The World Cup fever is now finally getting on. While we wait for the real thing to start on February the 14th, its time to reminisce about the World Cups gone by. And here is me indulging in some typical fanboy hobby of picking a Fantasy XI. Following is my selection of the Greatest XI from the ICC Cricket World Cups. (Link)
The selections have been made on the following criterion.
- World Cup performances - multiple World Cups count more.
- Being a World Cup winner. Hence no South Africans or Kiwis or English players
- Special performances have more weightage
Now based on these criterion, following is my Greatest World Cup XI in batting order.
- Sachin Tendulkar - (winner 2011) most World Cup runs and consistent across tournaments. It would have been blasphemous for an Indian not to include him in such an XI. Also a handy bowler.
- Adam Gilchrist (wk) - (winner 1999, 2003, 2007) the greatest keeper-batsman of all time across formats. Also provides a left-right opening combination with Tendulkar. And a gentleman who walked even in the World Cup semi-finals.
- Ricky Ponting - (winner 1999, 2003, 2007) and once runner-up. Also the man to have played the most World Cup games. And that 140 in 2003 final in Johannesburg to knock India out (a sad moment for Indian fans but still I pick him)
- Viv Richards - (winner 1975, 1979) The original master blaster. Could change games single handedly, not just with the bat but also with the ball.
- Aravinda de Silva - (winner 1996) The key player in the 1996 winning campaign for Sri Lanka, was declared the Man of the Match in both the semis and the finals. Another handy spinner.
- Clive Lloyd (c) - (winner 1975, 1979). Excellent leader, superb batsman and a good fielder. He is in as captain of the team.
- Kapil Dev - (winner 1983) Fast bowling all-rounder whom India is still to replace. He walks in to the team just on the basis of that 175.
- Imran Khan - (winner 1992) The man could walk into any team either as batsman or a bowler or just a captain. After all he inspired the maverick Pakistanis to a World Cup victory from a seemigly hopeless situation.
- Wasim Akram - (winner 1992) The two stump seeking yorkers to break the back of the English chase in the 1992 final. Also undoubtedly the greatest left arm pace bowler of all time. And handy with the bat.
- Shane Warne - (winner 1999) The best leg-spinner. Very good at most times but excellent at the biggest stage. The ball to get rid of the Herchelle Gibbs in 1999 semis in That match.
- Glenn McGrath - (winner 1999, 2003, 2007) retired after collecting the most wickets in a single World Cup and being declared the player of the tournament.
So thats my Greatest World Cup XI. 6 batsman who can all maintain a more than handy run-rate, 5 bowlers, 4 fast bowlers including a left handed one, 2 all-rounders, 1 leg-spinner, 1 wicket-keeper, a left-right opening combination, 3 more than handy part-time spinners and some superb fielders. The batting order seems settled. But not sure who will be the new ball operators. After all these are men who made the ball not just talk but could make it recite poetry if they wanted.
Truly spoilt for choice.