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To celebrate the start of the Test series, Mihir Bose, BBC sports editor and author of The History of Indian Cricket, selects his best all-time India side.

Daily Telegraph

Mihir Bose’s all-time India XI

Sunil Gavaskar: Aside from being a schoolmate, he took Indian batting to heights it had never before attained, beginning in his first series against West Indies when he matched Bradman. His 221 at the Oval was rated by Len Hutton as the finest ever innings.

Vijay Merchant: Had the second highest first-class average in the history of the game and was a batsman Alec Bedser rated as one of the best in the world.

Rahul Dravid: The ultimate No 3 — the wall who can block but also score. He has never looked back since his 95 against England in his Test debut at Lord’s in 1996.

Sachin Tendulkar: Undoubtedly the finest batsman India has ever produced, the man Shane Warne rates as the best he has bowled to, and not a bad leg-break bowler either.

Vijay Hazare: Scored a century in each innings against Bradman’s Australians, was a useful medium pacer and captained India to its first ever Test victory.

Nawab of Pataudi Jnr (Mansur Ali Khan) (c): Captains the side and is the only controversial selection. But he was a fine batsman — who had only one good eye — and perhaps the most imaginative, daring Indian captain ever. He rescued the side after the 42 all-out series in England in 1974.

Farokh Engineer (wk): A fine wicket-keeper and dashing batsman who nearly scored a hundred before lunch against the West Indies.

Kapil Dev: Led India to its only World Cup victory and is undoubtedly the country’s greatest all-rounder. His emergence satisfied a long-felt need for Indian fast bowlers and he won matches with both bat and ball.

Vinoo Mankad: A supreme left-arm spin bowler, who was also a fine attacking batsman. He and P Roy hold the record for an opening stand in Test cricket — and his batting gives him the edge over Bishen Singh Bedi.

Amar Singh: Along with Muhammed Nissar, formed India’s opening pair in its Test debut in 1932. He was feared by English batsman of his generation, with Wally Hammond saying he came off the pitch like the crack of doom.

BS Chandrasekhar: Gets ahead of Subash Gupte, my childhood hero, because his unorthodox leg spin often won matches — like the Oval Test of 1971, when India won its first ever Test and series in England.

Reserves: Subash Gupte, Gundappe Vishwanath, Sourav Ganguly, Bishen Bedi.

Mihir Bose is BBC Sports Editor and author of The History of Indian Cricket, which won the Cricket Society Silver Jubilee Literary Award in 1990

© Mihir Bose

Simon Hughes’ all-time England XI

Graham Gooch: The definitive Test opener, capable of getting innings off to a thumping start but also very accomplished against spin. The pioneer of the slog sweep and in it for the long haul, as many Indians fielding during his 333 at Lord’s in 1990 will recall.

Jack Hobbs: The best accumulator in the business on any surface, as records prove. Given the even batting surface at Lord’s these days he would be expected to add to his 197 centuries.

Wally Hammond (c): A dashing, cavalier batsman with an array of shots all around the wicket. Also a good fielder and useful change bowler, and general good sport. Never dull with him as captain.

David Gower: A marginal selection ahead of Kevin Pietersen, but his left-handedness would make him invaluable and his calm demeanour at the crease and general skill at dispatching the bad ball cement his place.

Denis Compton: A brilliant stroke player and particularly inventive against spin. He loved playing in India, where he was regularly offered money to bat for teams in the Ranji Trophy.

Ian Botham: His unparalleled performance in the 1979 Bombay Test, when he took 10 wickets and scored a century in the same match, makes him a shoe-in as England’s main all-rounder. A canny operator with a ragged old ball as well as a shiny new one.

Andrew Flintoff: His batting against India has never really fired but he provides big-hitting shots down the order and his fast, reliable bowling is world class on any pitch.

Alan Knott (wk): The best all-round gloveman to pull on an England shirt and guaranteed to sweep leg spinners to distraction with the bat and his general inspiration on the field.

Fred Trueman: No real argument that he is the best fast bowler England has ever produced, on a par with Dennis Lillee for menace and adaptability and will charge in all day.

Derek Underwood: The only England spinner to have got close to 300 wickets but his value at Lord’s would be in containment and perseverance as much as devastating spin. A bowler you can never take liberties with.

Bob Willis: The out-and-out speedster that England would need to discomfort the diminutive Indian batsmen because of the alarming bounce he generates from considerable height.

AP Freeman (12th man): The phenomenal Kent and England leg spinner would be preferred to Underwood if the pitch looked unduly worn in appearance before the toss.

