India XI
ESPNcricinfo picks the best Test teams of all time


The multi-taskers

Indian wicketkeepers have always been encouraged to be many-skilled. Three of five in this list have scored centuries, and one holds the record for the most stumpings in an innings

Suresh Menon

August 23, 2010

Comments: 142 | Text size: A | A

Indian wicketkeeper Naren Tamhane poses behind the stumps, April 21, 1959
Naren Tamhane: "never attempted the impossible, but seldom missed the possible opportunity" © PA Photos
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In the years when there were at least three claimants for the wicketkeeper's slot in the Indian team, I suggested that such riches were due to the "squatting" style of emptying the bowels in India. Crouching low with intense concentration prepares those with wicketkeeping ambitions. The writer Ramachandra Guha expanded on that theme, saying that such training was ideal for keeping to spinners.

Jokes aside, the fact remains that India, whose spinners, allrounders, batsmen and fast bowlers can take their place among the best in the world, have not produced a world-class wicketkeeper who would walk into any team for his keeping skills alone. This is partly due to the belief that has gained by repetition: that a single skill is one too few. Long before the Dutch conceived of total football, India had already thrown their weight behind total cricket. Generalists were encouraged from the start - it wasn't enough if you kept wicket, you had to contribute with the bat too.

Wicketkeepers were also expected to open innings; the theory being that the reflexes needed behind the stumps were the same that could take on fast bowling in front of them. Few Indian wicketkeepers have escaped the opening slot. Syed Kirmani is a significant exception. He has batted in every other position.

Five wicketkeepers did duty in India's first 11 Tests, and Dilawar Hussain became the first in the world to score fifties and top-score in each innings.

The best of them in the pre-Tamhane era, Probir Sen and Nana Joshi, didn't have great batting records, although interestingly the former did have a first-class hat-trick for Bengal. It was seven decades before Ajay Ratra became the first regular wicketkeeper to make a century abroad (Vijay Manjrekar had kept wicket and scored a century in the West Indies earlier).

Manjrekar, Lala Amarnath, Dilip Vengsarkar, Rahul Dravid have all kept wicket when the regular keeper has been injured, or in the interests of team balance.

Indian wicketkeepers fall into two groups - the quietly efficient like Joshi, Naren Tamhane, Indrajitsinhji, and later Krishnamurthy, Kirmani and Kiran More, or the flamboyant like Farokh Engineer and Budhi Kunderan. Keeping to the spinners has been the real test.

The candidates

Naren Tamhane
Probably summed up best by Sujit Mukherjee who said that "he never attempted the impossible, but seldom missed the possible opportunity". The Subhash Gupte-Tamhane combination accounted for 18 victims, more than a third of Tamhane's 51 in 21 Tests. The Mumbai keeper, the first to 100 dismissals in the Ranji Trophy, was also the first to earn relative permanency in the position for India, taking over from the specialist Joshi and handing over to the better batsman Kunderan. A stumping by this classical keeper meant just a single bail disturbed.

Syed Kirmani
After serving a long apprenticeship to Engineer, he took over and in his second Test equalled the world record for the most dismissals in an innings. Kirmani, acknowledged by the spinners Prasanna, Bedi, Venkat and Chandra as the one who kept best to them, was in charge when that era ended and the Kapil Dev era began. He belonged to the "seen-but-not-heard" school, was particularly adept at leg-side collections, and over his 88 Tests (198 dismissals) held most Indian keeping records, including that of having made a century as a night-watchman.

Kiran More
The quietest and most successful among the threesome (Chandrakant Pandit and Sadanand Vishwanath being the others) who held fort in the decade following the mid-1980s. His figures in 49 Tests are second only to Kirmani's. Holds the world record for the most stumpings in an innings and in a match, five and six respectively in the famous "Hirwani" Test against the West Indies when the bowler claimed 16 wickets on debut.

Nayan Mongia
Aggressive behind the stumps and calm in front of it, Mongia was the best in his time, but it was a short time and perhaps he did not live up to his full potential. Was comfortable keeping to the spearhead of India's bowling, Anil Kumble. A memorable 152 opening the batting ensured a win over Australia in Delhi.

MS Dhoni
In many ways Dhoni is a work in progress, but what work and what progress indeed! Unorthodox either side of the wicket, he was criticised initially for his technical shortcomings, but a big heart and a cool head resolved that problem. There were better keepers in India when he started out, but now that may no longer be true, and there are certainly no better batsmen-wicketkeepers. Dhoni's is a triple role as keeper, batsman and captain in all three formats of the game. A true allrounder.

We'll be publishing an all-time India XI based on readers' votes to go with our jury's XI. To pick your wicketkeeper click here

Suresh Menon is a writer based in Bangalore

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Posted by Cricket__sri on (August 24, 2010, 8:09 GMT)

dhoni is not better in keeping for kumble or bhajji in tracks tht turn..Mongia is better in it.But all-time great will definetely be Kirmani.

Posted by nlambda on (August 24, 2010, 5:26 GMT)

"Fanboyism for dhoni is perplexing"! Go watch the youtube video of Dhoni vs Shoaib Akhtar - the 20 run over. In a test match. What on earth is 'perplexing' about a test average slightly better than Vishwanath, Ganguly? And don't even get me started on his ODI performance. There is another youtube video of him and Yuvraj chasing down 288 against Pak - look and see Asif going for 6,4,4 in one over to Dhoni. This guy is so much more valuable than Kirmani, no disrespect and a lot of affection to Kiri.

Posted by nlambda on (August 24, 2010, 5:17 GMT)

@harshalb: since you are beating up so much on Kumble, let me respond. You asked one instance when he turned the match on a batting track. One off the top of my head is the 2004 test match against pak at multan. Ind 675/5, pak 407 & 216, Kumble 6/71 in the 2nd innings totally changed the complexion of the game which seemed to be a dead draw on a flat track.

I don't know what your problem is with Kumble and Harbhajan. Given they are the #1 and #3 wicket taking bowlers for us, it makes me wonder if you are just a troll.

Posted by BullayBaaz on (August 24, 2010, 5:07 GMT)

for all you all Dhoni fans.....dis is nawt 1day or 2020 poll

20 years from now when this poll is again conducted, if Dhoni has improved in tests and steered India through with greater sustained success then he will be the one.....until then he is still work in progress....and for all those who think he is a great leader and captain.....perhaps you are not watcihng the drubbing we are getting in SL or missed the 2020 WC where his captaincy with bowling changes and field placement was atrocious. India's best captain was also its best pacer and best all-rounder, yes, you guessed it, Kapil.

Posted by harshalb on (August 24, 2010, 3:43 GMT)

@Bryan999, I love your naivity. I will keep this short just to answer your questions. 1) Let me remind you that wWe are selecting a wicketkeeper NOT a batsman. On pure wicketkeeping skills, Dhoni does not stand a chance. PERIOD. I should re-state that Dhoni fails as a batsman when the conditions are even for bowlers. 2) Regarding Kumble - spinless, you are right to mention the number of his wickets but I will remind you of 3 factors. One- the number of test matches he played. Two- the nature of the wickets (tailor made, dustbowls). Three- runs per wicket. Four- performance abroad. India was playing cricket much before the 90s and I can give you atleast three bowlers who were FAAAR better than Kumble - Gupte, Prasanna, Chandra. Since you are a statistics obsessed person, please let me know ONE instance when Kumble turned a match on a good batting track. I am waiting. 3) Regarding Bhajji, I will change my words from 'wicketless' to 'ordinary'. Obvious fact so I am not even explaining.

Posted by bhushan08 on (August 24, 2010, 3:41 GMT)

Fanboyism for dhoni is perplexing, just lke the absence of Farook enginner from the shortlist. Look at DHoni's average outside the subcontinent, pathetic.... He flopped in the last AUS tour and played what must be called one of the most shockign shot while facing daryl sten during ahmedabad test match (under captain Kumble).

His keep is average to say the least...he has dropped catches, missed stumping (you don't have to go far, just look at his keeping performance in the recent SL tour).

