Even after the rising popularity of T20 cricket, red-ball cricket is still considered as the format with the highest standards in the game of cricket. Test cricket is the ultimate challenge for a player as it tests both the physical and mental strength of players. Playing the game for five continuous days is very challenging, and one has to use his highest degree of his skill to survive in the longest format of the game.
Team India started its Test cricket journey on 25 June 1932 and has played 545 test matches in total with 157 wins, 167 defeats, 217 draws and one tie in its 88 years of their sojourn. A total of 296 players have earned the glory of representing India in Test cricket.
India are currently standing at the top position of the ICC Test Championship table, showing how much dominant they can be. In this article we tried our best to pick the best Test XI among the 296 players who donned the Indian white jersey.
So, without any further delay, let us see the players who make into the greatest Indian test-XI: –
1. Sunil Gavaskar
Arguably the greatest Test opener of all time, Sunil Gavaskar will be the best to open batting for India on any given day due to his ability to play long innings at the top. He possessed all the qualities a batsman requires to have, to open the innings. He is the first player in the world to reach 10000 runs in Test cricket and also held the record for highest number of centuries (34) for nearly two decades in his time.
In an era of fearsome and ruthless Caribbean pace attack, Gavaskar faced them with enormous courage even without a helmet and had an astonishing average of 65.45 against them. He also scored his highest score (236*) in Test cricket against them which tells us about his extraordinary consistency against the most dangerous bowling attack of all time.
In 125 Test matches he played for his nation, Gavaskar scored 10122 runs at an average of 51.12 with the help of 34 100s and 45 50s. He had an extraordinary strike rate of 66.04 which is a very healthy one considering the deadly bowling attacks in those days.
2. Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag will be the best choice to open the innings with Gavaskar as he was one of the most destructive players, India have ever produced. The destructive opener is famous for his critical stroke play, with which he can slaughter any bowling attack across the globe. Sehwag redefined the role of an opener in Test cricket by playing some long innings maintaining a healthy strike rate.
The Multan of Sultan became the first Indian Cricketer to score a triple century in Test cricket, the feat he achieved by destroying one of the best Pakistani bowling attack. He also went on to score another triple century, which is still the fastest triple century in the history of world cricket. He scored a 278 ball 319 slaughtering the South African bowling line up.
In 104 Test matches he played for India, Sehwag scored 8586 runs at a strike rate of 82.23 and an average of 49.34 with the help of 23 100s and 32 50s. He was popular for his crafty off breaks and had 40 Test wickets to his name.
3. Rahul Dravid
The no.3 role in Test cricket is a very challenging one and Dravid will be an apt player to fit in this role. His class, grace, discipline and dedication towards the game made him one of the best batsmen ever to play the game. Often called as The Wall of Indian Cricket, Dravid was the main pillar of the team in the early days of this century.
Dravid used to frustrate the opposition bowling attacks mentally more than physically with his slow innings. The opponents used to come up with many plans to get his wicket as he is a master of defence and can defend a ball with any pace making his wicket more prized than that of Sachin. He was a very good fielder at slip position grabbing 210 catches in his career, the highest for a non-wicketkeeper.
Dravid could thrive in all conditions and was a master in handling both pace and spin. In his 164 Test matches for India, Dravid scored a whopping 13288 runs with an average of 52.31 with the help of 36 centuries and 63 50s. He also had five double centuries to his name.
4. Sachin Tendulkar
There can’t be an Indian all time XI without him and one doesn’t need to explain the reasons for this selection. He is the player you would want to be a part of your team as he has all the shots of the cricket book. In his 24-year long career, Sachin left a legacy of his own shattering many records across all the formats of the game.
He was a multi-dimensional player, who has the ability to play in any situation. He can build innings, score rapidly and can even bat patiently to save matches. Sachin ended his career as the highest run-scorer in Test cricket and also has the most no. of centuries to his name. His straight drive and cover drive are a treat to watch and we can say that very few can match his class in the future.
He played 200 Test matches for India scoring whopping 15921 runs with an average of 53.79 with the help of 51 centuries and 68 50s. Adding to his unmatched batting skills, he is also a good spin bowler having 46 Test wickets to his name.
5. Virat Kohli (C)
VVS Laxman is also a strong contender for this spot but Virat Kohli’s consistent performances on foreign pitches in recent times made him a way into this team ahead of VVS. Initially considered as a limited overs specialist, Virat showed some astonishing temperament playing some match winning knocks, becoming an integral part of the team in no time.
Kohli is also the apt person to lead this team as he is the most successful captain for India in Tests, surpassing Dhoni with a win percentage of 60% in his 55 matches, he led. He is the only captain to win the Border Gavaskar Series in Australia. He also became the only Asian captain to win a Test series against Australia in their backyard.
