Indian Cricket Team: Picking An All-Time Test XI

Indian Cricket Team celebrate winning the test series in England 1-0 in 2007. Sachin Tendular, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and VVS Laxman.

The Indian Cricket Team: A Rich History

The Indian Cricket Team first played test match cricket in 1932 against England. However, it took them until 1952, in their 24th test match to record a victory. It came against England at Madras (now Chennai).

Fast Forward to 2020.

The Indian Cricket Team has won 157 test matches to date and has had some fantastic cricketers over the years. Virat Kohli and Ravi Ashwin are two of the best cricketers in the world currently and have been for a sustained time period in test matches.

India had recently been ranked as the number one test side in the world, due to their dominance at home and also because of their ability to win test matches away from home.

But, who makes the Indian Cricket Team’s All-Time Test XI?

The Openers

Virender Sehwag and Sunil Gavaskar

Indian Cricket Team Virender Sehwag scores a triple century at Multan 2004 vs Pakistan
MULTAN, PAKISTAN: Indian batsman Virender Sehwag (R) celebrates his triple century as Pakistani wicketkeeper Moin Khan (back to camera) looks on during the second day of the first Test match between Pakistan and Indian in Multan, 29 March 2004. Sehwag hit a triple century and became the highest Indian Test scorer. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)

Virender Sehwag has scored 8586 test match runs for the Indian Cricket Team. His strike rate while scoring such runs is sublime. Sehwag’s career strike rate of 82.23 the highest for any Indian player in this team. Plus, it is within the top 3 of all time – only behind Afridi and Southee. However, only Sehwag has such a volume of runs.

His best innings include the 319 at Chennai versus South Africa in 2008 and the 195 at Melbourne versus Australia in 2003.

Partnering him is Sunil Gavaskar who was a master in both technique and defence. Michael Holding rated him as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. Richie Benaud included him in his all-time eleven. He faced the quickest bowlers in his time, without a helmet and still managed to average 51.12 in test match cricket.

He scored a brilliant 236 versus the West Indies against a bowling attack including Malcolm Marshall, Winston Davies, Michael Holding and Andy Roberts. Gavaskar is also one of the few Asian batsmen to average over 50 in Australia in test match cricket.

Also, Read – Ravindra Jadeja v Krunal Pandya


The Middle Order – Heart of the Indian Cricket Team

Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, VVS Laxman

Indian Cricket Team Sachin Tendulkar bats versus England 2007
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 23: India batsman Sachin Tendulkar drives a ball to the boundary watched by Ian Bell during day three of the 1st npower test match between England and India at Lords on July 23, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Unarguably India’s two greatest test batsmen of all time – Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar both find a place in the Indian Cricket Team all-time eleven at 3 and 4. The wall and the little master.

Both had long and prolific careers that helped India become one of the best touring teams for a brief period of time. With both in the side, India enjoyed a test series wins in West Indies in 2006, England in 2007 and New Zealand in 2009. They also played crucial parts in the famous 2001 test series – where India beat Steve Waugh’s Australia.

Virat Kohli could become India’s greatest test batsman of all time. He has already dominated in all conditions against all attacks. His form during the 2014/15 series in Australia was scintillating and four years later he captained the Indian Cricket Team to its first-ever test series win down under.

Watch – Virat Kohli’s epic 149 vs England at Edgbaston

VVS Laxman. The 281 he scored in 2001 is perhaps the most important innings in India’s history. He also played two crucial knocks against South Africa at Johannesburg in 2006/7 and at Durban in 2010/11 to help India to two famous wins. A classy player.

His wristwork was glorious to watch through the off-side. Sourav Ganguly was unlucky to miss out from this team but the presence of VVS Laxman means that others find it difficult to find a spot.


Keeper + All-Rounder

MS Dhoni and Kapil Dev

MS Dhoni bats for India vs England 2014 test series
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – JULY 09: India batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni picks up some runs as Matt Prior looks on during day one of the 1st Investec Test Match between England and India at Trent Bridge on July 9, 2014 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

MS Dhoni has the best statistics for any wicketkeeper that has played for the Indian Cricket Team in test match cricket. He averaged 38.09 throughout his test career and would often save the side from a collapse – especially in overseas conditions. His career-best score of 224 was a fantastic innings against Australia at Chennai in 2013.

Kapil Dev is India’s best-ever test match all-rounder and also their best ever fast bowler. He inspired a generation to watch cricket through his 1983 World Cup feats. However, he was equally, if not more impressive in the test format for the Indian Cricket Team.

He scored over 5000 runs and took over 400 test wickets. An easy and obvious pick in the Indian Cricket Team.


The Bowlers

Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, Ravi Ashwin

Anil Kumble bowls for India verus England 2007 test match series
Indian bowler Anil Kumble (C) is congratulated by Wasim Jaffer (L) and Rudra Pradap Singh (R) after capturing the wicket of England captain Michael Vaughan during the third day of the third test between England and India at the Oval cricket ground, London, on 11 August 2007. AFP PHOTO/CHRIS YOUNG (Photo credit should read CHRIS YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

Anil Kumble was India’s greatest-ever match-winner with the ball. He has taken 619 test match wickets in just 132 test matches. He also has 31 four-wicket hauls, 35 five-wicket hauls and 8 ten-wicket hauls. Kumble also holds the record for the most wickets taken in the Border-Gavaskar series.

Zaheer Khan was perhaps India’s second-best fast bowler of all-time. He bowled exceptionally well during the series in England in 2007. India won the series 1-0. He had the ability to swing the new ball and also reverse swing the old ball.

Ravi Ashwin is perhaps one of my favourite players in this team. He has represented the Chennai Super Kings in the past – my favourite Indian Premier League team. In fact, he received his Indian Cricket Team call-up via the IPL.

CSK had won the 2011 edition and Ravi Ashwin had bowled really well which helped catch the eye of the captain at the time – Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Ravi Ashwin is statistically India’s greatest ever bowler and also one of their best-ever all-rounders. Ravi Ashwin had played 71 test matches for the Indian Cricket Team. In this time, he has taken 365 test match wickets at a bowling average of 25.43.

He has also scored over 2000 test match runs at a batting average of 28 – including four centuries. He took a five-wicket haul on his debut and continued to get better with games. One of India’s best ever.

This makes a very strong Indian Cricket Team. The team bats all the way down up till 10 with only Zaheer Khan a less able batsman. It also has four solid bowling options with Tendulkar and Sehwag being able to help as the fifth bowling option.

What Would Be Your All-Time Indian Test XI?


The Future of the Indian Cricket Team

Jasprit Bumrah bowls against New Zealand in 2020
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – MARCH 02: Jasprit Bumrah of India bowls during day three of the Second Test match between New Zealand and India at Hagley Oval on March 02, 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Jasprit Bumrah did not find a place in this eleven because he has only played a small sample size of matches. In 14 test matches, he has taken 68 wickets at an average of just 20.33. He has also taken 5 five-wicket hauls. He is undoubtedly one for the future and could become India’s second greatest fast bowler of all time after Kapil Dev.

Bumrah’s unorthodox action makes him difficult to play, especially when the bowl is moving laterally via swing and seam. His biggest test is still yet to come. He has not bowled at home in Indian conditions yet. Historically, there is very little movement in such conditions.

Bumrah will have to learn from the likes of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav in order to excel in Indian conditions too. However, he has all the skills to do well at home.



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