Indian Test XI with Batsmen from the Yesteryears and Bowlers from Modern Era
20 wickets is what you need to win a Test match. Though this phrase asserts the formula to achieve glory in the longest format, it fails to underline an associated fact- You also need to prevent the fall of your 20 wickets to claim victory.
Traditionally, India has been typecasted as a powerhouse of batting talents - Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli- the list is eternal. Test victories revolved around the batsmen and the charisma weaved by them on the 22 yards, and the bowlers received the chiding for their failure to pick up 20 wickets. An authoritative hundred by Sachin Tendulkar, a nerve-wracking effort by Rahul Dravid, or a fiery blitz by Virender Sehwag were key components to an Indian win.
However, with MS Dhoni assuming the captaincy duties, began the transition of Team India. Ashwin and Jadeja became vicious turners of the ball, while the pace attack promised to dismantle the opposition's line-up. In the era of Virat Kohli, the pace quadrant of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami has all the weapons in their arsenal, be it pace, bounce, swing or yorkers to wreak havoc on the opponent. The pace attack is undoubtedly the best that India ever possessed.
Ironically, India's woes have shifted from their bowling to their batting, with the batsmen lacking the intent, application and the forbearance to rise to the occasion, as a result of which the team has failed to chase even mediocre talents.
We have compiled a team comprising of the golden generation of batsmen and the present bowling line-up, which is effectively equipped in all respects. The team comprises of six complete batsmen and five bowlers (including three all-rounders), however, only their bowling capabilities have been considered in this piece.
Arguably the best opening batsman the world has ever witnessed, Gavaskar pitched India on the world map of cricket long before the advent of the 'Fab Five' era.
The Little Master possessed all the traits of a classic Test batsman. An unparalleled technique, impeccable concentration and astute timing characterized his batting. Gavaskar was particularly proficient against fast bowlers, with choosing judiciously the deliveries to play and the ones to leave, a quality that the present-day openers need to imbibe.
In an era dominated by a vicious Caribbean attack, he enjoyed an astounding average of 65.45 against them.
Sunny personified consistency, courage and exuberance as he became the first player in the world to achieve an unprecedented milestone of 10,000 Test runs. He also held the record for most Test centuries (34) for almost two decades.
Gavaskar is the only Indian batsman to score a hundred in both the innings of a match on three occasions. He also notched the highest score by an Indian in Test cricket at his time, 236*, once again against the West Indies.
The Sheriff of Mumbai was the first batsman who taught the world how to attach a price tag on one's wicket.
In stark contrast to his compatriot, Sehwag is someone whose game plan revolved around hand-eye coordination. He redefined the notions of Test opening, with his destructive stroke playing ability.
Sehwag has been an epitome of the doctrine 'Attack is the Best Defence', as he steered the team out of precarious situations, handing back the pressure to the opposition. The Nawab of Najafgarh was never daunted by the situation, opposition, ground or the pitch as he came out all guns blazing.
Sehwag's success in red-ball cricket came as a bewilderment to the sporting fraternity, as he not just the knack to play aggressive, but also the perseverance to carry his bat across sessions. He had an inclination towards big hundreds, with 14 of his 23 hundreds being scores more than 150. He was the first Indian to notch a triple century in Test cricket.
The Sultan of Multan scripted glory with his nonchalant and audacious self, and a technique shattering the stereotypes. But it was his courage and vigour that formed the most beautiful aspects of his game.