Mehidy Hasan Miraz showed the value of bowlers batting. He’s opened in T20s and made middle-order cameos before. This gives the XI some flexibility with bat or ball. Sunday was enjoyable. Australia beat West Indies. Both sides have a chance tomorrow after England’s eye-catching declaration in Rawalpindi. India was stunned. Wednesday afternoon, these two sides will clash again. Goodbye!
Bangladesh’s day. Their series debut was great. KL Rahul’s dropped catch? Was India’s loss due to the last-wicket stand? You can’t win with 186 on a 250 pitch. The bowlers did a great job making the target big enough.
The ICC is cricket’s governing body. Members include 12 Full Members and 96 Associate Members from 108 national associations. Founded in 1909 as the Imperial Cricket Conference, it was renamed in 1965 and 1987.
12 Full Members play Test matches, and 96 Associate Members are ICC members.
The ICC organizes and governs cricket’s major international tournaments, including the Cricket and T20 World Cups. It appoints umpires and referees for Tests, ODIs, and T20Is. It promulgates the ICC Code of Conduct, which sets professional standards for international cricket. Its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit coordinates action against corruption and match-fixing.
Suresh Raina was the modern Indian cricketer: an attacking left-hander who went for the big shots and cleared the field when at his best. Despite a promising start, Raina’s Test career never reached the heights of his limited-overs career due to his poor short-ball technique, which was mercilessly exploited in Test cricket.
Raina’s run-scoring and string of double-hundreds propelled him to the Indian junior team and then India. Raina became the 12th Indian to score a Test century on debut after five years as a limited-overs specialist who played 98 ODIs.
Raina made his Test debut in Sri Lanka in place of injured teammate Yuvraj Singh, a left-hander, dasher, and India’s most athletic fielder in the early 2000s. In England in 2011, Raina’s lack of pace, seam, and swing skills again raised questions about his ability to be a consistent Test player for India.
Rohit Sharma, from the Mumbai suburbs, was the heir apparent to the 2000s Indian batting greats. By the 2010s, he was a white-ball cricket colossus and led the first T20 league’s most formidable team.
Both casual and trained observers saw Rohit’s talent. Though selectors and captains knew better, fans were frustrated by his long wait for runs. “Talent” was Rohit’s social media slur. Things clicked once he opened the batting in ODIs late in 2012.
Rohit scored ODI double-hundreds for fun, won five IPLs in the first 12 editions, scored five hundreds at the 2019 ODI World Cup, and when he finally opened in Tests in 2019, he scored three quick hundreds in his first series, one of them a double.
Indian fast bowler Zaheer Khan has all the qualities that made Pakistani fast bowlers famous. He controls SG, Duke, and Kookaburra, swings the new ball and reverses the old, and enjoys flat subcontinent pitches and helpful ones away. Zaheer’s mind is as good as Wasim Akram’s, even though he lacks his skills. Zaheer knows how to get wickets, when to go for the kill, and when a batsman shows a weakness, he exploits it. He avoids controversy and is low-key off the field, unlike the 2000s Pakistan fast bowlers.
Injuries neatly divide Zaheer’s career into three sections. Since bowling Steve Waugh with a full delivery in the 2000 Champions Trophy, he showed promise. In 2003-04, a mysterious hamstring injury in Australia turned out to be a nerve twitch, which tortured him for two years. New injuries derailed every comeback.
Sunil Gavaskar was the most successful opening batsman ever. He relied on near-perfect technique and intense concentration. His almost impenetrable defence made his wicket one of the hardest to take. He was balanced, played well off both feet, and had great length and line judgment. He had almost every stroke but sacrificed flair for his team’s stability. Sachin Tendulkar broke Gavaskar’s record for Test hundreds, but statistics don’t show his true value to India. He elevated Indian cricket and taught his teammates professionalism. Indian cricket self-actualized under him. Since retiring, Gavaskar has worked as a TV commentator, analyst, and columnist, as well as for the BCCI and as ICC cricket committee chairman. After some controversial comments, he resigned to continue as a media columnist and commentator.
Kapil Dev was India’s best pace bowler and allrounder. He would have been the world’s best allrounder if he hadn’t played when Imran Khan, Ian Botham, and Richard Hadlee were. He was India’s 2002 Cricketer of the Century, ahead of Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. He led India to the 1983 World Cup and took Hadlee’s world-record Test wickets. Marathon runner stamina got him to 431 wickets and a yard beyond. He was not as fast as Imran, Hadlee, or Botham, and his strike rate was less than four wickets per Test, but he was accurate and could swing the ball away from right-handers. He hit a ball even better than he bowled it, with ease.
India’s greatest match-winner was unorthodox spinner Anil “Jumbo” Kumble. Kumble was a tall, lean spinner. He did not create ripples around batsmen like Shane Warne or Muralitharan. He took 619 Test wickets, second only to Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. He won fans and teammates over by being fiercely competitive on the field and calm and humble off it. Perhaps cricket’s last gentleman was Anil Kumble.