More imp, why do we even need a WK batsman, when we have such a strong batting line up? Baffles me....I will go for kirmani...i rather have a atheletic, brilliant keeper than an ordinary keeper with above avg batting stats. We are picking a test team here folks..

Posted by anikbrad on (August 24, 2010, 2:44 GMT)

did any one see now in bowling friendly pitches how dhoni is batting and his avg. he is much overhyped. If this is ODI team I would pick Dhoni. But this is test team as gavaskar, vissi, and marchent is there. as per AVG prior has better avg than knott and dhoni ten agree that he is better than viswanath and tramper as his AVG is better. Common man have some cricket sence before comments. He needs to bat against akram, waq, lille, larwood, marshal, warne, hadlee. he must bee good in tech not a slambang player. kirmani for me and people dont remember mongia aslo oppened and showed tech, against aus he scored 150 oppening in tests he was the partner with sachin in the both famous matches in sarjah. mongia is also more reliable wk than dhoni. dhoni is picked because of his batting and I believe one day he will give up keeping and play as batsman only as his keeping is not good. dhoni never kept againg Kumble or in form harbhajan on turning tracks. how can he be a good wk???

Posted by Remus_Lupin on (August 24, 2010, 2:39 GMT)

No No Mongia & Dhoni...Engineer & Nana Joshi should have been in...Nana was the best ever keeper India had but he misses out to Kirmani only on account of having less intl exposure...

Posted by   on (August 24, 2010, 1:40 GMT)

My choice is always The current Indian Skipper and World No 1 batsmen in one days at the moment M S Dhoni.

Posted by Venkatb on (August 23, 2010, 22:48 GMT)

I wonder if this jury has inhaled too much of the smog of Delhi and Mumbai - no Engineer?!!! The guy who held his own in 2 World XIs (1970 and 1971-72) alongside Murray - someone who was the kingpin for the famed close-in fielders of Solkar, Venkat, Wadekar and himself, who could hold up to the famed spin quartet, and finally who could, in English County cricket, manage the pace and swing of Lever and Ward. And not to mention his batting against Hall and Griffith and then Roberts and Co. - Enginner's fault - he was a wicketkeeper-batsman - had he been a poorer batsman, well, he may have made this cut - first we have to endure one set of selectors completely exclude the 3 Ws out of WI, and now this comical bunch who think they are competent to select an Indian XI - as third rate a bunch as India's selectors themselves.

Posted by New_Wind on (August 23, 2010, 22:40 GMT)

For those who say Kirmani was flawless - just check his record on Wi tour of 1983 - just before World cup win. He dropped atleast 15 catches in 5 tests.

Dhoni without doubt if Gilli is chosen for Australia. Agree fully he is not best of keepers but the spine he brings to win matches is critical. Ganguli provided leadership by agreesion and spurring top class players to hit winning performances. Dhoni is step ahead. He stood at lower middle order to finish ODI chases and stopped Indias famous choking from winning positions singlehandedly. he is at ICC number 1 for long time.

I am interested in bowling combo though. This jury may go for 2+2 but India's honest combo will be 1+3 - assuming Kapil takes allrounder slot.

Posted by nishmon80 on (August 23, 2010, 22:33 GMT)

There is certainly some meritable concern for overlooking farokh engineer, particular comparing his record against a couple of the above (read: nayan mongia, what the!?!?). however it is painfully obvious that Dhoni is the no1 choice. Selection of the other candidates is academic. In Dhoni, India finally have someone who the opposition fears when the 5th wicket goes down. His record as a batsman is outstanding. His glovework nowadays is more than competent. Those feeling a certain nostagia for your yesteryear keepers, consider this: it is no coincidence that the best keeper-batsmen in each era reside with the no 1 test team (gilchrist, healy, dujon)

Posted by Nicolas-Perera on (August 23, 2010, 22:26 GMT)

My alltime XI would be 1.Sehwag 2.Gavaskar 3.Dravid 4.Tendulkar 5.Vijay Hazare 6.M.S.Dhoni 7.Vinoo Mankad 8.Kapil dev 9.Kumble 10.Srinath 11.Zaheer khan.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 22:19 GMT)

It's so obvious that Engineer would be the all-time selection as wicketkeeper that I haven't bothered to read the rest, or vote, and incidentally, despite his ability as a batsman he would be in the team on keeping ability alone.

Posted by BillyCC on (August 23, 2010, 22:09 GMT)

As I have said, it is not the other keepers' fault that they lived in generations where it was more a convenience rather than a necessity to have better than average batting skills. Therefore, Dhoni's batting does not come into it. Had batting been important back in their day, we can theorise that all the other keepers would have been improved batsman or not been selected at all. Otherwise, let's pick Mark Boucher, Matt Prior and Brendon McCullum in their respective sides. From the discussion on the panel, it appears that Kirmani was a better keeper and so he should be selected.

Posted by ygkd on (August 23, 2010, 22:07 GMT)

Best with the gloves - Tamhane. Best with the bat - Engineer. Best alternative to those two - Kirmani. Best at captaincy - Dhoni (and also best at other things like garnering endorsements and public support).

Posted by SRT_Jammy_Dada_VVS_and_Anil_legends on (August 23, 2010, 22:00 GMT)

Cricinfo unfortunately seems to be making a right hash of India's all-time XI- very limited options for openers, only picking 3 middle-order batsmen when historically we have had 4, only letting us pick 1 all-rounder and forcing him to bat at 6 when we have never had an allrounder who could consistently hold down that position, and finally the non-inclusion of Farokh Engineer as a keeping option. Seems like a determined effort to make India's all-time XI the weakest of all the nations' all-time sides.

Posted by Engle on (August 23, 2010, 21:43 GMT)

Farookh Engineer was a well-respected Indian cricketer internationally and gained much experience in county cricket and World XI's. His absence in the nomination list is bewildering at best, probably at par with Jeff Thomson's absence in Australia's fast bowlers nomination list.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 21:36 GMT)

@ Nishant sharma , 100 % agree with u...any 1 can win matches if he had Sachin,sehvag,Gambhir,Dravid,Laxman,Harbhajjan and Zaheer for test and Raina,Rohit,kohli,Pathan,Ishant in ODIs...

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 21:09 GMT)

I find Cricinfo very inconsistent in this India XI series. With baffling selections, number of options provided and team composition. I am disappointed.

1. Opening slot - 2 slots, 4 players. Fail to understand why Gambhir could not be included as 5th option, especially if Sidhu can be.

2. Middle order - 3 slots, 12 players. Fair enough, there were many good players to be considered.

3. All-rounder - 1 slot, 4 players. How come Prabhakar makes it before Ravi Shastri? If there was ambiguity include both. Now why did they zero down on just one all-rounder?? Why should Vinoo miss out even before the combination of team is known?? Why not 2 all-rounders (Kapil & Vinoo both are great bowlers who could complete their quota) + 3 specialist bowlers. Then we have likes of Sehwag, Sachin (mind you Sachin at his peak was a brilliant bowler) etc.

4. Wicket Keeper - 1 slot, 5 players. How could they miss Farookh Engineer and include Mongia??

I wonder what's up their sleeve next!!

Posted by EericCartman on (August 23, 2010, 20:57 GMT)

I'm surprised at the amount of animosity towards Dhoni. Is this because he competes with Sachin and Sehwag for being the most popular Indian cricketer (at least based on endorsements!). I also see a lot of nostalgia in selecting Kirmani etc etc. ANY TEAM in the world right now would love to have Dhoni in the team. For folks to argue he doesn't deserve a place in the list (because he dropped a catch 2 days ago!) is simply ridiculous. For heaven's sake, he is the No. 1 ODI batsman (in the much maligned ICC system, nevertheless), and he is way safer than most keepers in the world right now. And yes, I think he is better than Ganguly as a captain!!

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 20:55 GMT)

Let me take the logical desicion,based on error and recovery of runs

Kirmani misses hardly any chance during wicket keeping i give him 10/10 also run scoring his average is very 27

Dhoni misses many chances during Wk i give him 7/10 and run scoring average 41

More misses few chances durung wk I give him 9/10 and run scoring ave 25

MOngia misses chances quiteoften in wk i give him 8/10 and run scoring ave 24

farrok engineer chances missed sometime i give him 9/10 and scoring ave 31

so my logic says Kirmani & farookh engineer are best wk and dhoni has to proove his abilities, may be by serving 10 yrs, scoring and winning test matches by wk abilities etc

After so many years, we got talented wk as dhoni can become the best of all times, but he is not on top wk list in indian cricket

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 20:38 GMT)

Where is Mr.Engineer? Left out him from the list was cheer non sense. Sorry when you give a place for ordinary Dhoni why not Engineer? Comical Analysis... Let ask Dhoni to play Mallinga first... Captain - Purely luck!! When Sachin is in top form! Even I can be a better captain. With Veeru and Dravid in the side who can't win matches.... Keeper - o dear o dear!!! no more words!! Let him learn what is cricket? BCCI please arrange a tour to SA; people will learn batting technique from MSD. I will be surprised if dhoni misses out!! eye wash This is eye wash..i have just repeates wt another fellow has posted....sry

Posted by drywind on (August 23, 2010, 20:16 GMT)

Kirmani, without any second thought.

Posted by nlambda on (August 23, 2010, 19:46 GMT)

Let us say we assign the following weight to the dual skills expected of a WK Weight (WK) = 0.6 Weight (Bat) = 0.4

Kirmani score: 0.6 + 0.4 => 1.0

Dhoni: WK: 75% of Kirmani => 0.45, Bat: 200% of Kirmani => 0.8 Total: 1.25 Even if you count Dhoni batting as 150% of Kirmani, his total score is 1.05

Bottom line: Kirmani might well have been India's best pure WK, but Dhoni's overall utility is way too high to select Kiri over him.

Posted by pamsss on (August 23, 2010, 19:37 GMT)

my vote goes to Dhoni. I understand that Kirmani and Mongia were good keepers as compared to MSD but Dhoni is too good batsman as compared to them and he is not a bad weeket keeper either.

Posted by SridharSampath on (August 23, 2010, 19:34 GMT)

Engineer not in the list? That's ridiculous. I agree with those who say that the best keeper must be chosen. And that will be Syed Kirmani. Dhoni may be a better bat but not as good a keeper as Kiri. Thanks to Asutosh Shukla for stating some amazing facts about Kiri. People who look at 'dismissals per Test' fail to realise that when the spin quartet were in action, the number of chances to a keeper were slightly less. Dhoni operates in an era when both spinners and the fast men share the spoils.

Posted by SVS_07 on (August 23, 2010, 19:13 GMT)

Dhoni, the most improved keeper. The fighter to the core... May be there are better keepers, but don't have the heart of Dhoni... Truely awesome. Unconventional, but worthy enough to be one of the greatest in the game

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 18:34 GMT)

Dhoni should be the man...while making a team you don't need to look at the skill as a wicket keeper..rather you should be looking on how much effective he is....

Posted by cricinme on (August 23, 2010, 18:33 GMT)

I would rate Kirmani as No. 1 and Engineer as No. 2

Posted by manasvi_lingam on (August 23, 2010, 17:52 GMT)

Where the hell is Kunderan? The man averaged over 40 as an opener! That means he was as good as Sidhu as a batsman alone. Both Kunderan and Engineer were good keepers too and pretty good batsmen as well. I don't understand why this Tamhane is around. Kunderan, Engineer and Dilawar Hussain should have been there ahead of Mongia, More and Tamhane. My choice goes for MSD. The man bats everywhere in the middle order, he's not a bad keeper and a good captain as well

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 17:18 GMT)

No disregard for Dhoni...he is playing a triple role as a leader, keeper and batsman...but when it comes to pure wicket keeping Syed Kirmani was miles are a few reasons...

In 1983 in Faisalabad test againt Pak, when they scored 652, Kirmani did not concede a single bye In 1981 in Adelaide test against Aus, when they scored 528, Kirmani did not concede a single bye In 1978 in Faisalabad test againt Pak, when they scored 503, Kirmani did not concede a single bye

In 2008 in Delhi test against Aus, when they scored 577, Dhoni conceded 28 byes!

An let us not forget he had to keep when Spin Quartet was bowling...

Posted by thisgameislife on (August 23, 2010, 17:02 GMT)

india never had the quicks to trouble the keepers. keeping to spinners has to be the differentiator. 2 of the bowlers in my all-time xi are very very difficult to keep to - chandra and kumble. and so, engineer and kirmani had me in a dilemma (before this list was published without engineer). kiran more was excellent and efficient, mongia deserves a special mention for having kept to kumble, and the only reason dhoni does not walk in to this team is the same as that for lloyd not getting into the WI xi - the captain's slot has 2 claimants already and we need the best keeper. in the end, kirmani edges more out.

Posted by princess_aklema on (August 23, 2010, 16:54 GMT)

helping india win the t20 world cup in 2007,and being the top test team in the world,ms dhoni is the best

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 16:49 GMT)

Sadanand Vishwanath would be my pick. The guy was ridiculously good and decent bat too. If you 're not looking for captaincy skills, then my pick would be Sadanand any day. Who can forget his amazing work during the WCC in Australia? If not for the untimely death of his parents, he would have been in the team for a very very long time, and who knows - maybe captained it too.

Posted by buntyj on (August 23, 2010, 16:48 GMT)

ps- bedi n chandra made a formidable pair of spinners in the 70s, 24 wickets in 3tests eng 71, 60 vs eng 72-73 home 5 tests, 39 in 4tests windies 76, 59 in 5tests oz 77-78- as a spin pair probably the most effective away that india has had

Posted by nikita_karthick on (August 23, 2010, 16:34 GMT)

Where is Mr.Engineer? Left out him from the list was cheer non sense. Sorry when you give a place for ordinary Dhoni why not Engineer?

Comical Analysis... Let ask Dhoni to play Mallinga first...

Captain - Purely luck!! When Sachin is in top form! Even I can be a better captain. With Veeru and Dravid in the side who can't win matches....

Keeper - o dear o dear!!! no more words!!

Let him learn what is cricket?

BCCI please arrange a tour to SA; people will learn batting technique from MSD.

I will be surprised if dhoni misses out!! eye wash

This is eye wash

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 16:33 GMT)

Strange nomination. No Farukh Engineer. Not only a great keeper, but terrific batsman. I thought he would be the first choice. Just see how much fans still remember him.

Posted by buntyj on (August 23, 2010, 16:28 GMT)

btw, navle and especially hindlekar deserve mentions from the pre independence days also kunderan scored runs mainly at home not away and his keeping was inconsistent- brilliant 1 day to chandra then a no of off days to all else

Posted by buntyj on (August 23, 2010, 16:25 GMT)

msd's average in asia is certainly outstanding but not so his average elsewhere i look fwd to the next indian tour of pakistan now that pakistan have a quality pace attack for the first time since 99; i would like to see the averages of sachin, rahul, vvs, viru, gauti, yuvi, dhoni in the next series vs pak- i believe this would be a more accurate reflection of their real talent; is this why india isn't keen to play pak? ps- my atxi captain from my xi - bedi, vice captain sunny

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 16:12 GMT)

No comparisons , Dhoni is far far far ahead then any other Indian keeper any time

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 16:11 GMT)

Kirmani... @ all dhoni lovers.. In dhoni era we don't have a quality bowlers who can give tough fight for batsman as well as behind the stumps. Dhoni can keep gloves for Agarkar, PK, I.sharma... etc.. only

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 16:06 GMT)

Its Mahendra Singh Dhoni for Wicket keeper in all time India XI, he is the best choice for Wicketkeeper.

Posted by gujratwalla on (August 23, 2010, 15:52 GMT)

This is unbliveable!How can Farokh Engineer be excluded? I would put him as my first choice ahead of those nominated.A travesty of a nominations!

