Well, typed this in years ago. Even sent it in, it bounced back.
Forgot all about it until now - for some reason I thought it had gone into
rsc sometime. Sorry about this , all you voters on this :-)
Sadiq [ the late returning officer ] Yusuf
Subject: India's All-Time Test XI ( IRC Vote )
Organization: Northwestern University, Evanston Illinois.
Well, have been stretched thin over the last few days, so havent
been able to read (let alone write) to rsc. During the 3rd test match, at
lunch on like the 4th day or so, we voted on a all-time India test XI. I
was given the task of broadcasting this team to the world . So, here goes.
The team is:
Its a team slightly biased towards the present, obviously. This is
because I believe most of us never saw the great players of old, and are
going on sketchy details. Still, it _was_ a popular vote :-)
Some of the positions are obviously filled easily, but there was
contentious debate on others :-) The middle order gave us heaps of trouble,
before these 3 won their way in.
By order, there was some talk of going with Engineer to open
instead of Merchant and no Kiri, which would increase the options, but we
decided against that. Merchant played only 10 tests ( they didnt play many
in those days), but was considered one of the best bats to ever represent
India ( 3 tons in 10 tests, avg of 47 +), and did it all on uncovered
The middle order had Tendulkar suggested and rejected on the
grounds of insufficient evidence - only 1000 runs so far and not played
enough or against everyone I suppose.
There were suggestions of Vijay Manjrekar, Pataudi, Sardesai,
Umrigar, and Hazare, but I guess lack of familiarity killed their chances.
It was the closest of the votes tho. Jimmy also voted down, BTW.
Nissar made it over Amar Singh - no other competition seriously
One of the hardest was leaving out Bedi - he may be the best
left-armer ever !! But we decided Mankad wasnt much worse, and was a
terrific bat to boot - a genuine all-rounder.
Pras got in in a walk. There was some discussion about Gupte for
Chandra, but was voted down.
Personal view. I checked some stats on getting home, and also
talked to a professor here (thanks, professor Tamhane :-) ) who knows more
about these players than I do. Might vote differently on a few things
myself, if I had to do it again.
First, there HAS to be a place found for Vijay Hazare !!! I checked
his stats, terrific. He played 30 tests, had 7 tons at an average of 46 +.
That happens to be higher than Azhar , Vengsarkar and Vishy !!! ( Ahead of
V'kar and Vishy by about 5 runs/inning !!!). And he played some tremendous
knocks against Trueman and co too, supposedly the ONLY Indian bat who got
runs against him ( even Umrigar was supposedly a rabbit against that pace,
he came around only later and scored in WI v/s Hall and co). Supposedly
India's backbone for years - easily the most reliable bat of the side. I
havent thought about it, but would have to have him in place of one of the
other 3 (tho it would be a wrench - thats why I havent thought about it:-))
Then, was told that Bedi was easily better than Mankad, but its
hard to argue against the allrounder logic. We could go with both , that
would have to be considered. We voted on the basis of variety too tho,
which is why Bedi didnt make it. Else, he might make it ahead of Pras or
Chandra on pure spinner merit ( just guessing here, no flames please :-) )
Finally, was told that Gupte might be preferable to Chandra !!! I
checked Gupte's stats , and they're pretty much hot stuff - far better than
I had suspected. 36 tests, almost 150 wickets. And ,was told that while
Chandra was tremendous, he wasnt always consistent. He could run thru a
side but also had poor games. Gupte was a classical leggie - the vivid
imagery used was that he seemed to have a string attached to the ball, and
seemed to jerk it around and make the batsman dance whenever he wanted. An
absolute master. One fault might have been that he might not have been able
to take punishment, but that didnt happen often enough for the theory to be
In conclusion, it's a pretty darned good team :-) There is the
possiblity of some other players making it, but thats what makes these
discussions fun :-)
Sadiq [ scribe in a hurry ] Yusuf