Shoaib Akhtar’s choice for his all-time great World XI for the ODI format has caused quite a stir in cricketing circles, with the squad neither including Indian great Virat Kohli, nor Pakistan favourite Babar Azam.
Akhtar’s side includes four Pakistanis and Indians each. While Kohli’s and Azam’s exclusion may be understandable given the relative recentness of the pair, his leaving out of West Indies legend Vivian Richards is particularly surprising.
The outspoken analyst, who shares his unabashed comments and views on cricket on his YouTube channel, did include pioneering Pakistani fast bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis in his side. In terms of batting, he selected former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and left-arm batsman Saeed Anwar.
Amongst Indians, Sachin Tendulkar was not a surprising choice, as he ruled the batting roost for many, many years. India’s bowler Kapil Dev was also in the team, as was Yuvraj Singh and world cup-winning wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni.
The inclusion of West Indies’ Gordon Greenridge was surprising, as the erstwhile batsman pre-dated Shoaib Akhtar in cricket. Greenridge is considered to be one of the all-time greatest opening batsmen.
Australian spin wunderkind Shane Warne would be the captain of his World XI.
Akhtar left out both Viv Richards and Virat Kohli — regarded by most pundits as the two greatest ODI batsmen of all-time. However, Akhtar defended his selection. “People might be surprised by seeing Saeed Bhai in the middle but in today’s day, he would have murdered the bowlers,” stated Shoaib Akhtar.
Aside from MS Dhoni, Australia’s Adam Gilchrist — another wicket-keeper — was also in his selection. Akhtar did play against Adam Gilchrist in the 1999 World Cup final, which Pakistan lost to Australia.
Here is Shoaib Akhtar’s all-time ODI XI: Gordon Greenidge, Sachin Tendulkar, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Saeed Anwar, MS Dhoni, Adam Gilchrist, Yuvraj Singh, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Kapil Dev, Shane Warne