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Dream Team

Who did we pick in our current world XI to beat India at home?

Are Joe Root and Nathan Lyon unanimous picks? Would you really mull over James Anderson as much as our panel did?

Sreshth Shah
Sreshth Shah
20-Feb-2021
With the India-England series 1-1 after the first two Tests, the agenda for the latest Dream Team episode was simple: to find the best current Test XI that would beat India in India. Making the choices are ESPNcricinfo's Alan Gardner, Karthik Krishnaswamy and Andrew Fidel Fernando.
Babar Azam or Kane Williamson?
While discussing the middle order, the panelists wrestle with the choice between the Pakistan captain and the New Zealand captain. Azam has not faced India's bowlers in Tests, but he averages over 55 in Asia. Williamson announced himself in Tests with a hundred on debut in India in 2010, and while he hasn't made a lot of big scores in the country since, his pedigree is impeccable. Who will they pick?
Choosing the allrounder
There is space for only one genuine allrounder and the panelists shortlist three options who excel in Asia - Shakib Al Hasan, Ben Stokes and Jason Holder. Shakib knows the subcontinental conditions best among the three, but would you want a fast-bowling allrounder instead to balance the XI? Eventually the panelists go with the player who will be the most challenging fifth bowler for the current Indian team to tackle.
Who is Pat Cummins' new-ball partner?
The panelists weigh out what Kagiso Rabada, Shaheen Afridi and James Anderson bring to the attack. Rabada has the perfect balance of speed and control among the contenders. Anderson has the ability to trouble the Indian batsmen with both the old and new ball. And Afridi brings in the left-arm angle into the conversation while also being a menacing quick at any stage of a Test innings.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo