All-time XI - World
ESPNcricinfo picks the best Test teams of all time

Tendulkar only current player in ESPNcricinfo all-time World XI

Four Australians and three West Indians make it to the side. Warne, Gilchrist and Akram other recent players to feature

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 25, 2010

Comments: 1058 | Text size: A | A

Shane Warne ended the year with 96 Test wickets, Australia v South Africa, 2nd Test, Melbourne, 4th day, December 30, 2005
Warne: unanimously picked, with Bradman and Sobers © Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar is the only current player in ESPNcricinfo's all-time Test World XI, which is dominated by Australians and West Indians, reflecting their pre-eminence in Test cricket over the years.

Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and Wasim Akram were the other players from the last two decades to make it to the XI, which featured seven players who made their debuts after 1970.

Four Australians, three West Indians, two Englishmen, an Indian and a Pakistani make up the XI.

Three players were unanimous choices, figuring in the first XIs of each of the 12 members of the jury (each juror was asked to pick a first XI and a second) - Don Bradman, Garry Sobers and Shane Warne, each of whom got the maximum points possible in the exercise, 60. Tendulkar followed with 51 points.

Perhaps the biggest surprise the XI threw up was the gap between Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, the two leading wicket-takers in cricket history. Murali made it to ESPNcricinfo's World Second XI, tallying 34 points fewer than Warne.

The closest battles were for one of the opening spots and for No. 5. Sunil Gavaskar lost out to Jack Hobbs by one point and George Headley by two to Viv Richards.

Len Hutton (47 points) partners Hobbs at the top. They are followed by Bradman, Tendulkar, Richards and Sobers. While there was no competition to Sobers for the allrounder's spot, Imran Khan (19) narrowly edged out Keith Miller to make it to the Second XI.

Adam Gilchrist beat Alan Knott to the wicketkeeper's spot by eight points. The next closest contender was Kumar Sangakkara, who got nine points.

The bowling positions were all decided by handsome margins. Three of cricket's most highly rated fast bowlers - Dennis Lillee, leading with 48 points, Wasim Akram and Malcolm Marshall (in addition to Sobers, who could bowl left-arm fast, spin and chinamen) - accompany Warne.

Four players figured in either the first or second XIs of each of the 12 jury members - Bradman, Sobers, Warne and Viv Richards. Five players were in 11 - Tendulkar, Akram, Hutton, Gilchrist and Marshall.

The jury comprised one former captain from each of the top Test-playing teams - Ian Chappell, Clive Lloyd, Tony Greig, Duleep Mendis, Ali Bacher, Intikhab Alam, John Wright, Ajit Wadekar - and four cricket historians and writers.

The World XI is the final installment in ESPNcricinfo's all-time XI series, in which all-time sides have been picked for the leading Test teams. The shortlists that the members of the jury picked their World XIs from consisted of the players who made it to the country XIs.

ESPNcricinfo readers were invited to pick their XIs in parallel, and six of the jury's choices made it to the readers' XI: Bradman, Tendulkar, Sobers, Gilchrist, Warne and Akram. Virender Sehwag and Gavaskar were the overwhelming favourites for the opening slots, while Brian Lara edged out Richards for a place in the middle order. The readers went with a two-spin, two-quicks bowling combination - their XI has Warne and Murali bowling in tandem. And Glenn McGrath and Akram comfortably beat competition from all the West Indian bowlers in the shortlist.

"It was only natural that our all-time XI series for the top Test-playing countries should culminate in an all-time World XI," Sambit Bal, editor of ESPNcricinfo, said. "It's the apt finale to what has been hugely successful exercise. Not only have these features been widely read, our readers have participated in huge numbers in picking their own XIs."

"We have taken great care in choosing the jury for the world XI. All the cricketers on the panel have been captains, and are thus well-versed in the business of selecting teams. Also, they have either played alongside, or watched first-hand, a significant number of the nominees."

The World XI: Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Viv Richards, Garry Sobers, Adam Gilchrist, Malcolm Marshall, Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Dennis Lillee

The Second XI: Sunil Gavaskar, Barry Richards, George Headley, Brian Lara, Wally Hammond, Imran Khan, Alan Knott, Bill O'Reilly, Fred Trueman, Muttiah Muralitharan, SF Barnes

Readers' XI: Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag, Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Garry Sobers, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Muttiah Muralitharan, Glenn McGrath

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by bappcric on (October 29, 2010, 0:53 GMT)

Tendulkar's selection seems to have caused lot of heartburn to Lara fans. So here are the facts.

Between 1990 and 2010, the great bowlers' FEARSOME years were as follows - McGrath (1995-2005), Warne(1993- 2006) , Donald ( 1992-2001 ), Waqar(upto 1998), Akram(upto 2000).

Lara Against Pakistan - upto 2005 ( avg 30, SRT 42 ), after 2005 ( avg 85, SRT 40 ). Against Australia - 1995 to 2005 ( avg 50, SRT 60 ) Against South Africa - 1992 -2001 ( avg 35, SRT 38 ), after 2001 ( avg 70, SRT 38)

So when the great bowlers were at their peak, SRT had a better record than Lara.

Hopefully we all will be happy now. But thanks Lara anyway for the great memories. Truthfully, it is silly to be fighting over averages. But that is the point of All-time XI's - isnt it.

