A United Cricket Team from ‘Bharat’ – The Undivided India
Updated - Jun 25, 2015 5:19 pm
A United Cricket Team from ‘Bharat’ – The Undivided India: Cricket essentially came about as a leisure activity in medieval Europe during the nineteenth century. Initially it was selective to the reach of the rich and esteemed class of the society. With time it eventually assumed professional proportions. For a large part it was limited to the United Kingdom, Australia and the Caribbean islands. But the giant leap arguably came when it established its roots in the Indian subcontinent.
The color and flavor that the subcontinent has provided cricket since then has been simply amazing. From the traditional style of spin to the variations, from the flight to the arm delivery, from genuine pace bowling to the art of reverse swing, from classy batsmen to explosive ones, the skills it has provided the game have been nothing short of exemplary. And for this very reason it is currently the power centre of cricket in every sense of the word. Considering the set of talent on display in either India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan or Bangladesh alone, fans and even the cricketing wisemen cannot help but imagine how strong a force they would have been if they formed a single team. Let us try and analyze how would have events panned out if a team from Bharat the undivided India took the field. Folks look no further than this description to realize your fantasies.
The Batsmen –
It is no secret that India is considered the land of batsmen. Having said that, there have been many fabulous batters from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and of late from Bangladesh as well. A dressing room consisting of Javed Miandad, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengasarkar and Zaheer Abbas (the Asian Bradman) in the seventees and eightees would have been enough to intimidate the opposition even before the match. Sachin and Rahul would not be facing Wasim and Waqar but rather preparing to counter other sides. Sanath Jayasurya opening the batting with the master blaster. Ohh!! Mouth watering prospect. Not for the bowlers though.
If anyone would be most delighted with this idea it would have to be Pakistan. Blessed with quality bowling resources over the years they always aspired for the batting greats like we had in India over the years. Saeed Anwar might not have had to complain of carrying the Pakistan batting on his shoulders alone. It would have certainly made the team of Bharat the most enviable outfit of the world. Much to the opposition’s disappointment they could have done nothing other than expressing their jealousy. A battery of batsmen like Arjuna Ranatunga, Arvinda de Silva, Jayawardene, Sangakara from Sri Lanka, Sourav, Laxman, Sehwag, Dhoni, Kohli from India and Inzamam, Younis and Yousuf from Pakistan would have given the bowlers nightmares.
The Bowlers –
It is famously discussed in cricketing circles that during the Indo Pak division the fast bowling belt went to Pakistan. Looking at their ample pace resources it cannot be agreed more to. They keep producing fast bowlers for fun while we here in India go ballistic and bezerk on finding a single guy who bowls above 140. Just imagine the scenario if we had quality bowlers like Wasim and Waqar to complement our batting. Sri Lanka has also produced good swing bowlers like Chaminda Vaas and not to forget the ever popular Lasith Malinga, the Yorker king.
Imran and Kapil sharing the new ball, you simply can’t wait to explore the havoc they would have created in the opposition ranks. Anil Kumble would be a perfect partner to Muralitharan. This would have surely given the selectors the problem of plenty but it would be something they prefer rather than the other way round. Pace bowlers like Venkatesh Prasad, Javagal Srinath, and Zaheer and spinners like Harbhajan and Ashwin from India, the trio of Wasim Waqar and Mushtaq Ahmed from Pakistan would have been a bowling factory the world would wish for.
The all-rounders and fielders –
Sri Lanka has been the most blessed on both these counts. The best fielding side from the subcontinent and by some distance, they were the first one to realize its importance. Later India took over with guys like Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina coming to the fore. Players like Shahid Afridi, Angelo Matthews and Ravindra Jadeja are taking the trend started by Kapil and Imran forward with their all-round cricketing skills now.
Though all this is a figment of imaginative fantasy, it goes a long way to bring about an estimation of the cricketing history if these were in fact true. We have had two eras of what we call total dominance in cricket – one of the West Indies in the 70s and 80s and the other the famous Australian team of the 90s and 2000s which was once deemed unbeatable. Had India remained undivided it is tough to argue that they would have done any worse. All logic and sense will point towards an air of invincibility around such a side and India or Bharat would have been the undisputed and unconquered superpower of cricket.