Continuing with his trend of naming the best elevens of his opposition sides, the Australian spin legend, Shane Warne has recently picked his greatest Indian eleven, comprising players he played against. Expectedly, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly found places in the main squad with Ganguly given the captain’s hat, ahead of India’s most successful skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Warne’s team opens with the duo of Virender Sehwag and Navjot Singh Sidhu. The No. 3 spot has been reserved for Dravid with the master blaster, Sachin Tendulkar and Ganguly following next in the middle order. Mohammad Azharuddin and Kapil Dev are slotted at slot 6 and 7 respectively.
However, a notable absentee from his list is VVS Laxman, who he named as 12th man.
"The hardest position to select for me was the number 6 spot between my great friend VVS or Azhar (Mohammad Azharuddin)”.
Warne explained his decision on excluding the wristy batsman in his first 11. "Depending on the conditions who would actually play at number 6 & what country the game was played in, hence I named 12 & would choose the 12th man on the day,” Warne posted on his Facebook account.
Laxman had a fabulous record against the Aussies and was arguably one of the better players of spin bowling.
With Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and Javagal Srinath occupying the remaining spots, another noteworthy exclusion was former pacer Zaheer Khan, who retired recently.
“The Indian side I've selected is a very strong one & would be tough to play against…this was the hardest team to select as I played against a few legends at the end of their careers like Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjreker, Ravi Shastri, Manoj Prabhakar as well as current players like Zaheer Khan too”, Warne added in his Facebook post.
Answering questions from fans on his Twitter account, he also named host country India as favourites for the upcoming World T20, to be held in March 2016.
Warne’s 'Indian XI' – in terms of batting order:
1. Virender Sehwag
2. Navjot Sidhu
3. Rahul Dravid
4. Sachin Tendulkar
5. Sourav Ganguly (Captain)
6. Mohammad Azharuddin
7. Kapil Dev
8. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (WK), (played only IPL against him)
9. Anil Kumble
10. Harbhajan Singh
11. Javagal Srinath
12. VVS Laxman