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (October 28, 2010, 23:53 GMT)

Thanks ESPNCricinfo..for allowing us to post so many comments..You guys did your job so we did..It was fun and lot of people shard their views.. Our comments will be gone maybe today or tomorrow but this exercise by you and by us will be remembered.. I respect everyone's comment and also respect all the Cricket players..That what we love the game of Cricket...and players of Cricket on the field and off the field........Thanks

Posted by 114_in_final_Six_overs on (October 28, 2010, 23:22 GMT)

LOL Hema, I agree with you. This is not 'Mr. Fancy Pants' eleven, this list is for serious cricketers and Imran without pre-ICC days was pretty much free to do what ever he wanted. He himself has admitted using various devices such as soda top etc. Plus in home matches all he had to do is to hit pads to get a wicket thats why his bowling average is better than the rest. Batting average improved because when ever he saw a weaker team he promoted himself up the batting order and when facing WI promoted Miandad to go and face the music.

Posted by Simmy567 on (October 28, 2010, 23:09 GMT)

Imran Khan???? As a captain as well as an allrounder. Should have been an easy pick, because he probably could get in the team purely as a bowler.

Posted by Hema_Adhikari on (October 28, 2010, 22:54 GMT)

Cricket-hopper, that may be so given the clout we indians have (relishing it), however they discarded Waqar Younis and Imran Khan purely on their volition :)

Posted by Hema_Adhikari on (October 28, 2010, 22:52 GMT)

Imran in world eleven is a joke, he simply was not good enough. He did not even get one vote which shows how test captains rank him. And they know their stuff, they have played at the highest level.

Sachin drives his opponents nuts even off the field :)

Posted by josepfh77 on (October 28, 2010, 22:09 GMT)

idont understand why there is only one westindian pace bowler in both XI.where is ambrose,holding,or or two more of them should be in one of these XI.westindies had some of the most devastating pace bowlers in history.i completly disagree with some of the pace bowlers pick in these two world barns, trueman, lillee are not better than ambrose,garner or holding.and glenn mcgrath should be in there too..

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (October 28, 2010, 22:05 GMT)

Sachin, Bradman and......................Rest....Let me think about Sobers...maybe I will include him make West Indian fans happy...others NO WAY...............

Posted by cricketchopper on (October 28, 2010, 21:46 GMT)

The voting system was that all 12 jury members were directed to select Sachin and even then one member did not select him. Rest of the team was left on the choice of jury members.

Posted by BillyCC on (October 28, 2010, 21:40 GMT)

Does anyone know how the voting system worked? Is there an article on Cricinfo explaining this? For example, was it similar to how the fans had to do it ie. pick a team configuration, and then vote and then tally up points?

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email Feedback Print

World Jury

Intikhab Alam
Intikhab Alam
Former Pakistan allrounder. Captained the side in 17 Tests and three ODIs between 1969 and 1975 and later served as team manager and coach.
Ali Bacher
Ali Bacher
Captained South Africa in 1970, when they defeated Australia 4-0; was managing director of the South African cricket board through the 1990s, and executive director of the 2003 World Cup.
Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell
Captained Australia in 30 Tests and 11 ODIs between 1971 and 1975. Now a cricket commentator and columnist.
David Frith
David Frith
Cricket historian, writer and archivist. Author of the definitive history of Bodyline
Tony Greig
Tony Greig
Former England allrounder who captained the side in 14 Tests and two ODIs in the mid-to-late 1970s. Currently a cricket commentator and presenter on television.
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
Gideon Haigh
Gideon Haigh
Cricket historian and writer. His books include acclaimed biographies of Warwick Armstrong and Jack Iverson, and the definitive history of the Kerry Packer era.
Clive Lloyd
Clive Lloyd
Captained the all-conquering West Indies team of the 70s and 80s in 74 Tests and 84 ODIs. Served as ICC match referee and chairman of the ICC's cricket committee.
Duleep Mendis
Duleep Mendis
Captained Sri Lanka in 19 Tests (including in their first Test and series victories) and 61 ODIs, between 1982 and 1987. Currently chief executive of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Peter Roebuck
Peter Roebuck
Former captain of Somerset; author of It Never Rains and Sometimes I Forgot to Laugh among other books.
Ajit Wadekar
Ajit Wadekar
Former India captain, between 1971 and 1974, during which period the team notched up their landmark first wins in the West Indies and England. Later a manager of the national side.
John Wright
John Wright
Former New Zealand opener and captain, and later India coach. Led in 14 Tests and 31 ODIs between 1983 and 1987.

    What is Rohit Sharma's role?

Should India have practised slip catching in the nets? Who will play at the G?

    'I'd like to have faced the West Indies quicks'

Northamptonshire's David Willey picks his ideal partner for a jungle expedition, and talks about his famous dad

    Benn shows up in body and spirit

Tony Cozier: The spinner has brought in a sense of discipline into his bowling and behaviour on the field since his Test comeback

    The return of Bob Simpson

Rewind: When the 41-year-old former captain came out of retirement to lead Australia against India

Bowling to blame for India's poor overseas record

Kartikeya Date: The inability to build pressure by denying runs, even on helpful pitches, is India's biggest problem

News | Features Last 7 days

What ails Rohit and Watson?

Both batsmen seemingly have buckets of talent at their disposal and the backing of their captains, but soft dismissals relentlessly follow both around the Test arena

The perfect Test

After the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death, this match showed that cricket and life will continue to go on. This time Test cricket dug in and got through to tea.

Hazlewood completes quartet of promise

Josh Hazlewood has been on Australian cricket's radar since he was a teenager. The player that made a Test debut at the Gabba was a much-improved version of the tearaway from 2010

Australia in good hands under proactive Smith

The new stand-in captain has the makings of a long-term leader, given his ability to stay ahead of the game

Karn struggles to stay afloat

The failed gamble of handing Karn Sharma a Test debut despite him having a moderate first-class record means India have to rethink who their spinner will be

News | Features Last 7 days