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 15:38 GMT)

I pick Dhoni as my wicket keeper as he is best behind wicket, and best with bat too compared to More and Mongia. He has a great cool head and a good presence of mind too. He is one of the vital cog in all time Indian X1 for sure. Dhoni might not keep or bat as per written in the technical books but still manages to play well as Sehwag. I am sure any of the captain would like to have Dhoni in his team. I am really surprised why so many are against Dhoni, he should be there as a keeper in all time Indian 11.

Inspite of having Sehwag, Sachin, Gavaskar, Dravid and KapilDev (all these are certainities) there is good chance that this batting lineup can be shaken by all time Aus / WI team we need a keeper who can bat as well as keep well. So we need Dhoni.

Posted by hcsachin on (August 23, 2010, 15:34 GMT)

How could the Farukh Engineer and Budhi kunderan be omitted from the candidate list? They were the link between Tamhane & Kirmani and at least deserve a mention on this list.

I would pick Kirmani over all others as the keeper for the All time XI simply because of his keeping abilities. He kept to the famed spin quartet and could easily keep to Kumble. He was no muck with the bat either.

Dhoni misses out since we would already have a captain, Kapil and unfortunately, at this time, he is still a work in progress. Maybe 2-3 years down the line, he could be regarded as the best indian keeper. Until then, KIRMANI it is.

Posted by Nampally on (August 23, 2010, 15:32 GMT)

@Riskrao: I fully agree with your sentiments. It is very strnge & shocking to see Engineer being left out from the list whilst his under study Kirmani is in. How does Dhoni make it on his 3 year standing in test cricket? Engineer was around for a decade and cannot even make the grade. What sort of Jury we have here Suresh? Do they know their players for "All Time" Indian team? We used to call Engineer "Bijli" -( Lightening) behind the stumps. He was well liked by all and of course very flambouyant on the field.I also watched Farokh in England playing for Lancashire. He was a true hero whether playing for India or for Lancashire. Yet he is not even mentioned amongst top 5 All time Wicket Keepers. This is'nt Cricket.You have not even given a chance for the fans to vote for Engineer by eliminating him from your 5 chosen names!!

Posted by Nampally on (August 23, 2010, 15:20 GMT)

I am surprised to see Farokh Engineer & Budhi Kundaram being missed out from the highlighted list of photos. We got to be clear here as to what are the abilities we are choosing in a WK. Is it pure Keeping or batting + WKeeping? In my opinion Both Engineer & Kundaram were the best batting WK's India has ever produced. They were both dashing and destroyed great bowlers like Hall, Grifith, Sobers, Gibbs while batting. Engineer nearly got century before Lunch against such bowlers - 94. Kundaram was a great opening bat as well. These 2 scored a few centuries but the manner in which they scored their runs was thrilling to watch. Farokh Engineer was a superb WK and I give him the top marks.Tamhane was a good WK as was Kundaram. But the later was a better bat than WK. Kirmani was an understudy to Engineer and took over after Farokh left. He was a fine WK and also a good bat. Dhoni is a better bat than WK. 1. Engineer 2. Kirmani 3. Dhoni. M.K.Mantri deserves a mention too.

Posted by Bamarolls on (August 23, 2010, 14:51 GMT)

Let's have a list of the ATXI that this jury ignored:

Ravi Shastri, Farokh Engineer, Karsan Ghavri, Roger Binny, Chetan Chauhan, Krishnamachary Srikkanth. Next you know, they will not include Venkatraghavan, Bedi, Gupte, and Madan Lal.

Posted by montys_muse on (August 23, 2010, 14:45 GMT)

Surprised to see Farokh Engineer's name not being included...but among the rest of the nominees I will go with MSD..

Posted by Bamarolls on (August 23, 2010, 14:43 GMT)

Bryan999, thanks for eye opening stats on Dhoni. He hails from city of my birth. Very spirited defense of my homeboy. I guess, it is OK for me to concede that Syed Kirmani is more of an emotional choice - in the 1983 campaign, he did steady the ship on one end for Kapil to provide the fireworks. He seldom let a ball pass for a bye. 51-49 in favor of Kirmani.

Posted by waspsting on (August 23, 2010, 14:31 GMT)

hard to compare wiccketkeepers. Kirmanie has the biggest rep, so i guess i'd plump for him. mind you, Mongia was a fine keeper. More wasn't. surprised Engineer isn't on the list of probables.

Posted by Bamarolls on (August 23, 2010, 14:26 GMT)

When there is struggle between your heart and your head, go with your heart. Right. Yet my brain keeps on telling me that I listened to Kiramni keep to the spin quartet and Kapil rarely conceding a bye, rarely spilling a catch or rarely missing a stumping. Well, without Cricinfo, it was not always possible to guess how many chances were missed, but for sure, it is my guess that he conceded least byes. Dhoni, the swashbuckling batsman, with prowess to score very very fast runs: micro-quick runs is what my heart is saying. For the longivity in test, I still go with Syed Kirmani. I still follow the tips he rendered for good keeping - interlocking little fingers and squatting with heels touching before every ball I face - some 30 years ago. These were the tips he had offered in Dharmayugs - before an away series. One more century from Dhoni, especially an away century and I am coming back to switch my vote!

Posted by Navillus on (August 23, 2010, 14:00 GMT)

Let me try to create a team from the players not considered by the selection panel (which is pretty unimpressive given apart from Sanjay Manjrekar and Arun Lal, no one ever played international cricket)

Gautam Gambhir, ML Apte/ Mustaq Ali, Vijay Manjrekar, Vinod Kambli, Chandu Borde, Ravi Shastri, Farokh Engineer, Bapu Nadkarni ...

Not looking bad ... Gautam Gambhir is perhaps the best left handed batsman India has produced (sorry Dada fans, it happens to be true at least in tests) Apte (average 49 in tests) Manjrekar - solid against pace Kambli (average 54 in tests, no one knows what would happen if he played as many tests as Dada) Borde, Shastri, Nadkarni all decent allrounders with Nadkarni miserly in his bowling and Borde a superb batting allrounder Engineer - probably the second best wicket keeper after Kirmani and a very competent batsman

.. will complete this after pacemen and spinners have been chosen...

Posted by Bryan999 on (August 23, 2010, 13:17 GMT)

@harshalb- You mentioned,"DHONI is in the team b'coz of hype?" u mean even the ICC panel who r selecting him in the list of probables of best for the year are FOOL? u think MORE/MONGIA/KIRMANI/NAREN are better batsman thn DHONI? u think MORE/MONGIA/KIRMANI/NAREN are 100% in their keeping and have never missed a chance? You also mentioned "Spinless wonder Kumble"? You mean the spin bowler has to be great only a turner... tell me how many INDIAN spinners are great turner and successful as WARNE/MURALI... look at KUMBLE's STAT: 619wkts (ave-29.65, SR-65.9).he is top among all the INDIAN SPINNERS and 3rd highest in the world... and you also mentioned "Wicketless Bhajji?" he has 357wkts(ave-31.62, SR-67) under his belt... I HAVE COMPARED/MENTIONED DHONI with others in the LIST from the stat... MY BOY! STATS speaks. if U DON'T GO by stat thn dont look at BRADMAN(99.94)/SACHIN(48test centuries)/MURALI(800wkts)/LARA(400*)/... so on.. My man! make ur own selection & 'PLEASE' dont go by stat..

Posted by Redboy on (August 23, 2010, 13:16 GMT)

Couldn't have said it better , " Subra ". My sentiment exact !

Posted by riskrao on (August 23, 2010, 12:41 GMT)

shocking to see farookh engineer miss out. this is absolutely ridiculous. ok with the above mentioned players, surely dhoni will miss out b'coz he is no where near greatness. surely k.more will miss out and i'm sorry about tamhane coz i don't know much abt him. so the fight is between mongia and kirmani. mongia was an classical keeper and an decent batsman but kirmani had kept wickets for prasanna, bedi, venkataraghavan, chandrasekhar, kapil dev and others and an decent batsman also. it is a tough one but i'll go for kirmani, not much to separate those to. but this selection committee is absolutely useless and senseless. dropping engineer is ridiculous. dhoni once askd who is engineer? if he is selected there is not a much of difference between this selection committee and dhoni. ridiculous to the core.

