer Wasim Akram is next. Mathews believes that most batters in the world were fearful of Wasim Akram, adding another dimension to his 11. Next, we have Chaminda Vaas. Mathews remarks that it is a real testament to Vaas’ fitness that he played over 100 Tests, most of them being in the sub-continent. To finish the side, we have Glenn McGrath at #11, the best fast bowler Australia has ever produced.
FULL TEAM: SACHIN TENDULKAR, KUMAR SANGAKKARA (WK), BRIAN LARA, ARAVINDA DE SILVA (C), MAHELA JAYAWARDANE, JACQUES KALLIS, SHANE WARNE, MUTTIAH MURALITHARAN, WASIM AKRAM, CHAMINDA VAAS, GLENN McGRATH.