What if: India never parted with Pakistan in 1947
A look at the possible squad over the ages had there been no boundary between the two nations.
Updated - Oct 6, 2017 9:20 pm
The fight against Colonial Rule and the British Raj in the 1940s gave birth to two new countries by the name of India and Pakistan. The partition created by Sir Cyril Radcliffe formed the ‘Radcliffe line’ which segregated British India into a Muslim dominated country and a Hindu dominated one.
Later on, East Pakistan transformed in Bangladesh and Ceylon turned into Sri Lanka. Presently, If there is anything which unites all the four-nation is the sport of Cricket which was one of the prime legacies left by the Britishers during their Colonial rule. India already had its international team prior to its Independence in 1947 under British Raj.
In fact, India played its first Test match back in 1932. Shortly after partition, Pakistan formed its own team and had their own parallel cricketing heritage to the ones of India. Sri Lanka emerged into the international scene in 1965 and produced their own brand of cricket. Bangladesh gained their associate status in the late 70s.
These four nations are currently the powerhouses of Asian cricket if not world Cricket and have formed their own identity and respect in the eyes of the English, the West Indians, the Australians and the others with whom the Gentlemen’s game was generally associated with.
For decades now, the aforementioned countries have produced excellent cricketing talents one after the other. From Gundappa Vishwanath, Vinoo Mankad, Zaheer Abbas, to Muralitharan, Bishan Singh Bedi and Imran Khan, the players from the so-called ‘subcontinent’ have held legendary statures throughout their career.
When it comes to India and Pakistan, the two countries were divided by two colours- blue and green. The Blues were always renowned for having a dream batting lineup while the Greens had a bowling lineup which caused terror in the opposition’s camp. This generalization can be made looking at the talents produced by the two countries over the ages.
Having said that, the cricket fanatic inside one and all could not help but imagine what force would World Cricket witness if the two nations joined hands with each other. One can’t help but imagine the lineup of the team had there been no ‘Radcliffe line’.
If we look at the recent history, the World Cup of 2003 in South Africa, the two sides produced one of the matches to remember as the two heavyweights clashed against each other. The squad of the two teams were star-studded and yet again, one can only get overawed wondering what would have been like if the countries where a single unit.
During that age, the batting lineup would have been something like Saeed Anwar, Sachin Tendulkar, Inzamam ul Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Shahid Afridi. The bowling lineup would have been lit up with stars such as Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan and Saqlain Mushtaq.
Years following, one must also not forget that the likes of VVS Laxman, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan would automatically be a part of the team.
If we flashback to another golden age, during the 80s and the 90s, the two countries already had their own line of established legends of the game. Applying the similar condition as stated above, the Indo-Pak Combined XI would consist the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas, Kris Srikkanth, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Abdul Qadir, and many others.
Cut to 2017, with the two dynamic powerhouses of world cricket, which recently met in the finals of the Champions Trophy, what would the team look like if there were no Radcliffe line. Here is the squad of the two teams irrespective of all the formats.
Openers (Rohit Sharma, Fakhar Zaman, Shikhar Dhawan)
The two swashbuckling openers from the two countries would be the automatic choice for openers. The two would cause terrors within the opposition’s camp with their right-hand left-hand combination. Although Zaman is relatively inexperienced in International Cricket, he is the next big thing in Pakistan Cricket currently. Shikhar Dhawan is currently the best opener of the Indian side.
Middle-order (Virat Kohli, Shoaib Malik, MS Dhoni, Azhar Ali, Cheteshwar Pujara)
Virat Kohli would walk into any side with the kind of record-breaking spree he is currently in. He would have to also handle the captaincy of the side even though one has to admire the work of Sarfaraz Ahmed if we look at his captaincy credentials.
Shoaib Malik is a modern great of the game and he, by any means, cannot be overlooked in the Indo-Pak squad. Azhar Ali and Cheteshwar Pujara have been splendid in the longest format of the game. A middle order without the greatest finishers of the game, MS Dhoni, would forever remain incomplete. He also is the best wicket keeper batsman produced in World Cricket.
All-rounders (Imad Wasim, Hardik Pandya)
Imad Wasim and Hardik Pandya have emerged as the all-rounders to look forward to. Both are young with rich reserves of talents. Wasim and Pandya are both hard hitters of the ball and handy with the ball. The selectors of both nations have invested a lot of faith in their all-around abilities.
Spinners (Shadab Khan, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yasir Shah)
Before Anderson recently took the numero uno spot in the Test rankings, both Ashwin and Jadeja booked the top two spot for bowlers. The Indian Spin Twin walk into the team as the best spinners in Tests. Shadab Khan has made a promising start in his career and there still is a long way to go for the leggie. Pakistan has been gifted in the wrist spinning department with the likes of Yasir Shah not getting an opportunity to break into limited overs squad.
Bowlers (Mohammad Amir, Jasprit Bumrah, Hassan Ali, Umesh Yadav)
Since making his comeback in 2015-16, Mohammad Amir has been almost unplayable with his swing and pace. Jasprit Bumrah is currently the best in the death as of now. The zeal of Hassan Ali and the hustle from Umesh Yadav would always make the game interesting.