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Cricket World Cup History: Combined XI featuring Asian players

Sensational Sachin Tendulkar receiving the Player of the Tournament award in the 2003 World Cup
Sensational Sachin Tendulkar receiving the Player of the Tournament award in the 2003 World Cup
Dhruvo Das
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Kapil Dev's team created history as India became the first Asian side to lift the World Cup in 1983. Under Imran Khan's captaincy, Pakistan won the World Cup in 1992 and Sri Lanka shocked the entire world by winning the World Cup in 1996.

Over the years, Asia has produced some fantastic cricketers who have dominated cricket for a long time. The World Cup is, undoubtedly, the most prestigious event in the sport that brings out the best in every player.

With the ICC World Cup kicking off soon, we have a look at the greatest Asian World Cup XI from the past 10 editions of the tournament.


#1 Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar is only the second player to have participated in 6 World Cups, with the only other player being Javed Miandad. With 2278 runs to his name in 45 matches, the Little Master is the highest run getter in World Cup history. The maestro has scored 6 centuries in World Cups, a record for the most by any batsman.

Tendulkar has played a number of magnificent innings in World Cups. His 98 against Pakistan when he took on the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar remains a memorable innings. Despite India losing the final against Australia, Tendulkar was adjudged Man of the Tournament in the 2003 World Cup.

Sachin Tendulkar's World Cup dream was finally fulfilled in 2011 when India lifted the trophy after 28 long years. He ended the tournament as the second highest run scorer with 482 runs in 9 matches.

#2 Saeed Anwar

Saeed Anwar
Saeed Anwar

Saeed Anwar is arguably the finest opener Pakistan has ever produced. With 915 runs to his name in 21 matches at a staggering average of almost 54, Anwar's selection in the all-time Asia World Cup XI is a no-brainer.

The flamboyant opener is second only to Javed Miandad in terms of runs scored in the tournament. In the 1999 World Cup, Anwar was Pakistan's leading run scorer with 368 runs and played an instrumental role in Pakistan reaching the finals.

The right-left combination of Sachin Tendulkar and Saeed Anwar can cause shudders in any bowling line-up.


#3 Kumar Sangakkara

Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara

Kumar Sangakkara occupies the No.3 slot in the all-time Asia XI. In 37 ODI matches for Sri lanka at World Cups, Sanga has scored 1532 runs at a superb average of nearly 57. The Sri Lankan great has seven fifties and five centuries to his name.

Sangakkara set the 2015 World Cup ablaze as he scored 541 runs in 7 matches at a mind-boggling average of 108.20. He also became the first cricketer to score 4 successive centuries in ODI cricket. The legendary wicket-keeper batsman is third in the list of highest run-getters in World Cup history only behind Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting.

#4 Aravinda de Silva

Aravinda de Silva
Aravinda de Silva

There was a bit of a tussle for the No.4 slot in Asia's all-time World Cup XI. The two primary contenders being Mahela Jayawardena and Aravinda de Silva. Aravinda's marvellous record in knockout games and the fact that he is a handy off-spin bowler gives him the edge over Jayawardena and grants him a spot in the side.

Aravinda is the second highest run-getter for Sri Lanka in World Cups with 1064 runs to his name in 35 matches. He played an instrumental role in Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup triumph. It was his counter attacking 66 against India in the semi final and match winning century against Australia in the final which helped Sri Lanka clinch the World Cup in 1996.


#5 Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh is undoubtedly one of the most mercurial limited overs cricketer India has ever produced. The all-rounder has amassed 738 runs at an average of 52.71 and has 20 scalps to his name in 23 World Cup matches.

Yuvraj Singh was one of the heroes of the 2011 World Cup and played a crucial role in India's World Cup triumph. He scored 362 runs and picked up 15 wickets and was adjudged the Man of the Tournament. Yuvraj had to battle a serious illness, which was later diagnosed as cancer, throughout the tournament, which made his performances all the more special for India. A true warrior.

#6 Imran Khan (Captain)

Imran Khan
Imran Khan

Imran Khan would be one of the few players in the history of cricket who could get a place in the side as a captain alone. Pakistan had lost 4 out of their starting 5 games in the 1992 World Cup and looked down and out at one stage but it was Imran Khan who inspired his team to a World Cup triumph.

Only a leader like Imran Khan could have led a mercurial team like Pakistan to glory. He is also one of the greatest all-rounders to have ever graced the game with 666 runs and 34 runs to his name in World Cups. Imran Khan will be leading the greatest Asian World Cup XI of all time.


#7 Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev successfully led the Indian team to a World Cup triumph in 1983. The Haryana Hurricane, as he is fondly known, was one of the best all-rounders of his time and is arguably one of the most explosive all-rounders India has ever produced.

Kapil Dev has an excellent record in World Cup cricket with 669 runs and 28 scalps to his name in 26 World Cup matches for India. In the 1983 World Cup match against Zimbabwe, India were reeling at 17 for 5 when Kapil Dev out to bat. He scored an unbeaten 175 and registered an improbable victory for India.

#8 Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram
Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram regarded as the 'Sultan of Swing' is Pakistan's highest wicket taker in World Cup cricket with 55 scalps in 38 matches. His ability to pick up wickets with the new ball and be equally destructive with the old ball makes him one of the most feared fast bowlers of all times.

When it looked like Pakistan's World Cup dream was coming to an end, Wasim Akram produced two magical deliveries to get rid of Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis and won the game for Pakistan. He also played a game changing cameo of 33 (18) and was adjudged the Man of the Match in the 1992 World Cup final.


#9 Zaheer Khan

Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan

With 44 scalps in 23 matches at an impressive average of 20.22, Zaheer Khan is India's most successful bowler in World Cup tournaments. The left-arm seamer burst onto the scene in the 2003 World Cup where he impressed one and all with his pace and swing.

Zaheer Khan ended the 2011 World Cup as the joint highest wicket taker with 21 wickets to his name and played a crucial role in India's World Cup triumph. Being a left-arm seamer, Zaheer adds variety to any bowling attack and makes it to the all-time Asia World Cup XI comfortably.

#10 Lasith Malinga

Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga

Lasith Malinga impressed everyone in the 2007 World Cup match against South Africa, where he became the first man to take four wickets in four consecutive balls and nearly pulled off an improbable victory for his side.

With 43 wickets to his name in World Cup cricket, Malinga is arguably the greatest death bowler of this era. His ability to provide his team with a breakthrough every time the team is desperate for one is unique. Bamboozling batsman all over the world with his toe crushing yorkers and slower deliveries, Malinga is a match winner in the shorter format.


#11 Muttiah Muralitharan

Muttiah Muralitharan
Muttiah Muralitharan

The spinner’s spot in Asia's all-time World Cup XI can belong to only one bowler and that is non other than Muttiah Muralitharan. The off-spinner is the highest wicket taker in ODI cricket with 534 wickets to his name.The Sri Lankan great has picked up 68 wickets in 40 World Cup matches averaging a little under 20.

The off-spinner played an instrumental role in Sri Lanka's World Cup triumph in 1996 and remained a genuine wicket taker for Sri Lankan cricket for close to two decades. His ability to provide the captain with wickets at any stage of an innings and turn a game on its heels makes him one of the best spinners to have ever played the game.

Edited by Sai Teja
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