India and England: Greatest Test sides
To celebrate the start of the Test series, Mihir Bose, BBC sports editor and author of The History of Indian Cricket, selects his best all-time India side.

Daily Telegraph
July 19, 2007

Mihir Bose’s all-time India XI

Sunil Gavaskar: Aside from being a schoolmate, he took Indian batting to heights it had never before attained, beginning in his first series against West Indies when he matched Bradman. His 221 at the Oval was rated by Len Hutton as the finest ever innings.

Vijay Merchant: Had the second highest first-class average in the history of the game and was a batsman Alec Bedser rated as one of the best in the world.

Rahul Dravid: The ultimate No 3 — the wall who can block but also score. He has never looked back since his 95 against England in his Test debut at Lord’s in 1996.

Sachin Tendulkar: Undoubtedly the finest batsman India has ever produced, the man Shane Warne rates as the best he has bowled to, and not a bad leg-break bowler either.

Vijay Hazare: Scored a century in each innings against Bradman’s Australians, was a useful medium pacer and captained India to its first ever Test victory.

Nawab of Pataudi Jnr (Mansur Ali Khan) (c): Captains the side and is the only controversial selection. But he was a fine batsman — who had only one good eye — and perhaps the most imaginative, daring Indian captain ever. He rescued the side after the 42 all-out series in England in 1974.

Farokh Engineer (wk): A fine wicket-keeper and dashing batsman who nearly scored a hundred before lunch against the West Indies.

Kapil Dev: Led India to its only World Cup victory and is undoubtedly the country’s greatest all-rounder. His emergence satisfied a long-felt need for Indian fast bowlers and he won matches with both bat and ball.

Vinoo Mankad: A supreme left-arm spin bowler, who was also a fine attacking batsman. He and P Roy hold the record for an opening stand in Test cricket — and his batting gives him the edge over Bishen Singh Bedi.

Amar Singh: Along with Muhammed Nissar, formed India’s opening pair in its Test debut in 1932. He was feared by English batsman of his generation, with Wally Hammond saying he came off the pitch like the crack of doom.

BS Chandrasekhar: Gets ahead of Subash Gupte, my childhood hero, because his unorthodox leg spin often won matches — like the Oval Test of 1971, when India won its first ever Test and series in England.

Reserves: Subash Gupte, Gundappe Vishwanath, Sourav Ganguly, Bishen Bedi.

Mihir Bose is BBC Sports Editor and author of The History of Indian Cricket, which won the Cricket Society Silver Jubilee Literary Award in 1990

© Mihir Bose


Simon Hughes’ all-time England XI

Graham Gooch: The definitive Test opener, capable of getting innings off to a thumping start but also very accomplished against spin. The pioneer of the slog sweep and in it for the long haul, as many Indians fielding during his 333 at Lord’s in 1990 will recall.

Jack Hobbs: The best accumulator in the business on any surface, as records prove. Given the even batting surface at Lord’s these days he would be expected to add to his 197 centuries.

Wally Hammond (c): A dashing, cavalier batsman with an array of shots all around the wicket. Also a good fielder and useful change bowler, and general good sport. Never dull with him as captain.

David Gower: A marginal selection ahead of Kevin Pietersen, but his left-handedness would make him invaluable and his calm demeanour at the crease and general skill at dispatching the bad ball cement his place.

Denis Compton: A brilliant stroke player and particularly inventive against spin. He loved playing in India, where he was regularly offered money to bat for teams in the Ranji Trophy.

Ian Botham: His unparalleled performance in the 1979 Bombay Test, when he took 10 wickets and scored a century in the same match, makes him a shoe-in as England’s main all-rounder. A canny operator with a ragged old ball as well as a shiny new one.

Andrew Flintoff: His batting against India has never really fired but he provides big-hitting shots down the order and his fast, reliable bowling is world class on any pitch.

Alan Knott (wk): The best all-round gloveman to pull on an England shirt and guaranteed to sweep leg spinners to distraction with the bat and his general inspiration on the field.

Fred Trueman: No real argument that he is the best fast bowler England has ever produced, on a par with Dennis Lillee for menace and adaptability and will charge in all day.

Derek Underwood: The only England spinner to have got close to 300 wickets but his value at Lord’s would be in containment and perseverance as much as devastating spin. A bowler you can never take liberties with.

Bob Willis: The out-and-out speedster that England would need to discomfort the diminutive Indian batsmen because of the alarming bounce he generates from considerable height.

AP Freeman (12th man): The phenomenal Kent and England leg spinner would be preferred to Underwood if the pitch looked unduly worn in appearance before the toss.

      

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