Oh my god, can this be India’s all-time best XI?

A jury of eight former Indian captains has come up with a Dream Team to mark the 75th anniversary of Indian cricket. And—shocker of shockers!—there is no place for the world’s most dependable batsman Rahul Dravid, India’s highest wicket-taker, Anil Kumble, or indeed India’s finest matchwinner, B.S. Chandrashekhar. Happily, there is a place for Javagal Srinath.

The dream team reads thus:

Sunil Gavaskar (captain)
Vinoo Mankad
Vijay Hazare (vice-captain)
Sachin Tendulkar
Mohammed Azharuddin
G.R. Vishwanath
Kapil Dev
Syed Kirmani (wicketkeeper)
Javagal Srinath
E.A.S. Prasanna
Subash Gupte

12th Main: Vijay Manjrekar

Reserves: Mohammed Nissar, B S Chandrashekhar, Rahul Dravid

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The original shortlist was drawn up by G.R. Vishwanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, S. Venkataraghavan, K. Srikkanth, Ajit Wadekar, Nari Contractor, Syed Kirmani and Abbas Ali Baig. Their shortlists were then screened and vetted by E.A.S. Prasanna, veteran cricket writer Rajan Bala and editors of Press Trust of India.

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Is this the best team ever? Or have the eight wise men been what Mohinder Amarnath once called the selectors: a bunch of jokers? Does it make sense to keep out Dravid (average: 57.46) and Kumble (552 Test wickets)? And Chandra? Will this team fare well against any team except Don Bradman‘s 1948 Invincibles, as claimed by Rajan Bala? Is Gavaskar our finest leader of these 75 years? Who would you pencil in or strike out?

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