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The all-time India Test XI, according to the ICC rankings

India Test XI
Aadya Sharma by Aadya Sharma
@Aadya_Wisden 5 minute read

Presenting an all-time Indian Test XI, featuring players from the country who have attained the highest rating points in the all-time charts of the ICC Test rankings.

The criteria for selection is simple: we’ve chosen the top five batsmen, the top-ranked wicketkeeper, the top-ranked all-rounder (R Ashwin) and the four top bowlers. You can also check the all-time Test XI, based on the ICC rankings.

Sunil Gavaskar

All-time batting ranking: 1st (916 points)

125 Tests, 10,122 runs @ 51.12, 34 100s

The greatest Indian Test opener, and arguably the best of all time, Gavaskar was the run-machine of Indian cricket for the good part of the Seventies and Eighties. No opener has scored more centuries than him, and he is one of only two openers (the other being Matthew Hayden) to average over 50 while playing 100+ Tests. He is also one of two Indian batsmen to cross an all-time rating of 900. A no-brainer on this list.

Rahul Dravid

All-time batting ranking: 1st (892 points)

164 Tests, 13,288 runs @ 52.31, 36 100s

Dravid made the No.3 position his own, but much like his career, bats out of position here to adjust the team’s balance. India’s second-highest run-getter in Tests, Dravid hit five double-centuries in Tests, including memorable overseas knocks of 233 (in Australia) and 270 (in Pakistan). He also scored at least one Test century in every nation he toured.

Cheteshwar Pujara

All-time batting ranking: 2nd (888 points)

85 Tests, 6,244 runs @ 46.59, 18 100s

The immovable rock of India’s current line-up, Pujara is the epitome of grit and resolve in modern-day cricket, combining a sound technique with unmatched determination. Currently averaging over 45 with three double-centuries to his name, Pujara’s best came on the 2018/19 Australia tour, when he scored 521 runs @ 74.42 and rose to No.3 in the ICC rankings.

Sachin Tendulkar

All-time batting ranking: 1st (898 points)

200 Tests, 15,921 runs @ 53.78, 51 100s

Test history’s most prolific run-maker, Tendulkar occupies his customary position at four, where he alone scored over 13,000 runs. Tendulkar averaged over 40 in every Test-playing nation, averaging 54.74 in away matches as compared to 52.67 at home. He first reached the top of the Test rankings in 1994, and continued to attain the spot at different points of his career.

Virat Kohli (c)

All-time batting ranking: 1st (937 points)

91 Tests, 7,490 runs @ 52.37, 27 100s

One of the greatest all-format batsmen of the modern era, Kohli’s Test career has been on an upward graph ever since his debut. His stature as a Test cricketer grew significantly in the second half of the last decade, and he scored seven double-centuries from 2016 to 2019. He first reached the top of the batting rankings in 2018 and is also India’s highest-rated Test batsman ever.

Rishabh Pant

All-time batting ranking: 9th (747 points)

20 Tests, 1,358 runs @ 45.26, 3 100s

The only Indian wicketkeeper to enter the ICC top-10 Test rankings for batsmen, Pant’s stocks have risen exponentially in the last six months. Barely three years into his Test career, Pant already holds significant records, ranging from most dismissals in a Test match (11) to fastest Indian wicketkeeper to 1000 Test runs. His current ranking of No.9 is also his career best.

Kapil Dev

All-time bowling ranking: 2nd (877 points)

131 Tests, 434 wickets @ 29.64, BBI: 9-83

Undoubtedly India’s greatest all-rounder of all time, Kapil Dev’s reputation and records stay untouched even close to three decades after his retirement. He ended his career as the No.1 ranked Test all-rounder, a position he first occupied in 1992, and also reached second in the bowling rankings in 1979. His 434 Test wickets remains a record among Asian seamers.

Ravichandran Ashwin

All-time bowling ranking: 1st (904 points)

All-time all-rounder ranking: 1st (492 points)

78 Tests, 409 wickets @ 24.69, BBI: 7-59; 2,656 runs @ 27.95, 5 100s

Given his career progression, Ashwin might end up being India’s greatest spinner ever. Post-2016, his Test career rose by leaps and bounds, and he became the fastest to 250, 300 and 350th Test wickets. Since 2015, his bowling average every calendar year has not gone past 28. He first reached the top of the all-rounders’ rankings in 2013 and has five Test centuries next to his name.

Ravindra Jadeja

All-time bowling ranking: 1st (899 points)

51 Tests, 220 wickets @ 24.32, BBI: 7-48

Currently the highest-ranked Indian all-rounder, Jadeja reached the top of the all-round rankings in 2017, the same year he also rose to No.1 in the bowling charts. A prolific wicket-taker, Jadeja has taken the bulk of his wickets at home (157 out of 220) where he averages 21.06.

Anil Kumble

All-time bowling ranking: 2nd (859 points)

132 Tests, 619 wickets @ 29.65, BBI: 10-74

Arguably India’s greatest matchwinner, Kumble was highly impactful on pitches both in India and abroad. One of only two bowlers to take ten Test wickets in an innings, Kumble’s the country’s highest wicket-taker in the format by some margin. He took at least one five-wicket haul every season from 1992 to 2007 and ended with a career average just under 30.

Jasprit Bumrah

All-time bowling ranking: 3rd (835 points)

19 Tests, 83 wickets @ 22.10, BBI: 6-27

In just over three years, Bumrah has emerged as India’s Test spearhead, applying his white-ball prowess to capture wickets with the same zeal. Among Indian quicks (at least 20 innings), he has the best bowling average and already has five-wicket hauls in Australia, England and South Africa. He is also one of only three Indians to take a Test hat-trick.

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