After a few days of exciting football and turgid cricket, the thought struck me, what if India's cricketers played football? No, no, not literally: most of them probably wouldn't be very good, as you need entirely different skillsets for the two sports. But considering their personalities and the way they played their cricket, what positions would they play on a football field. Here, entirely non-seriously, is the line-up I came up with, in a cricketing batting order:1. Virender Sehwag: Striker.
Sehwag, I fancy, would be a bit like Ronaldo is today: capable of flashes of brilliance, a devastating instinctive striker, but with a tendency to put on weight and be lazy in the field.2. Wasim Jaffer: Defender.
Jaffer would be at the heart of the defence, one of the centre backs, deputised to mark the striker India most fear, and would have a mean header when he went upfield for corner kicks.3. Rahul Dravid: Midfielder.
Dravid would be the man at the centre of midfield who'd hold it all together. He'd set up goals with his precision passing, and would rush back to defend when required, tackling skillfully and cleanly. He'd have a phenomenal work-rate, and would be the team's penalty-taker.4. Sachin Tendulkar: Midfielder.
The genius in midfield, like Zinedine Zidane, capable of anything, but aging a bit. Still, despite being past his best, he'd have a vision for the game and would set up opportunities, frequently scoring himself with his lusty long-range strikes, as well as free kicks.5. Yuvraj Singh: Striker.
Capable of flashes of genius that take games away, Yuvi would also be a bit mercurial, and would have off-days every once in a while when nothing he did would go right. Often substituted with Suresh Raina, who'd have as powerful a left foot as him.6. Mohammad Kaif: Defender.
This rangy player would be the side's left-back, capable of preposterously quick runs down the wings, often running past Irfan Pathan, the midfielder at the left of the field. Would possess a nifty, curling free kick.7: MS Dhoni: Midfielder.
He'd be a dangerous presence on the right wing, known for devastating long-range strikes and skillful runs into the penalty box.8. Irfan Pathan: Midfielder.
Irfan would man the left wing, controlling the tempo of the game, and often combining with wingback Kaif to create dangerous moves down the flanks. He'd also not be averse to going for the long-range strike on goal with his left foot.9. Anil Kumble: Defender.
The team's centreback, Kumble, would be dependable and untiring, and a reliable last line of defence for the side.10. Munaf Patel: Defender.
A fiesty defender on the right flank, Patel would be known, like Cafu, for his runs down the flank. He'd be a rough customer, picking up a fair amount of yellow cards in the service of his side.
11. S Sreesanth: Goalkeeper.
Reliable, if occasionally a little excitable, between the posts.
The bench would have Suresh Raina (striker), Harbhajan Singh (midfielder), VVS Laxman (libero), VRV Singh (defender) and Dinesh Karthik (goalkeeper). Greg Chappell would be the coach, so Sourav Ganguly, the Mohan Bagan striker with such an excellent record in one-day football matches, but also a habit of picking up red cards, wouldn't have a chance of making the squad. Dravid would be captain, and India would play a 4-4-2 formation.
Now, if India's politicians
were to form a football team...Update
: Dhananjay takes my musing about politicians playing football a bit further