With the 2019 Cricket World Cup a little over a month away, ESPNcricinfo conducted a staff survey to find out its consensus all-time World Cup XI. Many critics, however, questioned the choice of having two wicket-keeper batsmen in Kumar Sangakkara and Adam Gilchrist.
Of the many greats featured, only Wasim Akram was a constant on every single one of the 22 individual lists, the publication said. The former left-arm pacer’s heroics in the 1992 World Cup, including his famous back-to-back dismissals of Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis, probably earned him unanimous nods.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was Akram’s and the rest of the Cornered Tigers’ captain during that unforgettable campaign, has been picked to lead the star-studded line-up.
India, meanwhile, has a representative on the list in the form of Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar. Many critics have also lambasted the selection process where current Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who is considered the best in the business and a chase-machine, has been omitted.
Five-time defending champions Australia understandably have the most members on the list. And each one of Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath fully merit their selection.
The only two players who have been picked despite never being the world champions are Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and South Africa’s Lance Klusenar.
It is pertinent to mention here that while Sri Lanka did win the 1996 tournament, Sangakkara did not make his ODI debut until four years later. But another islander who did play the 1996 World Cup and does feature on the Cricinfo list is spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan.
The only player from the non-coloured-kit era to make the list is West Indian Vivian Richards, who famously starred in two World Cup finals: running-out three English batsmen in 1975 and smashing a century four years later.
Adam Gilchrist (wk)
Matches 31 Runs 1085 Average 36.16 Strike Rate 98.01 Dismissals 52
The destructive keeper-batsman has three World Cup titles. His finest moment came in his final World Cup match, when his 149 (aided by a squash ball in his glove) clinched the third of those title wins.
Matches 45 Runs 2278 Ave 56.95 SR 88.98 100s/50s 6/15
In the three World Cups where he opened throughout, Tendulkar topped the run-scoring charts twice, in 1996 and 2003; he was second in 2011, when India won the title in his record-equalling sixth World Cup.
Matches 46 Runs 1743 Ave 45.86 SR 79.95 100s/50s 5/6
Part of a record 34-match unbeaten World Cup streak during which Australia won a hat-trick of titles, two under his captaincy. Ponting’s best was a stunning 140 not out in the 2003 final. Also a gun fielder, with the most World Cup catches for an outfielder.
Matches 23 Runs 1013 Ave 63.31 SR 85.05 100s/50s 3/5
Two-time World Cup champion (and nearly a third). A trendsetter with the bat, who was voted the greatest ODI player by a jury in 2015. And don’t forget his electric fielding.
Matches 37 Runs 1532 Ave 56.74 SR 86.55 100s/50s 5/7
Hundreds in four consecutive World Cup innings in 2015 – an ODI record. The leading run scorer among left-handers. Also the most dismissals for a keeper, though Gilchrist is first choice for that role in this XI.
Imran Khan (c)
Matches 28 Runs 666 Ave 35.05 Wickets 34 Ave 19.26
The man who delivered Pakistan’s 1992 triumph. Steady with the bat (he didn’t bowl in the 1983 edition) and deadly with the ball, Imran is also our pick to lead this side.
Matches 14 Runs 372 Ave 124.00 Wickets 22 Ave 22.13
The least experienced member of this side makes it on the back of his legendary showing in the 1999 edition. The stunning numbers reflect how awe-inducing his finishing was. Also a handy fast-bowling option.
Matches 38 Wickets 55 Ave 23.83 Economy Rate 4.04 4s/5s 2/1
The greatest left-arm bowler of his generation, and perhaps of all time. He swung the 1992 World Cup final his team’s way with bat and ball and led them to the final in 1999.
The wizard who cast memorable World Cup spells. He came up with Man-of-the-Match performances in the thrilling 1996 and 1999 semi-finals, and in Australia’s dominating win in 1999 final.
Matches 40 Wickets 68 Ave 19.63 ER 3.88 4s/5s 4/0
His first World Cup was Sri Lanka’s remarkable 1996 victory, and he played a key role in their 2003, 2007 and 2011 campaigns, a constant menace to opposition batsmen.
Matches 39 Wickets 71 Average 18.19 ER 3.96 4s/5s 0/2
The leading wicket-taker in World Cup history improved his performance with each edition, finishing with a record 26 wickets, the Player-of-the-Tournament award, and a hat-trick of titles in 2007.