Greatest Test XI of last 25 years
Middle-order: Rahul Dravid, Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar
Undoubtedly the greatest number 3 batsmen of his generation, Rahul Dravid is technically the most correct batsmen to have walked the cricketing world. He was an epitome of grit, concentration, hard work, sincerity, punctuality and gentlemanliness.
Dravid was known as 'The Wall' for his unwavering commitment and determination to the Indian team's success, especially in overseas conditions. Between 2002-2006 Dravid was the most prolific batsmen in the Indian team scoring 4,697 runs for India in 48 Tests at an astonishing average of 70.10.
Rahul Dravid played a total of 164 test matches in which he scored 13,288 runs at a brilliant average of 52.88 garnished with 36 centuries and 63 half-centuries. He scored 5 double centuries out of which 3 came in overseas conditions.
Dravid was always an important part of India's overseas victories. Whether his tally of 602 runs in 2002 England tour or 619 runs during 2003/04 tour to Australia. His 270 in Rawalpindi is etched in fans' memories. He scored 180 runs batting alongside Laxman(281) in the third innings at Kolkata which resulted in one of the greatest comebacks in Test history.
If there ever existed a painter with the bat then it was Brian Charles Lara. Popularly known as. 'The Prince' of Trinidad and Tobago, Lara is undoubtedly the greatest left-handed batsmen of all time.
Lara was a painter and the entire pitch was his canvas. He moved his body like a paint brush. His quick feet movement, his cocky wrists, and his high backlift were all the attributes that made him the magician that he was.
Longevity and Lara are somewhat synonyms in a cricketing dictionary. Lara once scored 8 consecutive hundreds in the English county cricket in a single season. And in the same season then scored the unthinkable 501*. It was the genesis of the batting genius called Lara.
Lara surpassed legendary West Indian Garry Sobers' world record of 365* in 1994 when he scored 375 against England in Antigua. And 10 years later when the record was in the hands of Matthew Hayden, Lara once again snatched the record to his name when proved his ability to score big once again.
But this time it was an epic, a historic 400*.
Lara carried his team single-handedly throughout his career though later he was lent a helping hand by Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Lara scored more than 26% of his team's runs throughout his career. His total tally of 11953 runs at a marvelous average of 52.89 and it included 34 centuries and 48 half-centuries are a testament to his batting abilities.
No brainer, right? Widely regarded as the greatest batsmen to have walked the earth, Sachin Tendulkar is no doubt a player that appears once in a century. The difference between Tendulkar and other batting legends of his time was the amount of pressure and expectations that he was under everytime he walked out to bat. He was a perfect dream that a cricketing nation could have dreamt of.
It would be a crime to reduce Tendulkar to just a cricketer. For, he was much more than that. He was a youth icon whose career's chart peaked at the same time as his country's economy. His on-field exploits lead to confidence-boosting of more than a billion people. His aura that has spread all over the world is just an example of beneficial footprint that he has left with his bat.
When it comes to statistics no one even dared to come near to Sachin. For, he was way ahead of his times. His every step in cricket was marked by a milestone.
Sachin played 200 test matches in which he amassed 15,921 runs at an average of 53.79. He scored 51 centuries, 68 half-centuries, and 6 double centuries. For a player who has played the highest level of cricket for 24 years, it is quite fitting.