Kumble’s toughness and hard work were his strengths. Anil’s career started poorly, but a few brief appearances in the 1990 Australasia Cup and the subsequent ODI series in England showed his nagging accuracy. He was unexpectedly omitted from the 1992 World Cup in Australia.
Adam Gilchrist was the most exciting cricketer of the 2000s and the symbol of Australia’s steamrolling agenda. He was a happy throwback to simpler times, a flap-eared country boy who walked when given not out in a World Cup semi-final, and a Test pair batsman who swatted his second ball for six.
“Just hit the ball” was his batting philosophy, and he rarely deviated. Gilchrist poked good balls into gaps and throttled most others with a high-on-the-handle grip, head straight, wrists soft, and balance perfect. He threw the textbook with a hammer-like bat at the end. Still, he scored at 81 per 100 balls in Tests and 96 in ODIs, making Viv Richards and Gilbert Jessop look slow.
Pat Cummins was hailed as a future star after leading the 2010-11 state-based Big Bash League wicket-taker list at 17.
The Sydney boy became the youngest Cricket Australia central contract holder in 2011-12.
He played Test cricket against South Africa in 2011 after only a few first-class games. In Australia’s narrow win, he took 6-79 in the second innings and hit the winning runs.
Cummins returned to NSW for the Marsh One Day Cup and helped Australia win the 2015 ODI World Cup after a long injury layoff.
From the 2017-18 Ashes, Cummins led an impressive pace attack with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
In 2021, he won Australia’s first men’s T20 World Cup and became the world’s top Test bowler.
Pat Cummins became Australia’s 47th Test captain in November 2021, days before the Ashes series began.
Chris Gayle has been the batsman West Indies gamble on for those rollicking starts, at least in the shorter formats, despite his “devil may care” style of play.
Gayle was selected to represent Jamaica at 19 after scoring 141 on the West Indies Under-19 tour to Bangladesh. He grew in Jamaica and made his West Indies ODI debut 11 months later and Test debut six months later. After several chances, he gave in and was dropped. Gayle redeemed himself in 2002 with a double century against New Zealand and a great away series in India, securing his spot. His 2006 Champions Trophy performance and 2005 317 against South Africa were stunning. With a weak West Indian team, the Jamaican did well as captain in 2007. Gayle scored an unbeaten 165 in a Test against Australia that took over seven hours and the fifth fastest Test century off 70 balls in the next match in 2009. He became the fourth Test batsman to score two triple tons.
Shane Watson became one of Australia’s best allrounders despite a fragile, injury-prone body.
He became one of Australia’s best reverse swing bowlers, often building pressure at one end when he wasn’t taking wickets. He was a broad-chested batter like Matthew Hayden, with enough power to not have to muscle shots to the rope and finesse.
In 2011, Watson hit Bangladesh for 185 in an ODI, a dangerous striker. He won the T20 World Cup the following year with 249 runs and 11 wickets (second most). He won the IPL with Rajasthan Royals in the first year and with Chennai Super Kings in 2018, scoring 117 off 57 balls in the final.
Yuvraj Singh inspired India like few batsmen. Everyone noticed the left-handed batsman’s grace, agility, and determination to succeed.
Yuvraj Singh, son of former India cricketer Yograj Singh, was a child prodigy with powerful yet elegant batting. He scored many runs as the team won the 2000 Under-19 World Cup. He was selected for the 2000 ICC Knockout Trophy in Kenya due to his talent. He scored a match-winning 84 against Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, and Jason Gillespie in his second game to prove he belonged on the big stage.
He teamed up with Mohammad Kaif to win the 2002 NatWest final against England. After that, he became a key ODI player for India. He finished games with Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni. He failed to make the legendary Test team. He excelled in his few chances but failed to capitalize.
Indian cricket history honors Ganguly. He was the team’s most hated and loved player at one point. His captaincy was one of the most documented. His role as captain in shaping a young team is remembered more than his off-side prowess, his prolific partnership with Sachin in ODIs, his run-in with Greg Chappell, etc. After the match-fixing scandal, he led a team that was strong at home and competitive abroad with Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, and Anil Kumble. His relationship with India’s first foreign coach, John Wright, helped India’s away tours. Ganguly modeled fearlessness. Over time, Ganguly’s brash attitude earned him many calls to the match referee’s cabin, but he believed it helped India progress. He also played well. He led India to the 2003 World Cup final and retired as India’s most successful captain.
This Indian idolized Sachin Tendulkar. This legend relied on amazing hand-eye coordination, minimal foot movement, and great instinct. He and the Little Master shared the crease, making him hard to distinguish.
The greatest Indian Test XI must include opener Virender Sehwag. This player was never in contention for the longest format. Post-2000, Sehwag changed batting manuals with ease. He scored heavily in India’s 2003/04 Test tours against Australia and Pakistan to draw and win. This opener immediately attacked the bowlers. In ODIs, Sanath Jayasuriya had shown that, but in Tests, Sehwag disproved all batting theories.
Six double centuries and two triple centuries were the most by an Indian. Sehwag won India the most Tests during that time.
