For a long time, India has been a wellspring of brilliant cricketers. Cricket has been India’s most popular sport for nearly four decades. As a result, it’s no surprise that the country has produced a lot of exceptional cricketers. There have been around 300 people who have played Test cricket for India, and many of them have made an indelible mark on the game. This is an attempt to create India’s best Test XI.
● Sunil Gavaskar
Gavaskar’s inclusion in this XI is a formality, as he is arguably the greatest Test opener of all time. In a spectacular career that included 125 Test appearances, the ‘Little Blaster’ shattered every record in front of him with the most resolute of methods.
He was the first man in Test cricket history to score 10,000 runs, and his record of 34 tonnes remained for over two decades. His batting average of nearly 65 against an all-conquering West Indian team at the time was proof of his greatness.
● Virender Sehwag
Sehwag’s finest for India came in the Test whites, despite having an aggressive and adventurous approach that seemed better suited to the limited-overs formats. Sehwag made the difficult job of opening the innings look easy with his minimum footwork, amassing 8,569 Test runs at an average of over 50.
Sehwag was one of only four batsmen in history to score two triple Test hundreds, and once he was comfortable at the crease, he had a tendency for playing large innings. His batting strike rate of 82.23 across his career speaks eloquently about his ability to demolish bowling attacks.
● Rahul Dravid
Dravid, dubbed the ‘Wall’, was a classic old-school batsman who simply loved to bat, and bat.
He was a man who thrived in any environment and could handle both pace and spin. Dravid created a remarkable international career packed with landmark knocks, with 36 Test tonnes and 13,288 runs.
● Sachin Tendulkar
After a remarkable career spanning over 24 years, the ‘Master Blaster’ has a legitimate claim to be the greatest batsman of all time.
Tendulkar’s grandeur was just scratched when he made 200 appearances, nearly 16,000 runs, and 51 hundred in a career that surpassed everything that came before him. The fact that witnessing Tendulkar in action reminded Sir Don Bradman of his own batting speaks everything about the Indian superstar’s bat mastery.
● Virat Kohli – Captain
Kohli has already established himself as the most successful Test skipper in India’s history. He was the man expected to step into Tendulkar’s big shoes for India, and he hasn’t let anyone down.
Kohli has 27 tonnes in just 147 innings, almost comparable to Tendulkar’s Test batting average. Only Bradman, Kumar Sangakkara, and Brian Lara have more Test double tonnes than Kohli, who has six to his credit. He earns the captaincy hat for this XI due to his good record as captain and the fact that he managed India’s first Test series triumph on Australian soil.
● VVS Laxman
Laxman would go on to torment the Australians multiple times over the course of a long Test career after that famous knock in 2001. The right-hander amassed nearly 9,000 Test runs while also contributing to 17 hundreds with the most beautiful of wrist-work. He was a key member of India’s batting unit at a time when it was perhaps the best in the country’s history.
● MS Dhoni – Wicketkeeper
Throughout history, India hasn’t exactly been blessed with the best wicketkeepers, but MS Dhoni still manages to stand head and shoulders above the opposition. With a total of 294 Test dismissals, the former India captain amassed nearly 5,000 runs at a good average of 38.09 and was more than capable behind the stumps.
Dhoni, who could offer some quick runs down the order for India, also led the side to the Test format’s No. 1 position in 2011.
● Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev is a name synonymous with Indian cricket. He is the only all-rounder in history to score 5,000 runs and take 400 wickets. The all-rounder was captain of the team that won India’s first World Cup in 1983, and he also had a successful 16-year Test career.
While his contributions, particularly with the bat, waned in the later half of his career, Dev remains one of India’s finest cricketers.
● Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble is by far the most successful Test bowler India has ever produced, with 619 Test wickets. The leg-career spinner’s had many highlights, but none surpassed his feat of capturing all ten wickets in an innings against Pakistan in 1999.
Kumble’s efficacy was derived from the pace and bounce he generated with the ball, despite the fact that he was labelled as a leg-spinner.
● Ravichandran Ashwin
With 365 wickets at an average of 25.43, the Chennai man has been a major contributor to the current Indian team’s climb to the top of the Test rankings. He’s also a capable batsman, having amassed four tonnes and 11 half-centuries in the lower order.
● Zaheer Khan
Khan wasn’t always the most consistent with the red-ball early in his career, but county stints in England helped him develop into a deadly seamer. The Mumbai bowler, who can swing the new ball and reverse swing the older ball, has produced multiple match-winning performances for India, including a successful tour of England in 2007.