NEW DELHI: Former Indian cricket team opener Gautam Gambhir, who is now a Member of Parliament, is known for his bold moves and statements. Be it cricket, politics or any social issues, he has proven enough that he never treads the beaten path. In tune with this ‘hatke’ reputation, the former Indian international picked his all-time India Test XI and as only Gambhir can do it, he pulled off many surprises.
In what could make a few greats of the game wriggle in their seats with unease, Gambhir chose Anil Kumble as the captain of his all-time great Indian Test team. And this selection comes ahead of Saurav Ganguly, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. For the former opener from Delhi, Anil Kumble is the “best that he has ever played under”. Worse still, there is no place at all for Ganguly in Gambhir’s team and this certainly is going to be like adding insult to injury for all the ‘Dada’ fans.
For the openers’ slots, Gautam selects the unlikely combination of swashbuckler Virender Sehwag and the legendary ‘little master’ Sunil Gavaskar and fills the next top order position with ‘the wall of Indian cricket’ Rahul Dravid. His middle order appears to be the strongest with the presence of ‘God of cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar at no.4 and modern cricket’s greatest name and current Indian captain Virat Kohli to follow at no.5.
Then comes another legend of Indian cricket Kapil Dev as the only all-rounder in the team at 6, followed by India’s most successful captain ‘Mr Cool’ Mahindra Singh Dhoni but merely as a wicketkeeper. Interestingly, Gambhir’s spinning options were captain Anil Kumble and former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. And the team gets complete with the inclusion of Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan as the two speedsters.
Gauthi had an interesting take on why he chose Anil Kumble ahead of many others as the captain of his all-time India XI. This is what he had to say during a sports talk show: “Ahead of the tour Down Under, Kumble told me and Sehwag that we both will open throughout the series. He said even if we get eight ducks in the series, it doesn’t matter. I never received this kind of support from anyone in my career. Those words are there still in my heart. If I have to give my life to anyone, then it would be Anil Kumble.”
This is how Gautam Gambhir’s All-time India Test XI reads: Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Kapil Dev, MS Dhoni, Anil Kumble (captain), Harbhajan Singh, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan.