Dream Team: After Don it's now Warne

Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2001, 23:22 [IST]
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New Delhi: Close on the heels of the legendary Don Bradman's 'Dream Team', comes another such utopian compilation, also by an Aussie, Shane Warne, with just one name in common - Sachin Tendulkar.
Warne, who lists his own 'Dream Teams' in his just-released autobiography, escapes criticism of heavily favouring Australia by drawing separate Aussie sides for both the versions of the game to take on the World's Best XI, the criterion being the spin-wizard should have played with the Aussies or against the rest of the world. However, Warne persists with nine players of the Test side of the rest of world in the One-day squad too which includes, besides Tendulkar, Saeed Anwar, Brian Lara, Jacques Kallis, Moin Khan, Chris Cairns, Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaq and Curtly Ambrose. He explains the recurrence of players thus, "There is a place for Limited Overs specialists, but from experience I think that great players are great players whatever the form of the game. People of this quality are good enough to adapt to any situation." While Warne, who once admitted being tormented by Tendulkar in nightmares, justifies Tendulkar's presence in the Test side quite at length, the reasons for picking the Indian in the One-day squad is explained tersely in just one sentence! "What makes Tendulkar the best in my eyes is the way he judges the length faster than any other player and rocks on the front or back foot almost as soon as the ball has left your hand. "He does not settle for 60s or 70s but goes on to score big hundreds. At his present rate, he could even score a hundred hundreds in international cricket," Warne says with as much admiration as awe. And the willow which Tendulkar wields "might weigh 3lb 2oz but his timing is still first-class." The eulogy continues as Warne, who himself failed to make it to Bradman's XI, declares with aplomb, "He is the best batsman I've played against by a distance." Tendulkar's inclusion in the One-day squad is explained by simply saying, "Capable of dominating from the first ball." While Tendulkar is the only Indian representative, there are four Pakistanis including, Saeed Anwar, Saqlain Mushtaq, Wasim Akram and Moin Khan, and no Sri Lankan in Warne's lists. Bradman had settled for only Tendulkar from the entire Indian sub-continent. Tendulkar may be unsure of his capabilities as a leader but not Warne as he hands over the mantle of vice-captaincy of the rest of the world Test side on the Indian with confidence ahead of Graham Gooch (England) and Brian Lara (West Indies).

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