The greatest all-rounder of all time was Jacques Kallis. Kallis is the only player to combine batting and bowling for 15 years in multiple formats.
After following on, Kallis scored 101 to save the match for South Africa against Australia in 1997. South Africa defeated West Indies in the 1998 Knock Out trophy final with a 5/30.
Through match-fixing and a poor World Cup performance at home, Kallis stayed with South Africa. Kallis has been the backbone of teams that rebuilt under Shaun Pollock and Graeme Smith and rose to the top, chasing record scores and winning series in previously unsettling conditions. All-rounders Brian McMillan and Lance Klusener came and went, but Kallis’s consistency with bat and ball kept him in the side. His cover drive over the top and square leg glance were his most glamorous shots. Despite a 2008 slump, his batting average was among the best in the game, and he took a wicket a match.
Shane Warne revolutionized spin bowling. His famous walk to the crease and ripping wind up gave slow bowling style. Warne was both accurate and spinny, which is difficult for a leg-spinner. Warne was a powerful bowler, but his aggressive batting saved his team many times. Warne was a brilliant fielder, especially in the slip cordon, where he grabbed half-chances. His career was filled with controversies, but they never affected his on-field performance.
Like most wrist spinners, Warne struggled in his Test debut in 1992. Despite his talent, he lacked accuracy. Warne improved dramatically the following year, bowling the “ball of the century” to Mike Gatting in the Ashes series. A cracking leg break that spun from well outside leg to clip the off bail even though the batsman offered no stroke. Warne’s tricks didn’t just fool Gatting. The leggie excelled in both forms and kept adding new variations over the years. Batsmen had nowhere to go because all these were Warne-accurate.
Cricketers Brian Lara in his prime scored massively more often and elegantly than anyone since Bradman. His stance was thrilling—bat high in the air, weight on a bent front knee, eyes level. The guillotine would drop, sending the ball to the boundary.
Lara, the tenth of 11 children, played junior football and table tennis for Trinidad but preferred cricket. At 20, he became Trinidad and Tobago’s youngest captain and scored 44 and 6 against Pakistan in his Test debut in 1990.
In 1994, Lara’s 375 and 501 not out broke world records for Test and first-class scores, but fame seemed to confuse and contradict him. Lara defied the 1998-99 Australian tour with a sequence of 213, 8, 153 not out, and 100. His once-lightning footwork was hampered by weight and hamstring issues, and the torrent of runs became an occasional spurt. After Garry Sobers tweaked his backlift, Lara returned to his best in Sri Lanka in 2001-02, scoring 688 runs—42% of West Indies’ output—and regaining the captaincy the following year.
Ricky Ponting, his generation’s most uncompromising player, became Australia’s most successful run-maker and is only behind Bradman in ratings. His run-scoring records, which seem to break every series, require extreme criticism. Ponting is like a celebrity: first as the archetypal modern batsman, then as the country’s 42nd Test captain. After taking guard, he was great, but his leadership was criticized for much of his reign. His blade has shone, but he has lost three Ashes, two in England and one at home, and to South Africa and India.
He passed Steve Waugh’s 41 wins in the 2009-10 Boxing Day Test to become the most successful Test captain. He led Australia to 26 consecutive undefeated World Cup games and overtook Shane Warne’s 92 victories. In 2011, he resigned as captain. After that group retired, he had to switch from manager to molder.
Virat Kohli is a fearless, talented batsman. Even Sachin Tendulkar has compared him. Kohli has carved out a niche in Indian cricket with his firm bottom-hand grip and ability to smash balls landing on a particular area to any part of the ground without much risk. Kohli, known as the king of chases, is a hammered nail in all formats.
Kohli became famous after leading India’s 2008 World Cup Under-19 team to victory in Malaysia. He joined the Bangalore franchise in 2008 after being thrust into the lucrative Indian T20 League. Since 2012, he has been the team captain. Despite a poor first edition, his domestic form earned him an India ODI cap on the Sri Lanka tour.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni captained India from 2007 to 2016. India’s best captain and wicket-keeper is Dhoni. He debuted in ODIs in December 2004 and Tests a year later.
Dhoni led India to the highest ranking in all formats, including the No.1 Test ranking for 18 months starting December 2009, 50-over World Cup (2011), and World Twenty20 on his captaincy debut in 2007.
When Rahul Dravid retired in 2007, Dhoni was recognized for his leadership. He represented Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.
The biopic M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story was released in 2016. It beautifully depicted the Indian skipper’s struggle and was a box office hit.
Sachin Tendulkar was the game’s greatest batsman, run-maker, and icon.
His batting was based on the purest principles: perfect balance, economy of movement, precision in stroke-making, and anticipation, which only genius batters have. He had so many skills that he could use any of them, even the upright, back-foot punch.
Tendulkar was flawless. He made runs in all conditions and around the wicket, off both feet.
He excelled against Australia, his era’s dominant team. His 19-year-old century at the WACA on a lightning-fast pitch is one of the best innings in that country. He received the ultimate compliment from the ultimate batter years later.