Harbhajan Singh names 3 former Indian teammates in his All-time test XI from the players he has played with or against during his international career.
India Off spinner Harbhajan Sigh recently opened up on his all-time best test 11 in an interview with ESPNcricinfo’s online magazine ‘The Cricket Monthly’. He was asked to name a team of the best players he has played with or against, during his international career.
He picked his former teammate Virender Sehwag and explosive Australian batsman Mathew Hayden as his opening pair. The pair would be followed by his compatriots Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar at number 3 and 4 respectively; the same positions they batted at for a majority of their test careers.
Ponting’s leadership unparalleled
Jacques Kallis and Ricky Pointing rounded out the middle order with Kumara Sangakkara donning the wicket keeper’s gloves. While Kallis was an obvious pick for the all-rounders spot, both Ponting and Sangakkara had challengers for their places.
Harbhajan defended picking Sangakkara over Gilchrist by pointing out that despite both of them being excellent keepers, Sangakkara had a phenomenal batting record as well; which would have been even better if batting was his sole focus.
“Obviously Adam Gilchrist was a great player but Sangakkara’s record speaks for itself,” Harbhajan said. “He averaged 57 in Tests and it would have been a lot more had he not also been a wicketkeeper in the first part of his career.”
Ponting’s inclusion was not as straightforward. Virat Kohli, Kevin Pietersen and Brian Lara also had legitimate claims to the side. However, in the end it was Ponting who would find his place in the All-time 11 side.
Interestingly, despite playing under all the three Indian players in his list at different points in his career, he chose Ponting as the captain of his side. He reasoned his decision by claiming that the leadership skills Ponting exhibited were almost unparalleled.
Shaun Pollock, Wasim Akram and Glenn Mcgrath lined up as the fast bowlers in the side while Australian legend Shane Warne filled in as the only spinner.
Harbhajan all praise for former teammates
On his decision to include Sehwag in the line-up, Harbhajan said:
“He was someone you could compare with Viv Richards. He wasn’t afraid to take anyone on, and he would score at a pace where he would set the match up for the bowlers. I played a lot of cricket with and against him from the Under-19 days when he was a middle-order player, and maybe that’s why he was really good against spin; using his feet, sweeping, reverse-sweeping. He was very hard to bowl to. He could rip you apart. If you didn’t get him out early, you would be in for a long day.”
He was also full of praise for Dravid, who he described as “the most dependable batsman that I’ve ever played against or bowled to.” While Tendulkar was called the most correct batsman the 39-year old had ever faced in his career.
“Sachin was obviously Sachin. The most correct batsman I’ve ever bowled to. I played for Rest of India v Mumbai in the Irani Trophy a couple of times and he always got runs. To get him out was always a difficult task, like a puzzle. You have to bowl double the number of good balls that you would bowl to a normal batsman to get him out.”
Harbhajan Singh’s All-time Test XI
Virender Sehwag, Matthew Hayden; Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting (C), Kumar Sangakkara (WK); Shaun Pollock, Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Glenn McGrath
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