In this episode of Dream Team, we tasked panelists Sharda Ugra, Karthik Krishnaswamy and Andrew Miller with selecting India's greatest ODI XI. A total of 231 players have represented the two-time ODI World Cup winners since 1974, but which 12 will make the cut?
Who will open with Sachin Tendulkar?
Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly in a race to be picked as the second opener in India's greatest ODI XI
With more than 9000 runs at an average of over 41, Sourav Ganguly is India's second-most successful opener in terms of runs, but Virender Sehwag dominated the 2000s by shellacking 7240 runs at a strike rate of 104.85. Add Rohit Sharma - the only cricketer to score three double-centuries in ODIs - to the mix and it's not easy to pick the other opener in the XI. An argument raised against Ganguly was that a lot of his runs came against traditionally weaker opponents, but that was countered by his longevity and impact. Sehwag's lower average was debated, but it was pointed out that India had a high win percentage whenever he scored 50 or more. Sharma's rapid rise as one of the great white-ball players in the game was also discussed, and eventually, it was decided that two of these three would make the team - one as an opener and the other as the No. 3.
Who will captain the side?
Kapil? Dhoni? Who leads the all-time India ODI XI?
Kapil Dev led India to their maiden ODI World Cup win. Ganguly led India's white-ball revolution at the turn of the century. MS Dhoni ended India's 28-year wait for a second World Cup win. And Virat Kohli has the best win-percentage among India's captains. One of these players dropped out of the captaincy debate early in the selection meeting, having not made the XI at all. And while there was plenty of back and forth regarding the other three candidates, the selectors ended up with a unanimous choice eventually.
Who narrowly missed out on making the XI?
A look at the closest contenders
With such rich pickings, there were bound to be some greats who missed out. From the 1980s, both Ravi Shastri and Mohinder Amarnath had strong claims. Among the '90s-era players, the brilliance of Mohammad Azharuddin, the enigma of Manoj Prabhakar, and the shrewdness of Venkatesh Prasad were discussed. And from 2000 onwards, there were many who could have made the cut if the team been selected ten years ago, but not anymore, given the giant strides India have taken in white-ball cricket since.
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