Former Australian cricketer Shane Warne picked his greatest West Indian XI from the past 25 years. The leg-spinner chose Brian Lara as the captain of the side while Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul are the only two active cricketers to have made the cut in Warne’s selection.
The criteria for Warne’s selection is that he should have played a meaningful game against the player – something he was quick to point out at the start of the post on his official Facebook account as to why he couldn’t select the West Indies legend and close friend Sir Vivian Richards.
“The great Viv Richards is the one player I really wished I played against, loved everything about him & we've become great friends too,” remarked Warne.
Gayle and Desmond Haynes was chosen as the opening pair with Richie Richardson coming at No 3. They were followed by the daunting middle order comprising of Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Carl Hooper with Ridley Jacobs selected as the wicketkeeper-batsman.
Lara, who enjoyed a number of high-profile contests against Australia, often having to fight it out almost single-handedly as his fellow batsmen failed to put up any fight against the likes of Warne himself and Glenn McGrath was chosen as the skipper of the side.
A look at Warne’s career reveals that he enjoyed the least success against West Indies and India, with the duo of Lara & Sachin Tendulkar, being the scourge of the Australian on plenty of occasions. So it was no surprise that Warne chose to talk about the two in the same breath, especially with Warne set to come up with him Indian team selection soon.
Warne said: “Brian Lara & Sachin Tendulkar were easily the best 2 batsmen of my generation, lots of other wonderful players too, but these 2 were in a different league.” Incidentally the trio of Warne, Tendulkar & Lara, as well as a host of former international cricketers, will be seen on the playing field again as they take part in the 'Cricket All-Stars Series 2015' T20 tournament, the dates and venues for which were confirmed yesterday.
Warne chose an all-pace bowling line up with Ian Bishop, Patrick Patterson and the legendary duo of Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose finishing the line-up. Talking about the fast bowlers, Warne quipped: “These 4 fast bowlers were lethal & so hard to face!”
Warne ended his post with the hope that West Indies cricket returns to its dominating best of the 70s and 80s.
“A great team, wouldn't it be awesome if the WI were a really strong team again, international cricket needs a strong WI team,” Warne remarked.
Shane Warne’s greatest West Indies XI (Since 1990): D Haynes, C Gayle, R Richardson, B Lara ( C ), C Hooper, S Chanderpaul, R Jacobs, I Bishop, C Ambrose, P Patterson, C Walsh.