The cricket fraternity in India today expressed shock at the omission of legends like Sachin Tendulkar and Don Bradman in the all-time Test eleven named by former English umpire Dickie Bird with some former cricketers calling his composition as “biased” and “ill-balanced”.
Former captain Sunil Gavaskar was the only Indian included in the controversial team which has Pakistani all-rounder Imran Khan as the captain. Besides the omission of Tendulkar and Bradman,Bird’s team did not have the greats like Brian Lara,Ricky Ponting as well as the West Indian fast bowlers Malcolm Marshall,Andy
Roberts,Joel Garner and Michael Holding. Others in the team,named by Bird in an interview with London newspaper ‘The Telegraph’ ahead of his 80th birthday today,are Barry Richards,Vivian Richards,Greg Chappell,Graeme Pollock,Gary Sobers,Alan Knott,Shane Warne,Dennis Lillee and Lance Gibbs.
Former India captain Ajit Wadekar felt Gavaskar was the right choice in the opener’s slot but said that he was surprised by the exclusion of Tendulkar,Bradman and the West Indian fast bowlers.
“It’s a bit partial. He has selected only players whom he has seen from close quarters. But the combination is not balanced. Of course,Gavaskar will have to be there. But it is surprising that there is no Sachin Tendulkar,Don Bradman and the West Indian fast bowlers,” he said.
“And who will be the new-ball partner of Lilee? It’s also surprising there is nobody from among the famed Indian spin quartet of Bishan Bedi,Erapalli Prasanna,B S Chandrasekhar and R Venkataraghavan. It would also been ideal if Adam Gilchrist was there in place of Allan Knott,” he added.
Former India batsman Chandu Borde said leaving out Tendulkar and Bradman from his team showed Bird’s lack of cricketing knowledge.
“That’s his opinion. He must not have seen Bradman playing.” he said with a sarcastic tone. “By this team,one can see how good is his cricketing knowledge. Statistics will tell you about Bradman and Tendulkar.
One need not refer to his eleven. From my point of view,it’s the English media which has made Bird an umpiring legend. He’s always bias.”