A lot of cricketers have been making their dream XI across different formats of the game. A team where former Indian captain and head coach Anil Kumble was himself designated as captain, he had to pick his playing XI amongst the players who have represented India after 1990- the year Kumble made his debut.
Therefore, the 4-year-old roped in players from his era and also some of the current players who have impressed him.
Kumble has designated Rahul Dravid to open the innings along with Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli to bat at three in his dream Indian Test XI since 1990.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly and leading off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin have failed to make the cut in the playing XI though they made a very strong case.
Kumble had no hesitation in assigning the fourth and fifth batting position to Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman respectively. The best Indian Test batsman of Kumble’s era and arguably the best of all-time were bestowed with the positions quite generously.
Jumbo has given number 6 position to India’s first world cup winning captain Kapil Dev. He unhesitantly titled Kapil as the best Indian all-rounder and also stated that he could any day qualify for just his batting. His versatility on the field is also something that counts.
Talking about his dream 11, Kumble said, “I really enjoyed this exercise of putting together “Jumbo’s Army”. Since it involved picking a team made up of my peers and those who have played after me, I had to put a fair bit of thought into my choices. I am sure some of my ex-colleagues will put up a strong argument about why they should have been included but I am comfortable with my selection. This team, I can confidently say, can compete in all conditions against any opposition. I congratulate those participants that have matched my selection! Needless to say, these kinds of selections aren’t easy and comfortable as you have to leave out some accomplished players who have played with you.”
Anil Kumble’s India Test XI since 1990:
Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Kapil Dev, MS Dhoni (wk), Anil Kumble (c), Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath
While explaining some of his choices, Kumble said:
Dravid as Opener: “I had to bat Rahul out of position, for the simple reason that I needed depth in the middle order. I don’t think Rahul is new to opening the batting.”
On excluding Ganguly: “You would want a left-hander in the middle order, it was a difficult choice. But the kind of innings Laxman has had and the ability to have a long partnership tipped the scales in his favour.”
On Dhoni as first-choice wicket-keeper: “He quietly did the role of a keeper without a fuss, took some wonderful catches and his stumpings are folklore. He also brings the ability to read the game from behind the stumps.”
On Harbhajan over Ashwin – “Harbhajan has been my best partner as a spinner, if I am bowling from one end then he is from the other. Ashwin was a very close call, he’s the fastest to 300 wickets, but since I have played a lot with Bhajji, I will go with him.”