Former India captain Anil Kumble recently named his dream Indian Test XI of the last 30 years. Kumble’s picks are based on the elite performances displayed by Indian cricketers in the traditional format of the game from 1990 to this date.
Kumble’s picks were revealed at the conclusion of a contest on the newly launched CricketNext app called Jumbo’s Army. Some of his choices like leaving Sourav Ganguly from the XI, selecting Rahul Dravid as an opener and preferring Harbhajan Singh over Ravichandran Ashwin might surprise you, but Kumble has given justification and reasoning for all the selection.
Kumble, who is India’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket with 619 scalps, took the responsibility to lead his own dream XI which is cited below:
Anil Kumble (c)
Talking about Jumbo’s 11, Anil Kumble, said: “I really enjoyed this exercise of putting together “Jumbo’s Army”. Since it involved picking a team made up of my peers and those who have played after me, I had to put a fair bit of thought into my choices. I am sure some of my ex-colleagues will put up a strong argument about why they should have been included but I am comfortable with my selection. This team, I can confidently say, can compete in all conditions against any opposition. I congratulate those participants that have matched my selection! Needless to say, these kinds of selections aren’t easy and comfortable as you have to leave out some accomplished players who have played with you.”
Explaining his decision to open with Dravid, Kumble remarked: “I had to bat Rahul out of position, for the simple reason that I needed depth in the middle order. I don’t think Rahul is new to opening the batting.”
Speaking about excluding Ganguly, the legendary leggie said: “You would want a left-hander in the middle order, it was a difficult choice. But the kind of innings Laxman has had and the ability to have a long partnership, tipped the scales in his favour.”
On picking Harbhajan over Ashwin, Kumble reasoned: “Harbhajan has been my best partner as a spinner, if I am bowling from one end then he is from the other. Ashwin was a very close call, he’s the fastest to 300 wickets, but since I have played a lot with Bhajji, I will go with him.”
Talking about Dhoni as his first-choice wicket-keeper, Anil Kumble said: “He quietly did the role of a keeper without a fuss, took some wonderful catches and his stumpings are folklore. He also brings the ability to read the game from behind the stumps.”