So far, he has played 86 Test matches for India in which he scored 7240 runs at an average of 53.63 and a strike rate of 57.68 with the help of 27 centuries and 22 50s.
6. MS Dhoni (wk)
MS Dhoni is the greatest wicketkeeper batsman to have played for India and can be considered as the lone contender for this spot. Dhoni has played a crucial role in India’s success in the longest format, wining many matches with his willow and gloves. He used to score many important partnerships with the tail, being rock solid at one end.
On the journey to his only double century in Test cricket, Dhoni made a record 9th wicket partnership with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and is the only wicketkeeper batsman to score a double ton for India. Even in pressure situations he remains calm and that is the reason behind his tremendous success in cricket. His valuable suggestions from behind the stumped played a major role in some Test match triumphs.
In 90 ODIs played for the nation he managed to score 4876 runs at an average of 38.0 with six centuries and a double century. The veteran has the most Test runs and dismissals by an Indian wicket keeper batsman having 294 dismissals to his name.
7. Kapil Dev
This is another automatic selection to this list. We can’t think of an all-time Indian XI in any format without the name Kapil Dev in it. While he is largely celebrated for his heroics in 1983 World Cup win, his contribution in the red ball cricket was no less. He still holds the record for the most no. of wickets by an Indian pacer in Test cricket.
He is one of the best all rounders ever to play cricket and remains as the only man in the history of Test cricket to have scored 5000 runs and taken more than 400 wickets in his career even after 25 years of his retirement. He led the Indian pace attack for most of his career and was am attacking lower order batsman who scored some important runs with the tail.
In 131 Tests he played for the country, he scored 5248 runs with a strike rate of 94.76 with an average of 31.05. He also had 434 wickets with an average of 29.65.
8. Ravichandran Ashwin
Harbhajan Singh who has more test wickets than Ashwin is a very strong contender for this spot. But Ashwin’s amazing bowling average and his ability to play long innings down the order made him to this list. Ashwin initially came into limelight as a specialist T20 bowler, but his consistent performances for the team at the highest level forced the selectors to include him in the Indian Test team.
The Chennai man is one of the main reasons behind team’s latest success. He is the fastest to reach 250, 300 and 25 fifers in Test cricket and also holds the record for most wickets in a four-match series, with 28 wickets. His ability to bat in the lower order is a bonus to the team and he was even sent to bat before Saha in recent times.
Due to his consistent performances, he was named as the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year in 2016. So far, he has played 71 Test matches for the nation and took 365 wickets with an average of 26.47. He also scored 2389 which includes four centuries to his name.
9. Anil Kumble
The Karnataka leg-spinner is the highest wicket-taker for India in both Tests and ODIs as is an automatic selection in this XI. Although the unorthodox spinner doesn’t turn the ball much, Kumble tortured batsman with his flipper and quick deliveries. With class and elegance mixed, he was a true gentleman of the game.
In a match against Pakistan in 1999, Kumble became only the second bowler to take all the ten wickets of an innings beside Jim Laker. Then captain Ganguly once refused to travel Australia without him in the squad and the later didn’t disappoint his captain by becoming the leading wicket-taker for the team in that tour.
In his 132 matches for India, Kumble picked 619 wickets at an average of 29.65 and an economy of just 2.7. He also had a century to his name and scored 2506 runs in his Test career.
10. Zaheer Khan
Current Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma is a strong contender for this spot. But Zaheer’s ability to swing the new ball and reverse the older ball even in the subcontinent conditions made him into this list. India are currently having one of the best bowling attacks in the world. But back in 2000, When Zaheer debuted in international cricket India were struggling in their bowling department and Zaheer used to be the lone warrior for them.
Injuries kept Zaheer out of the team for a considerable amount of time. If not for those injuries, Zaheer is all set to become one of the greatest bowlers ever to play the game with his lethal pace and swing with the ball.
In his 92 appearances for India in Test matches, Zaheer managed to pick 311 wickets at an average of 32.95. He was also a handy batsman at the end and scored 1230 runs for the team in the longest format of the game.
11. Bishen Singh Bedi
Adding this orthodox bowler to the group brings some left-arm spice to the team. Bedi played most of his games in the 70s and was an important member of the team at that time. He had also captained the Indian team for a considerable amount of time between 1975 to 1978.
Bedi’s action while bowling is a bit different to normal as he had a limited run up and used to flight the ball with a reasonable speed. People who faced his bowling claimed that it was not an easy task to predict his length and score runs against him.
In 67 Tests he represented India, Bedi took 266 wickets at an average of 28.71 and with an economy of just 2.22. He still holds the record of most no. of first-class wickets by an Indian with 1560 wickets to his name.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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