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India's Greatest Test XI: The openers

As we look ahead to India's 500th Test, the men who face the new ball kick start our search for the ultimate Fans' XI

In the build up to India's 500th Test match, against New Zealand in Kanpur next week, we want YOU to select India's Greatest Test XI.

Every day we will be asking you to vote on which players you think deserve to make the cut, from the best-ever opening batsmen, to the greatest in the middle-order, the wicketkeepers, the spinners and the pacemen.

We start, naturally, with the openers.

Voting for India's Greatest XI has CLOSED! Check out the results here.


Gautam Gambhir
Tests: 56 | Runs: 4,046 | Hundreds: 9 | Ave: 42.58 | HS: 206

Gautam Gambhir hasn't played Test cricket in more than two years but it's still news when the Indian opener misses a squad – as he has done for the forthcoming series against New Zealand.

That's because Gambhir, 34, is behind only Sehwag and Gavaskar when it comes to Test runs scored by Indian openers.


Most of those came during a stunning golden period between October 2008 and January 2010, when the right-hander scored eight centuries in just 10 matches.

Five of those came in successive Tests, putting Gambhir in an exclusive club of four alongside Don Bradman (six times), Jacques Kallis and Mohammad Yousuf.

Yet in the 28 Tests that followed, he failed to add another hundred, leading to his exit from the international stage.

Sunil Gavaskar
Tests: 125 | Runs: 10,122 | Hundreds: 34 | Ave: 51.12 | HS: 236no

The original 'Little Master', Sunil Gavaskar was the first man to 10,000 Test runs and India's batting rock for more than a decade-and-a-half. Taking on some of the greatest attacks in the history of the game, Gavaskar's rock-solid technique and endless levels of concentration helped him become his country's finest ever batsmen.

He was named India's Cricketer of the 20th Century and when he retired in 1987, his 34 hundreds were comfortably the most in Test history.


Gavaskar averaged 50 at home but perhaps his greatness lies in the fact that he averaged 52 away, scoring seven centuries in 13 matches in the Caribbean during the Windies' fearsome fast-bowling era and five in 11 matches in Australia.

Virender Sehwag
Tests: 104 | Runs: 8,586 | Hundreds: 23 | Ave: 49.34 | HS: 319

Explosive, exhilarating and entertaining, Virender Sehwag turned convention on its head when he burst onto the scene with a century on debut in 2001 and suddenly began scoring Test hundreds at a strike-rate few in the history of the game had managed.

But Sehwag was far from a hit-out and get-out character; the man who originally modelled his game on Sachin Tendulkar has two Test triple hundreds and a 293 to his name. Only Bradman has come closer to registering three Test triple centuries.

From the Vault: Vintage Virender in full flow

With little interest in footwork, Sehwag instead relied on an eagle eye and lightning reflexes to crash the ball through the gaps. His penchant for boundary hitting resulted in his runs coming at a strike-rate of 82.23 through 104 Tests – the fastest of anyone with more than 2,000 runs.

Navjot Sidhu
Tests: 51 | Runs: 3,202 | Hundreds: 9 | Ave: 42.13 | HS: 201

A batsman who could fluctuate between sheet-anchor and terminator, Navjot Sidhu debuted in 1983, returned five years later, and then spent more time than anyone at the top of India's Test order throughout the 1990s.

Through that time, he took on the game's best and performed with regular distinction, though he perhaps saved his best for the spinners.


Australia's leg-spinning legend Shane Warne rates Sidhu among the best players of spin he bowled to, likely because of the Indian's aggressive policy to Warne in the 1998 home series when he made scores of 62, 64, 97, 74 and 44 from his five trips to the crease.

A genuine six hitter before clearing the pickets became the norm, Sidhu hit seven of his 38 Test maximums in that series against Australia, and eight in a single innings of 124 against a young Muthiah Muralidaran and Sri Lanka in January 1994.

Meg Lanning Steve Smith