English cricketer David Willey selected his all-time ODI XI for Sky Sports recently. Interestingly, the left-arm fast bowler’s team did not contain any player from England.
Willey picked explosive West Indian batsman Chris Gayle and the legendary Sachin Tendulkar to open the batting for this dream team. He referred to Tendulkar as “just an unbelievable player”.
Further speaking about Tendulkar, Willey said: “I haven’t been fortunate enough to play against him, but obviously watched a lot of him as a kid. His stats are fantastic, he just continuously scored runs.”
The pacer, who was recently part of England’s team that reached the final of the ICC World T20, selected Virat Kohli as his number three. He hailed India’s limited-overs vice-captain as “Mr. Consistent” and added that Kohli was the first name on his all-time XI sheet.
The middle-order of the team is made up of Kumar Sangakkara, AB de Villiers, Adam Gilchrist and Jacques Kallis. Willey praised Sangakkara’s reading of the game and mentioned that he considers himself fortunate to have played against the Sri Lankan great.
On picking de Villiers, Willey said: “He scores his runs so quickly and hits the ball to all areas, a true 360 degree player. He is just impossible to set a field to.”
Willey also elaborated on why he picked Gilchrist at number 6 despite the former Australian wicket-keeper spending almost his entire ODI career as an opening batsman.
“I’ve slotted him in at six rather than opening like he often did in one-dayers, but it’s tough to find a spot for all these players,” the 26-year-old said.
With Kallis at number 7, this line-up surely seems to have a long batting line-up. Willey referred to Kallis as the greatest all-rounder ever and that his father Peter Willey wanted him to concentrate on all three aspects of the game just like the South African had.
In the bowling department, the English all-rounder went with two fast bowlers and two spinners. While Wasim Akram and Brett Lee were his choices as fast bowlers, he went with Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan to control the middle-overs.
Speaking about Warne and Muralitharan, Willey said: “It’s absolutely crucial to take wickets in those middle overs in ODIs, so by pairing Warne with Murali, I’m sure this side has that taken care of.”
Willey seems to have selected only cricketers whom he has seen play, which explains the exclusion of the likes of Sir Vivian Richards, Imran Khan etc.
David Williey’s greatest ODI XI: Chris Gayle, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Kumar Sangakkara, AB de Villiers, Adam Gilchrist, Jacques Kallis, Wasim Akram, Brett Lee, Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan.
With Inputs from SportsKeeda