Sourav Ganguly announced his all-time XI in a recent interview for the Lord’s Cricket Youtube Channel. Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar are the only two Indian players who have made the cut in Sourav Ganguly’s all-time XI apart from four Australians, two Sri Lankans, two South Africans and one England cricketer.
While naming the players, Ganguly mentioned he picked only those players against who have played with or against him, or have been strongly influenced him with their class and ability.
The 44-year-old, who retired in 2008 with 113 Tests for India scoring 7,212 runs and appeared in 311 ODIs amassing 11,363 runs, has as line-up which has qualities any ‘invincible’ team would have in their ranks.
Attacking Mathew Hayden and England’s most reliable opener Alastair Cook will open the innings for him. At No.3 is the best defensive batsmen of the modern era – Rahul Dravid while Sachin Tendulkar occupies the No.4 position.
Ganguly has led both the cricketers for a long time. Both Dravid and Tendulkar played at the same position at the time when ‘Dada’ was at the helm. Therefore, it seemed like a natural choice for him.
The backbone of the batting order, the middle order looks rock solid with Jacques Kallis, Kumar Sangakkara and Ricky Ponting taking up the No. 5, 6 & 7 spots. Kallis definitely can make it into any squad given the amount of success he has achieved as a seam bowling all-rounder for South Africa. Apart from being a solid batsman, Sangakkara also ended up as the greatest wicket keeper Sri Lanka ever had in their history.
While rest of the batting order seemed great and quite predictable, Ponting at No.7 was a surprising and an out of the box decision. The Australian great, ranked only behind Sir Don Bradman in his country, was the arguably the greatest No.3 to have ever played the game. Ganguly’s decision to squeeze him in his team seems like a desperate act but it doesn’t seem wrong at all. Also, a side needs a captain and Ponting perhaps is the best option to lead a team filled with such superstars.
The 44-year-old has opted for a four-man bowling attack featuring two frontline fast bowlers and two frontline spinners with Glenn Mcgrath leading the attack along with Dale Steyn, Shane Warne, and Muttiah Muralitharan.
Ganguly’s all-time XI:
Matthew Hayden (Australia), Alastair Cook (England), Rahul Dravid (India), Sachin Tendulkar ( India), Jacques Kallis (South Africa), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka – wicketkeeper), Ricky Ponting (Australia – captain), Glenn McGrath (Australia), Dale Steyn (South Africa), Shane Warne ( Australia), Muttiah Muralitharan ( Sri Lanka).