Posted by U.V. on (August 23, 2010, 12:36 GMT)

I think out of wicketkeepers, Kirmani should get a nod as his primary duty should be keeping and he should be a decent bat and not vicaversa. My all time Indian X1 will be - Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Gundappa Vishwanath, Vinoo Mankad, Sayed Kirmani, Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Shrinath, Erappali Prassana. u.v...

Posted by nataraajds on (August 23, 2010, 11:57 GMT)

it should be MS Dhoni considering his keeping and also batting track record. if it is only keeping then Kirmani is the best,, but modern day cricket also demand batting and MD is also a very good caption.. with all these extra qualification,, MS Dhoni will be my choice for the all time IX.

Posted by harshalb on (August 23, 2010, 11:54 GMT)

@ Bryan999 - dhoni beats farrok and kiri in number of missed dismissals per test match which includes dropped catches, not attempted but catchable chances and missed stumpings. Just couple of days ago he missed a catch. dhoni is basically an agricultural batsman who is in the team because of the hype. As for his batting, and since youl ike stats so much, please see his record outside india specially SA, AUS and ENG...not only can he not score any runs, he also misses more catches because the ball is moving. He is good only for these times when none of India bowlers could not spin the ball including the spinless wonder Kumble and wicketless Bhajji.

Posted by Sumeet.Gupta on (August 23, 2010, 11:35 GMT)

I don't see anyone supporting Mongia. If classical wicketkeeping is the criteria, i don't think he will be far behind Kiri. His keeping to Kumble was the highlight of the Indian domination (at home) in the '90s. A gritty batsman nonetheless and his keeping was amazingly fluid.

Posted by narenvs on (August 23, 2010, 11:35 GMT)

I add my voice to those who object to Engineer's exclusion. He was the best wicketkeeper bat. While Kirmani was a better keeper at his best, he was a far more inconsistent keeper. That's why Engineer would have been my top choice, if it had been available, followed by Kirmani. Nana Joshi's exclusion is also peculiar. He, along with Kirmani, was India's best keeper. These three were much better than Mongia and Dhoni.

Posted by yeggi on (August 23, 2010, 11:34 GMT)

surprised to see Farook Engineer's name is omitted. He deserves for a nomination. But my final vote is for Kirmani, who is slightly better than Engineer. Farook is definitely a better keeper/batsman than the others who are nominated.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 11:07 GMT)

enginners exclusion is baffling and how does a nobody like mongia get into the side the guy couldnt even keep a place in the side for even 5yrs

Posted by Subra on (August 23, 2010, 10:54 GMT)

What kind of a selection is this?

By not including Engineer, are the so-called selector subtly favouring Dhoni.

Engineer was by far a better keeper and a more useful batsman - remebering the quality of the bowlers he had to keep and to face.

As a matter of protest, I will vote for none of those selected!

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 10:23 GMT)

This team will need a captain too. I can't see Ganguly being selected, so he can't be the captain. The next best captain India has produced is Dhoni (who will certainly go on to beat Dada's record), so his selection here is warranted: not only is he a great batsman, a good wicketkeeper, but can also be the captain of the team

Posted by tdgk on (August 23, 2010, 10:19 GMT)

Could somebody from the jury please explain why Engineer is not on the list??

Posted by tendlya14 on (August 23, 2010, 10:16 GMT)

i dont understand your jury mr suresh menon....if from the current team, dhoni can be considered for the keepers slot..i dont understand why gautam gambhir has been deprived of nominee in the batting slots in the all time XI...he's been world number 1, wisden cricketer of the obvious weakness against pace and spin, no probs with short bowling like mr ganguly...and i thought being a relative newcomer was wat denied gambhir a nomination at least...but then u have listed dhoni here...all confusing..and i dont understand y engineer missed out on a nomination...

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 10:12 GMT)

Surprised to see no Farokh Engineer in the dad rates him higher than any of the recent ones!

Anyways I've gone with Kiri here...

Posted by Nipun on (August 23, 2010, 10:10 GMT)

Has to be MS Dhoni.Look at his stats.Period.

Posted by Pral on (August 23, 2010, 10:08 GMT)

Where is Farokh Engineer . He is one of the best wicketkeeper India has produced. Although he couldn't find any place in my XI but he deserves for nomination.

Posted by JoshThai on (August 23, 2010, 10:05 GMT)

Farokh Engineer. This one name is miising as complained by most of the readers. I grew up during the Engineer time. Engineer was part of the Rest of the world team also, along with Gavaskar. For me, the race is between Engineer & Kirmani. The final winner has to be Kirmani as he was the excellent in art of wicketkeeping.

Posted by Bobby_Talyarkhan on (August 23, 2010, 9:48 GMT)

Budhi Kunderan stands head and shoulders above anyone on this list as keeper-batsman. He was a good keeper who kept well to the devilishly unpredictable Chandra, as testified by EAS Prasanna in the Cricinfo profile on Kunderan. He makes the likes of Kiran More and Nayaan Mongia look like the mediocrities that they are.

Posted by delta20 on (August 23, 2010, 9:45 GMT)

Nominating dhoni is ok because stats tell some part of the story but if he is selected then I will just wonder what is happening to these people in the jury???? First engineer is not nominated and then dhoni to be selected. India will have a batting line up boasting of Gavaskar, sehwag/merchant, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman........ so why we need dhoni??? By the way, has anyone who are thinking of voting for dhoni seen his batting record outside the subcontinent??? You will just reverse your decision of keeping dhoni in your all time Indian XI. If he is to play against other team's all time XI his technique would fetch him not even an average of 30.... forget about 40...... I have even heard some people comparing him to gilchrist....... hahahaha

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 9:38 GMT)

I am extremely surprised that Farokh Engineer's name is missing in the list. I take nothing away from Naren Tamhane but have absolutely no idea who he is until today.

I felt that Farokh's name would be on the list certainly but its not and I have no idea why?

Apart from that its a pretty good list . Mongia, More and Kirmani were almost certain picks.

My pick from this list is Syed Kirmani , though i feel many would choose Dhoni, the first job of a wicket keeper in a test match is keeping. Kirmani was certainly a better keeper and capable batsmen.

Hence Kirmani to me.

Posted by Antir on (August 23, 2010, 9:21 GMT)

I want to say Dhoni but i am going for Kirmani as keeping skills matter more than people think in saving runs and getting wickets. Kirmanis batting average isnt all that bad either.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 9:20 GMT)

Kirmani was a superb keeper and a fighter. He is head and shoulders above the restguess people are so much into Dhoni's batting WHAT A REAL EXPERT IS LIKE Isnt this just a waste of time.all time XI which is never going to play.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 9:09 GMT)

@Maverick7601: No, it is definitely not a waste of time. It is the same as bringing out a list of the all time best movies. Through this list, we discuss the history of cricket, and also throw some light to ignorant readers. We are here, dealing with the aesthetics of the game of cricket, and not the commerce attained through it.

Posted by Navillus on (August 23, 2010, 9:02 GMT)

Farokh Engineer was the only Indian to play in two World XIs in the heydays of late 60s and early 70s. It was because of his brilliant keeping to spinners and his ability to take on the role of a genuine batsman when the situation demanded. The wicketkeepers of his time were of genuine quality and his being chosen over them testifies his calibre. He was the one who kept to the spin quartret in their halcyon days. To pick people like More and Mongia ahead of him is really ridiculous. Does this panel have an axe to grind against Miumbaikars with their exclusion of Shastri and Engineer? Anything is possible in India. While Shastri should have got a nomination and then rejected without debate, Engineer should have made the final round of discussions with Kirmani and Dhoni. (By the way, I am from Bengal and not biased in favor of Mumbai)

Posted by buntyj on (August 23, 2010, 8:55 GMT)

from this selection i would opt for tamhane by far the best keeper (2.5 dismissals per test) but i believe now the panels team is- sunny, viru, rahul, sachin, vishy or hazare, mankad, kapil, kiri, bhajji or pras, kumble n srinath with azhar as 12th man my all time india xi is in order- merchant (1 bad wkt batsman in team), sunny, amarnath (best vs best away tho inconsistent instead of dravid consistent but failed in rsa best pace n sri lanka best spin), sachin, laxman (contributions to india wins), engineer (42 ave at no 6), kapil (most success at 7), amar singh, bedi, nissar (genuine pace,48 strike rate. only overall below 60, 42 strike rate away n close to kumbles at home) n chandra with pataudi as 12th man

Posted by Sydney66 on (August 23, 2010, 8:53 GMT)

If I remember rightly, Tony Greig picked Engineer as keeper for his all-time Indian team. And presumerably Greig must have played against Engineer so he should know just how good or bad he is. I think that Cricinfo has dropped the ball here.

