India has been blessed with some of the best players that have ever graced the game of cricket since its first ever appearance as a national side in 1932. Decades later, we see the game has evolved into a religion in the country, supported by more than a billion people from within and across the world. With the T20 World Cup around the corner, let’s play a fantasy game.
With the availability of better cricketing gear (helmets, bigger bats etc), shorter boundaries and improved player conditioning methods, we pick out some players from the past that would have definitely been a success at the game’s shortest format.
This is a no-brainer to be honest. If there ever was a legend that India or any of the IPL franchises would love to have in their squad from the past, it would surely be the Haryana Hurricane. The all-rounder is probably the most iconic figure in Indian cricket, leading the national side to its first ever World Cup trophy in 1983. The IPL auction would be a battleground to get Kapil Dev’s signature. A fast bowler who can bat at No. 7, in a T20 match is worth his weight in gold. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the greatest all-rounder to ever grace the Indian blue would a sure success in the T20 format.
Aggressive, flamboyant and entertaining, the Chennai born opener was one of the biggest crowd pullers in the game and would easily fit into the T20 format. Brendon McCullum, Sehwag and David Warner would have some serious competition from this World Cup winner. He could easily provide his T20 side with a flying start and become a nightmare for the bowlers of today.
A left arm spin bowler and an opening batsman – a perfect combination in a T20 player! With more than 6000 runs and 280 wickets in his international career, Ravi Shastri would have been an excellent asset for the Indian team today and being Mumbai born, it is obvious that Mumbai Indians would have loved to have the aggressive 6 feet 3 inches all-rounder in their line-up. When you add in a flamboyant style, Ravindra Jadeja would have had serious competition for his place in the T20 squad.
Sandeep Patil was the backbone of Indian batting for many years. Another 1983 World Cup winning hero, the man from Mumbai is famous for hitting Bob Willis for six 4s in an over and a then overwhelming strike-rate of 82.17 in ODIs. His aggressive style and fondness for big-shots would have certainly made him popular among the T20 fans!
Navjot Singh Sidhu
If his poetic exploits are anything to look by, nobody will be surprised to know that Navjot Singh Sidhu had an expressive style of batting. His defence was not the best, but T20 cricket doesn’t require much of that. Hitting over the infield was his USP and he could dominate spinners irrespective of the pitch conditions. Even the great Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne were not spared. As an opening or middle order batsman who could play spin exceptionally, the famous weaver of words would have thrived in the T20 format.
Popularly known as ‘Jimmy’, Mohinder Amarnath was regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world during the early 80’s and an expert at playing the short ball. A ‘never give-up attitude’ is a must in a T20 player as it only takes one big over or wicket to change the course of the match, and Amarnath epitomized that quality in his playing career. His gritty nature and ability to absorb pressure would help him adjust easily to the short format. In the middle of a high-octane T20 game, it would be quite the sight to see Mohinder Amarnath with his gentle medium paced bowling maybe pick up the last wicket in another World Cup final.
This is a wildcard. But if cricketers are legends irrespective of their eras, then Sunil Gavaskar would definitely be a part of this list. With him in the team, 99% of the time the team will play out the entire 20 overs. A man with flawless defence, all the shots in the book and equally strong on the front and the back foot. If he played T20s, he could have played more of those hooks and cuts that he played against the legendary West Indian bowlers. It would have been a delight to see the ‘little master’ don the blue and play in today’s era.
There are still so many names that come to mind. Some of the honourable mentions would be Mohammad Azaruddin, Ajay Jadeja, Robin Singh, Gundappa Viswanath and Dilip Vengsarkar.
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below!