India v New Zealand Tests 2016
India's Greatest Test XI: No.5 and 6
As we look ahead to India's 500th Test, today we examine the contenders for the No.5 and 6 spots in the ultimate Fans' XI
16 September 2016, 04:30 PM AEST
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.
After looking at the contenders for the opening, No.3 and No.4 spots over the past two days, today we're looking to select the greatest No.5 and No.6 in Indian history!
Voting for India's Greatest XI has CLOSED! Check out the results here.
- VOTE: Pick your openers in India's Greatest Test XI
- VOTE: Pick your No.3 and No.4 in India's Greatest Test XI
- VOTE: Pick your No.5 and No.6 in India's Greatest Test XI
- VOTE: Pick your wicketkeeper in India's Greatest Test XI
- VOTE: Pick your fast bowlers in India's Greatest Test XI
- VOTE: Pick your spinners in India's Greatest Test XI
Tests: 99 | Runs: 6,215 | Hundreds: 22 | Ave: 45.03 | HS: 199
Revered in India as one of the most stylish batsmen to ever play the game, there was also plenty of substance to Mohammad Azharuddin.
The silky right-hander's 99-Test career overlapped the end of Sunil Gavaskar's and, pre-Tendulkar, he became India's next great batting hope when he carved out three hundreds in his first three Tests.
A step ahead of his contemporaries in the field and a leader of his country in 47 Tests, Azharuddin spent the majority of his career at No.5, where he made 16 of his 22 hundreds.
And while the end of his career was blighted by the stain of match-fixing – for which he received a life ban from the BCCI that was later lifted – his status as a batting deity remains.
Tests: 59 | Runs: 3,631 | Hundreds: 12 | Ave: 42.22 | HS: 223
A name unfamiliar to plenty of modern-day fans, Polly Umrigar debuted in the years following World War Two and established himself as a trailblazer for the great Indian batsmen who followed.
By the time he retired in 1962, he left the game with more runs, hundreds and Tests for his country than anyone.
The right-hander was also the first Indian to score a Test double hundred and, as a handy off-spinner who collected 36 Test wickets, he remains one of only three from his country to take five wickets in an innings and score a century in the same match.
Tests: 134 | Runs: 8,781 | Hundreds: 17 | Ave: 45.97 | HS: 281
In a golden generation of Indian batsmen, the name 'VVS Laxman' occasionally fell behind mentions of Sehwag, Tendulkar and Dravid, but on his day Laxman was the equal of anyone.
The Australians, for whom he seemed to reserve his finest performances, found that out time and again, as the rubber-wristed Indian lived up to his moniker of Very Very Special.
His epic 281 in Kolkata in 2001 is still spoken about as perhaps the greatest Test innings of them all, coming as it did with his team following-on against a side on a world record streak of 16 straight Test wins.
He paired up with Dravid again in 2003 for another classic stand, this time in Adelaide, to engineer a first Indian win in Australia for 22 years, and retired in 2012 with a reputation of an enigmatic batting genius.
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi
Tests: 46 | Runs: 2,793 | Hundreds: 6 | Ave: 34.91 | HS: 203no
While MS Dhoni owns the most wins as India captain, Pataudi is perhaps the nation’s greatest leader, taking the reins in 1962 at just 21 to be the youngest Test captain in history, a world record that stood for 42 years.
The right-hander led his country in 40 of the 46 Tests he played, and although he was victorious on only nine occasions, he captained India to their first overseas win in a Test match and Test series against New Zealand in 1938.
With bat in hand, Pataudi scored his maiden Test ton in his third match to guide India to their first series win over England.
In 1964 he produced his highest Test knock of 203no against England in Delhi, batting for more than seven hours to ensure a draw after conceding a hefty first-innings lead.
Tests: 113 | Runs: 7,212 | Hundreds: 16 | Ave: 42.17 | HS: 239
Devastating through the off-side, daring as a captain and decisive as an opponent, Ganguly was as polarising as he was punishing with the bat.
While there were doubts with his ability to handle the short ball, from backward point to straight mid-off there were few more destructive in Test cricket.
He was particularly potent against England, scoring three centuries and averaging 65 on English soil, including a sparkling 131 at Lord’s in 1996 in his Test debut.
Australians will remember Ganguly for his tardiness at the coin toss in 2001 where he left rival captain Steve Waugh waiting on four occasions, and a brilliant 144 at the ‘Gabba in 2003.
Tests: 45 | Runs: 3,245 | Hundreds: 12 | Ave: 45.06 | HS: 200
At 27, Kohli is already perhaps the greatest limited-overs player India has produced, and his efforts in Test cricket are starting to match those of giants Tendulkar, Azharuddin and Gavaskar.
Widely regarded as one of the best – if not the best – batsmen in the world, Kohli’s Test career hit new heights on the remarkable tour of Australia in 2014-15.
In four matches Kohli amassed 692 runs at 87 with four centuries – two tons coming in the emotional series opener at the Adelaide Oval in which Kohli almost carried his side to victory on his own bat.
He took over the captaincy from MS Dhoni in that series, and has enjoyed the responsibility, scoring five centuries in 14 matches at 55 since.