Posted by VVedsen on (August 23, 2010, 8:46 GMT)

they should have included Engineer as well. Engineer was the most successful wicket keeper to the spin quartet when they were young and fresh. Kirmani had troubles initially adjusting to the spin quartet. Also Engineer was a very aggressive batsman as an openor also and could bat well in very difficult situations. If they have included More, they shouldnt have missed Engineer.

In a real sense, the most major competitor to Dhoni is Engineer only.

Posted by Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on (August 23, 2010, 8:45 GMT)

Engineer wouldnt have made the all-time XI. he shouldve been in the short-list though. It just has to be Kirmani. Why does the jury nominate 'shady' characters like azhar, mongia and prabhakar? surely, those guys belong in the all-time Disreputables XI captained by Hansie Cronje/Azharuddin.

Posted by Maverick7601 on (August 23, 2010, 8:40 GMT)

Isnt this just a waste of time. Making an hypothetical all time XI which is never going to play. The players are from different era, the rules were different, the conditions were different and the style and the equations were also different. The game has evolved a lot over a period of time. Its like comparing apples and oranges.

Posted by buntyj on (August 23, 2010, 8:38 GMT)

i am frankly astounded by engineers exclusion and the inclusion of more n mongia; the purpose i believe is to narrow the choice to kiri or dhoni; if the panel has already selected the xi then why not publish it rather than call for comments and choices? engineer kept well to the spinners too though kiri was just ahead; kiri also kept to brisk medium kapil well; but kiri never really kept to genuine pace let alone on fast wickets; but the xi will likely have nissar or srinath too; engineer was nearly as good to spin, but more experienced vs pace (county, world xi tour of oz) on faster wickets than in india; engineer was also the better batsman away by far though overall batting average of engineer isnt much higher; engineer could also float in the order; dhoni is a trifle behind engineer as a keeper has a much better average at home and in asia but his batting away from asia is way behind engineer; i would certainly select engineer in my all time xi

Posted by Langstrand on (August 23, 2010, 8:29 GMT)

I don't mean to sound like a parrot, but where's Farokh Engineer?

Posted by g2311 on (August 23, 2010, 8:27 GMT)

I guess people are so much into Dhoni's batting .. that they miss the point that He is also a decent weeket-keeper ..And as far as batting goes.. He is head and shoulders above the rest... Infact He is the best batsman wicket keeper the world has ever seen .. after Gilchrist and too an extent Sangakarra ... So if you can include Gilchrist ... solely on batting skills .. (since Ian Healy was a better keeper)... why not Dhoni ... But I have a gut feeling selectors would be tempted not to pick Dhoni .. because THEY WANT TO SHOW "WHAT A REAL EXPERT IS LIKE" ... God help them ...

Posted by mattpagezk on (August 23, 2010, 8:13 GMT)

Before I viewed the shortlist here, I was thinking Farokh Engineer. I'm still thinking Farokh Engineer, so I'm not going to vote on this one! :p

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 8:07 GMT)

Kiri please ...and dont kid me saying Engineer misses the ist !!!!

Posted by RomanNoseJob on (August 23, 2010, 8:00 GMT)

baffled by the absence of Farokh Engineer. on the subject of indian wicketkeepers though, I live in scotland, and one of the women at my work is married to budhi Kunderan's son. interesting eh?

Posted by Raviss on (August 23, 2010, 7:42 GMT)

Kirmani was a superb keeper and a fighter.. n was part of the famed 83' victorious team.. Kiran More and Nayan Mongia were very good honest triers too and had the same fighting spirit as Kirmani... but honestly speaking..just for the sheer audacity n power of his strokeplay and for the calm attitude with his gloves.. Dhoni gets my vote... n if he maintians the same amazing consistency..then in a couple of years time he can surely walk himself into any all time World XI .. n his captaincy is an added bonus (that is excluding some of his decisions off late!! :D)

Posted by harshalb on (August 23, 2010, 7:39 GMT)

I though the task of selecting the batsmen was already over but I was wrong, going by the list above. How can Dhoni be included? The thinking of the so called cricket writers and the Jornalist majority jury that he has improved does not wash. Nayan Mongia and More in this list but not Farrok Engineer. Let us get serious and admit that India produced only three 3 decent wicket keepers, Farrok, Kiri and Narein. No Donny, no Mongia and no More. By the way we must have more people have actually played cricket on this jury rather than keyboard warriors and arm chair thinkers. Please don't take this as an offence, this is a humble opinion.

Posted by harshalb on (August 23, 2010, 7:31 GMT)

Since the beginning I doubted the calibre of India jury as it is overloaded with journalists instead of great players of all eras. My doubts were confirmed to see Nayan Mongia in the list but not Farrok Engineer. Similarly in a country that produced some of the greatest spinners in the past, I will not be surprised if this juri includes players like Kumble, Harbhajan while leaving out some of the truly greats like Gupte, Prasanna, Chandra. Qualntity over quality seems to be the motto here :)

Posted by Longmemory on (August 23, 2010, 7:23 GMT)

In a team that has the all-time best Indian batters at the top of the order, we can afford to ignore Dhoni's contribution with the bat. As a pure 'keeper, Syed Kirmani was head and shoulders above every other keeper India has produced and, contra Menon, I feel could hold his own against the world's best. And I have to admit I am stunned that the eminent jury could not find a place for the flamboyant Farokh Engineer in their short-list. Engineer was one of those rare Indian cricketers who positively radiated enjoyment and no matter what he did, he did it with panache and style. Funny that Farokh walked into so many World XIs in his time, including one that Barry Richards once picked, but cannot find a place in the list picked here.

Posted by Icyman on (August 23, 2010, 7:03 GMT)

What kind of list is this ? Surely there is only one person who will make it-the current Indian captain MS Dhoni. Engineer and Vishwanath ought to have been in the list

Posted by BillyCC on (August 23, 2010, 6:55 GMT)

Bryan999, I think the various All Time XI sides have not picked based on team balance. All sides have some anomalies which suggests this. Therefore, is Dhoni the best keeper? Keeping is not about stats, it's about technique, presence and ability to handle "clutch" and "pressure" moments. I don't know whether Dhoni is the most qualified keeper on this basis, but I'm sure the panel will pick accordingly. A lot of the stats and facts you mention fall outside this discussion.

Posted by sachin150 on (August 23, 2010, 6:43 GMT)

No Engineer in this list!!! He was the best wicket keeper batsman before Dhoni, and was a decent keeper as evident by his selection to the rest of World XI back in the 70's. Now coming to my choice, even though Kirmani is a better keeper, Dhoni is the man here

Posted by mmnaqvi on (August 23, 2010, 6:32 GMT)

What a shame, Farooque Engineer is missing this list.. In my view, he is #1, Kirmani #2 and Dhoni #3.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 6:30 GMT)

I agree that Engineer should be added to list. Come on Cricinfo, How can you miss him?

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 6:16 GMT)

Kirmaniiiiiii all the way!!! Though wud have been engeneer had he been there...

Posted by Bryan999 on (August 23, 2010, 6:02 GMT)

Farokh Engineer with :1) 82 dismissals behind the stumps and 2) 2611 runs(2centuries/16fifties, ave31.08) in 46 tests should have been in the 'LIST'...

