Syed Kirmani's Greatest Test XI hailing from Karnataka has mostly the expected names, but is led by a player not too many are familiar with: Venkataraman Subramanya.
On Subramanya, Kirmani, who picked himself as the wicket-keeper for the team, said, "If he wouldn't have migrated overseas, I have no doubts he would have captained the Indian Test side."
Subramanya, a tall aggressive middle-order batsman and more than a useful legspin bowler, played Tests between 1965 and 1968. Against West Indies at Madras in 1966-67, Subramanya hit a breezy 61, treating Wesly Hall and Charlie Griffith with disdain. In all, he played nine Tests and scored 263 runs in fifteen innings with 75 as his career highest.
Kirnami, who played 88 Tests and claimed 160 catches and 38 stumpings, has included fast bowlers Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad 12-member list, but the duo would not find themselves playing in tandem in a match. "I wouldn't dream of not playing two legends Pras (EAS Prasanna) and Chandra (Bhagwat Chandrashekhar) in tandem in a match and hence will have no other option but to play either of the two fast bowlers (Sri or Venky) in a match," he told PTI on the occasion of Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) in Bangalore on Monday.
Kirmani team also has the legendary G R Vishwanath and Rahul Dravid. On his selection of Vishwanath, Kirmani said he was a legend in the making right from his early days when he played for his state and the country. "He has a rare distinction of scoring debut centuries in Test and Ranji. He was brilliant, a legend in the making," he said.
In fact Gundappa Vishwanath, who scored 14 Test centuries, considers his second innings knock of 137 on his Test debut at Kanpur in 1969-70 against Bill Lawry's Australia as his best.
On picking up Prasanna and Chandrashekhar, Kirmani said "There is nobody who has come anywhere near their dust. Only a wicketkeeper will know what keeping is all about when he stands up to these two legends." Prasanna is famous for achieving the fastest 100 wickets in Tests for an Indian Bowler in 20 Tests, which is still a record. He picked up 189 wickets in 49 Tests in his career. Chandrashekhar was given the Wisden's "Best bowling performance of the century" award in 2002, for his six wickets for 38 runs against England at the Oval in 1971.
Kirmani's Greatest 12-member Test XI hailing from Karnataka: Venkataraman Subramanya (Captain), Roger Binny, Rahul Dravid, G R Vishwanath, Brijesh Patel, Syed Kirmani (Wicketkeeper), Sunil Joshi, Anil Kumble, EAS Prasanna, Bhagwat Chandrashekhar, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad.