Getty Images
Getty Images

He was England’s most successful batsman in Test series against India; England run-machine Joe Root has now revealed his All-Time XI. Root chose among cricketers he has watched or played alongside. The first name he puts in the list is bound to surprise many but is quite understandable if you are a Yorkshireman. Root and Michael Vaughan have played together in Yorkshire and are from the same local club. Root picked Vaughan as his first opener in the side, the other being his national skipper Alastair Cook, who also gets to lead the side. Root keeps the reason simple: “He is the only international captain I have played under [in Tests].”

“Lucky enough to make my debut against him,” Root reserves special words for Sachin Tendulkar, whom he has chosen to bat at No. 3. He called it “an honour to be on the same field” with Tendulkar. At No. 4, he picked Jacques Kallis and loathed the fact that he was never able to play against him but mentions “he was a massive influence on me while growing up.” Kallis makes the side purely on his batting skills but not to forget the South African maestro has 292 wickets to him name as well.

At No. 5, gracing the line-up will be Indian captain Virat Kohli. One of Root’s contemporaries, he came second best to the Indian run-machine in the recently concluded Test series. Root calls him “one of the best players currently” and hails him for his abilities to construct innings across formats.

Two more stalwarts, AB de Villiers and Kumar Sangakkara, follow Root, with the latter keeping wickets. The slot for the other all-rounder is reserved for Andrew Flintoff, the man who turned the Ashes 2005 on its head and inspired a teenaged Root to fall for the game further.

So far no Australian yet… No Ricky Ponting, no Matthew Hayden or Adam Gilchrist. And that has nothing to do with an Englishman’s hatred for Aussies. The last three spots are reserved for Australians. Not surprisingly, Shane Warne makes the cut as the lone spinner, followed by Mitchell Johnson and Glenn McGrath.

Joe Root’s All-Time XI: Michael Vaughan, Alastair Cook (c), Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Andrew Flintoff, Shane Warne, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn McGrath.