Posted by Bryan999 on (August 23, 2010, 5:58 GMT)

Thus, Dhoni's is a triple role as keeper, batsman and captain in all three formats of the game... A true allrounder... And the only one who fits in "The multi-taskers" shld be in the India XI..

Posted by AtticusFinch on (August 23, 2010, 5:58 GMT)

God forbid if the Panel chooses Dhoni!

Posted by Bryan999 on (August 23, 2010, 5:56 GMT)

MAHENDRA SINGH DHONI is the only KEEPER among the LIST who has shown his 'CAPTAIN's potential… Playing and leading in all three format with so many matches going around also proves his FITNESS…

Posted by Bryan999 on (August 23, 2010, 5:55 GMT)

MAHENDRA SINGH DHONI! Who says his keeping is not upto the standard... Bowling behind the stumps in the likes of Kumble/Harbhajan/Zaheer...he has 139 dismissals in 46 tests(3.02per test) better thn; NAREN who has 51dismissals in 21 tests(2.42per test), KIRMANI has198 dismissals in 88 tests(2.25 per match), MORE has 130 dismissals in 49 tests(2.65per test), MONGIA has 107 dismissals in 44 tests (2.43per test)... at this dismissal rate he will roughly have 266 dismissals in 88 tests(NO OFFENCE TO KIRMANI)... I go with stats...

Posted by Bryan999 on (August 23, 2010, 5:52 GMT)

As mentioned before, every country XI has gone with their strengths: South Africa has '2allrounders+2pace+1spin', SriLanka has '3pace+2spin+NO allrounder', Australia has '1allrounder+2pace+2spin(both leggies)' and the rest; England, WestIndies, Pakistan, NewZealand have opted for '1allrounder+3pace+1spin'.... Indian bowlers averages either just below 30 or in 30's(As compared to bowlers of other teams whose averages are either below 20 or early 20's) hence definitely Indian Strength is 'BATTING' (not BOWLING)... as India has gone with just one allrounder despite of having two world class allrounder(Kapil n Vinoo)... to make BATTING strong, the other allrounder option is to go with WICKETKEEPER who is a strong BATSMAN... I go with stat and my pick-up is MAHENDRA SINGH DHONI...4 centuries/18fifties (ave 41.90) in 46 tests will definitely give strength to the batting order... and will come in the 6th position ahead of the allrounder...

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 5:51 GMT)

"India, whose spinners, allrounders, batsmen and fast bowlers can take their place among the best in the world"

indian batsmen and spinners are among the world's best but india has never produced an allrounder or fast bowler who can be considered among the best. sure kapil dev is one of the greatest all rounders ever but he was a mediocre fast bowler compared to the masrshalls,imrans,bothams,willis,lillees,haddlee,holding,croft,garner,reid etc.. these were his contemporaries

Posted by srini701 on (August 23, 2010, 5:51 GMT)

Incredible! you don't have Farokh Engineer in this short list? You must be kidding! The choice of the keeper in the greatest Indian XI boils down to just Kirmani and Engineer, I think. Dhoni may be a better batsman and a good captain, but those skills won't be required for an all-time great Indian XI. He's only a better keeper than his peers like Parthiv Patel, Dinesh Karthik and Saha, certainly NOT yet in the class of any of the others listed.

Of the lot listed here, Kirmani's easily the best :-)

Posted by superkid007 on (August 23, 2010, 5:39 GMT)

the only wicket keeper in indian history who is the no 1 batsmen for past 2 years .he is also the most successful captain . his wicket keeping is also good. He is DHONI. With out DHONI INDIA would never be no1. HE IS THE BEST.FORGET THE REST.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 5:35 GMT)

surprising to see farooq engineer missing from the his absence, the choice would narrow down to one between kirmani (a better pure keeper) and dhoni (the best batsman in the list)...since india's strength is batting and the all time list is expected to have one of the best batting lineups in the world i would go for the best pure keeper in the list to support the bowling and hence would choose kirmani ahead of dhoni...if engineer had made it to the list he would have been my choice though

Posted by asaduzzaman-khan on (August 23, 2010, 5:32 GMT)

some people say, Dhoni- as keeper, batsman, captain..... Do you want to select Dhoni as captain of all time India? Really? Do you think, he is equal to Sachin/Rahul/Sourav/Azhar/ Vengsarkar in middle order? if you think so, u can select him. but if u really want greatest keeper, he is just Kirmani.

Posted by Supratik on (August 23, 2010, 5:31 GMT)

Strange to see Engineer missing from this short list. What flair! And he was good in front of the wickets too, once almost scoring a century before lunch. However, the place must go to Syed Kirmani alone, who also has a century to his name and with the advent of the helmet became a better batsman. His keeping was par excellence. Others, especially the likes of Dhoni, Ratra, Kartick can't hold a candle to him!

Posted by vipin.chaudhary2325 on (August 23, 2010, 5:04 GMT)

farooq enginner should be their ahead of NAREN.... who knows about Naren, and whats his record.... Engineer was a dasher & smart crickter

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 5:00 GMT)

Even Though,Dhoni Is Not A Better Batsman In Test (He Is Best Batsman In ODI) He May Be Included In India All-Time XI Due To He Is Better Choice Of Batsman-Wicketkeeper In The Candidates Given Here. In My Opinion, Dravid Or Dilip Vengsarkar May Be Included In This List.

Posted by sbbioman74 on (August 23, 2010, 4:55 GMT)

agree with TMS8137. are you kidding me? how the hell engineer is not even mentioned! he was one of the finest india produced. come on! cricinfo has got it wrong here! other options are ok, but "Brylcreem" boy deserved it! Budhi Kunderan also deserved a place. these two were lot better than kiran more! more was good, but better than engineer and kunderan? i have a truckload of doubts!

Posted by sacricketlegend on (August 23, 2010, 4:53 GMT)

And my choice is... Farokh Engineer... Oh no, wait, he's not here... What the hell?

Posted by inswing on (August 23, 2010, 4:51 GMT)

Classic "pure keeper vs. good keeper who can bat" dilemma. Do you take the best possible person for this position, or someone with slightly weaker keeping skills but a much better batsman? For the former camp, Kirmani is the choice; for the latter, it is Dhoni. In the all time 11, there will be no shortage of batting prowess and hence the need to increase the batting depth be selecting a better batsman is minimal. A missed stumping or a dropped catch against another all time 11, on the other hand, could mean a century or two against you. For that reason, I go with Kirmani.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 4:45 GMT)

syed kirmani for sure.............i think people will go for dhoni, but syed is far better a keeper than dhoni

Posted by RSG476 on (August 23, 2010, 4:35 GMT)

If you have Kiran More and Dhoni in the list, how do you miss out Farookh Engineer ? Surely Engineer would have matched More for wicketkeeping and Dhoni for the batting skills ? Very surprised and disappointed that Engineer did not make it to this list. I still remember the support he provided to Vishwanath in making 61 at Eden Gardens against Clive Llyod's West Indies in 1974.

Posted by grandmaster123 on (August 23, 2010, 4:33 GMT)

OMG no Farokh engineer???? Disgraceful selection!!

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 4:28 GMT)

Has any one ever imagined a wicket keeper from India (MS Dhoni) will be continuously holding Rank 1 in ODI batting for the past 15 months.

Posted by New_Wind on (August 23, 2010, 4:21 GMT)

Ha Ha Ha ! First nNo Ravi Shastri in all rounders list. And now this sixer - No Engineer in Wicket keeper's list? Hope Aaaal is well with the jury :-) Again Ha Ha Ha.

Posted by rv_subbu on (August 23, 2010, 4:20 GMT)

WTF? No Engineer on this list? Engineer was practically as good as a bastman during from 67 onwards and was a brilliant keeper, probably second only to Kirmani.

Posted by kushur on (August 23, 2010, 4:19 GMT)

Where is Farookh Engineer in this?? Though I have never seen him play but based on reputation I heard he should have in top 3 contenders along with Dhoni and Kiri. Looks like cricinfo selection panel has done a "Swann" here..

Posted by BillyCC on (August 23, 2010, 4:13 GMT)

I hope people remember that the person to represent India from this list must be the best wicket keeper. You cannot just pick Dhoni because he is the better batsman. It is not the other's fault that they lived in generations where it was more a convenience rather than a necessity to have better than average batting skills. Of course, the exception is Gilchrist who should be eligible because he was the pioneer, the one who made it necessary for a keeper to bat well and if possible average above 40.

Posted by errapalliprasanna on (August 23, 2010, 4:12 GMT)

Where is Farooq Engineer?

Posted by CricFan78 on (August 23, 2010, 4:11 GMT)

What a joke ! A list without Farokh Engineer makes mockery of cricinfo.

I will have Syed Kirmani in my team though.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 4:04 GMT)

Why not Engineer? I would love to go with Kirmani. Technically, he is the best.But I guess have to select Dhoni for his better batting. Specially since selectors went with only three specialist batsmen. I cant understand why. For more than a decade we have been playing 4 specialist middle order batsmen.

Posted by HundredPercentBarcelonista on (August 23, 2010, 4:01 GMT)

Has cricinfo done an ICC and forgotten to put Engineer's name in the list?

Posted by satanswish on (August 23, 2010, 4:00 GMT)

Farokh Engineer is missed.

Posted by venga on (August 23, 2010, 3:57 GMT)

No Farokh Engineer!! And there is Mongia in the list. Is this a joke?

Posted by RogerC on (August 23, 2010, 3:53 GMT)

Engineer must be there, how come all these experts missed him? Its a similar shocker to the one that missed Swann in ICC list.

Posted by gmoturu1 on (August 23, 2010, 3:51 GMT)

dhoni for sure. he would be the captain as well......

Posted by Jim1207 on (August 23, 2010, 3:50 GMT)

It should be Dhoni or Kirmani. I lost all respect on Kiran More in his corrupt play in Sourav sacking episode, as he tried to bring the curtains down on Ganguly, not because of Dada's poor batting, but because of the politics in bringing a rebel down when time comes. Kiran then tried to move to ICL and was a mediocre keeper and worse batsman but with big foul mouth. Kirmani was genuine batsman, but Dhoni would be the best captain India has ever produced when he finishes and with such a cool, authoritative and well-mannered person, Dhoni definitely would be the best keeper-batsman India has ever produced.Lot of people would surely hate Dhoni and say his batting is pathetic,what matters is he enabled India to win more with bat or keeping than any other keeper. Truth would prevail, and I would not like to look at the team if Dhoni is not there in all time XI - he has proved enough to overtake others and would prove in future too. Sorry Kirmani, you are always greatest keeper from India.

Posted by bas_bindaas on (August 23, 2010, 3:48 GMT)

This Place is for none other than Mr. M.S. Dhoni - Captain Cool.

Posted by zingzangspillip on (August 23, 2010, 3:47 GMT)

If what Suresh Menon says is true, and no Indian wicketkeeper deserves the spot for his keeping skills alone, it should go to Dhoni. He's a very good keeper, and he's a better batsman than the rest. Pretty simple, really.

Posted by   on (August 23, 2010, 3:33 GMT)

With Dhoni in there its really ridiculously obvious. Its like Pakistan and West Indies all rounders with Imran Khan and Gary Sobers in the lists. Dhoni would probably make it into any countries wicket keeper list, even Australia's.

Posted by thair9999 on (August 23, 2010, 3:24 GMT)

Dhoni is best in the world, in my opinion (by the way I am from Pak). He is best combination there.

Posted by CricAtJam on (August 23, 2010, 3:24 GMT)

Dhoni over any others.....batting and leading are added skills......

Posted by BullayBaaz on (August 23, 2010, 3:17 GMT)

Kirmani must be the choice here but would have liked to see Farook Engineer nominated. He played the sacrificial lamb role as the opener with no limit bouncers, no helmets, no padding on arms. His keeping was at least as good as others nominated here, except off course for Kirmani

Posted by TMS8137 on (August 23, 2010, 3:12 GMT)

are you kidding me? Engineer deserves to be on this list too.

Posted by intcamd on (August 23, 2010, 3:05 GMT)

Dhoni, definitely.

And the captain of this ATX1

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Suresh MenonClose
Suresh Menon Suresh Menon went from being a promising cricketer to a has-been, without the intervening period of a major career. He played league cricket in three cities with a group of overgrown enthusiasts who had the reverse of amnesia - they could remember things that never happened. For example, taking incredible catches at slip, or scoring centuries. Somehow Menon found the time to be the sports editor of the Pioneer and the Indian Express in New Delhi, Gulf News in Dubai, and the editor of the New Indian Express in Chennai. Currently he is a columnist with publications in India and abroad, and is beginning to think he might never play for India.

India Jury

Sambit Bal
Sambit Bal
Editor, Cricinfo
XI: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Mohinder Amarnath, Mankad, Kapil Dev, Dhoni, Srinath, Anil Kumble, Prasanna
Harsha Bhogle
Harsha Bhogle
Cricket commentator, presenter and writer. Has covered nearly 100 Tests and over 400 ODIs
XI: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Viswanath, Umrigar, Mankad, Kapil Dev, Kirmani, Kumble, Srinath
Ramachandra Guha
Ramachandra Guha
Historian and cricket writer. Author of A Corner of a Foreign Field, Wickets in the East, Spin and Other Turns, and editor of the Picador Book of Cricket
XI: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, CK Nayudu, Mankad, Kapil Dev, Kirmani, Kumble, Prasanna, Nissar
Arun Lal
Arun Lal
Played 16 Tests and 13 ODIs for India between 1982 and 1989. Currently a cricket commentator
XI: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Hazare, Dhoni, Kapil Dev, Mankad, Lala Amarnath, Kumble, Srinath
Pradeep Magazine
Pradeep Magazine
Has written on cricket for the last three decades for various Indian newspapers. Author of the book Not Quite Cricket. Currently advisor, sports with the Hindustan Times
XI: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Mohinder Amarnath, Mankad, Kapil Dev, Kirmani, Kumble, Srinath, Prasanna
Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar
Played 37 Tests and 74 ODIs for India between 1987 and 1996. Now a cricket commentator and presenter for ESPN Star
XI: Sehwag, Gavaskar, Dravid, Tendulkar, Hazare, Mankad, Dhoni, Kapil Dev, Prasanna, Gupte, Srinath
Ayaz Memon
Ayaz Memon
Sportswriter for 30 years. Former editor of Sportsweek and former sports editor of the Independent and the Times of India. Has covered over 100 Tests, more than 250 ODIs, and six World Cups
XI: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Hazare, Mankad, Kapil Dev, Dhoni, Kumble, Zaheer, Nissar
Suresh Menon
Suresh Menon
Former sports editor of the Pioneer and the Indian Express in New Delhi, Gulf News in Dubai, and former editor of the New Indian Express in Chennai. Currently a columnist with publications in India and abroad
XI: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Hazare, Mankad, Kapil Dev, Dhoni, Srinath, Prasanna, Kumble
R Mohan
R Mohan
Resident Editor of the Deccan Chronicle, Chennai. Formerly cricket correspondent of the Hindu and The Sportstar for nearly two decades. Has reported live close to 150 Test matches and more than 300 ODIs, including five World Cups.
XI: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Merchant, Tendulkar, Hazare, Kapil Dev, Dhoni, Mankad, Srinath, Kumble, Prasanna
Vasu Paranjape
Former Mumbai and Baroda player, and former coach of Mumbai and of the National Cricket Academy
XI: Gavaskar, Merchant, Tendulkar, Hazare, MAK Pataudi, Phadkar, Kapil Dev, Mankad, Tamhane, Gupte, Prasanna
Sharda Ugra
Sharda Ugra
Senior editor, Cricinfo. Cricket writer for two decades with Mid-Day, the Hindu and India Today magazine
XI: Gavaskar, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Mankad, Dhoni, Kapil Dev, Kumble, Srinath, Zaheer