It is a no-brainer that Mumbai has consistently produced some of the greatest stalwarts in Indian cricket over a considerable period of time. The domestic cricket powerhouse which has enjoyed a hegemony at winning premier first-class tournaments in India has been a consistent breeding ground for producing world-class players who served India with great distinction.
Right from Vijay Manjrekar to Polly Umrigar to the ‘Little Master’ Sunil Gavaskar to ‘Master Blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar, there has been one Mumbaikar who had been the iconic player for India in their respective generations. It is a fact that Mumbai, along with Karnataka, has produced the most Test players who went onto achieve glittering heights, contributing immensely to the cause of Indian cricket.
Besides the legendary players, there were some great stroke makers from the Mumbai stable in Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Sandeep Patil, Ravi Shastri and Vinod Kambli to name a few, who etched a mark in international cricket with their exploits with the willow.
Continuing with the rich heritage of Mumbai cricket, the current Indian team has a few names with Rohit Sharma leading the way. Besides the galaxy of batting talent, Mumbai has also produced some quality bowlers who picked up heaps for wickets for India and had a stellar run in international cricket. Zaheer Khan, arguably India’s greatest left-arm seamer played a major part of his domestic cricket for Mumbai.
Another Mumbaikar who can’t be forgotten is the enigmatic seamer Ajit Agarkar who was an outright strike bowler in white ball cricket. Agarkar was the go-to man to pick up wickets early with the new ball and more often than not rewarded the team with early strikes.
So it would be interesting to don the selector’s hat and pick up Mumbai’s best playing eleven that represented India in ODIs and achieved notable success at the highest level in white ball cricket.
Note: For my selection, I have only considered those cricketers who had a fairly long stint in the Indian ODI set up and put up consistent performances with either bat or ball for a major part of their respective careers.
Mumbai has produced a string of international cricketers who donned the Indian jersey in ODIs but those who did not have a consistent run in the national team did not make the cut in the top playing eleven.
Mumbai cricketers who represented India in ODIs
1. Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar goes down as arguably the most successful batsman in ODI cricket. Sachin was the lynchpin of the Indian batting for almost two decades and carried an enormous weight of expectation on his shoulders.
The ‘Master Blaster’ broke a majority of the batting records in his glittering ODI career which saw him amass a staggering 18000 ODI runs with 49 tons. He was one of the most prolific openers in white ball cricket and formed a lethal opening pair with Sourav Ganguly.
Sachin produced put an absolute exhibition of his masterclass batting by playing some memorable knocks in the World Cups and major ICC tournaments. Equally adept at playing pace or spin, he tamed the best of bowlers on his day and made batting looks rather ordinary. Sachin’s sublime timing, exquisite footwork and perfect balance were the hallmarks of his scintillating batting.
Besides his stellar batting, Sachin was also a handy bowler who bamboozled batsmen with a mixed bag of deliveries. The connect, love and affection that Sachin enjoyed with the billions of die-hard Indian fans is unparalleled in cricketing history.
Sachin Tendulkar ODI record
Matches 463 Runs 18426 Avg 44.83 100s 49 50s 96
2. Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma is at present one of the best openers in one-day international cricket. The immensely talented right-hander is a free-flowing stroke-maker who makes batting look effortless with his sublime timings and elegant stroke play. Once Sharma gets his eye in, he can produce some scintillating knocks courtesy his magnificent range of shots to all corners of the park. Sharma has built a reputation for scoring some daddy tons and turning around games with his batting heroics.
The ‘Hitman’ of Indian cricket has scored a record three double tons in ODIs and has the maximum 150 plus scores in the shorter format. Over the past five seasons, Sharma has formed a lethal opening duo with Shikhar Dhawan which has become the backbone of Indian batting. Along with skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit has been India’s most prolific run-getter in ODI cricket.
With over 7000 ODI runs in his kitty, Sharma is the third most successful right-handed opener after Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag in Indian cricket. Sharma has also shown his ability as a keen student of the game and has always delivered the goods whenever he led the Indian side in the absence of Virat Kohli.
Rohit Sharma ODI record
Matches 193 Runs 7454 Avg 47.78 100s 21 50s 37
3. Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar was arguably India’s most technically correct batsman who batted with a classical technique much to the purist's delight. Gavaskar’s batting was rock solid courtesy his dodged defence, watertight technique and tons of patience at the crease. He wasn’t a dasher but more of an effective run accumulator who piled up runs milking the singles. Owing to his sheer consistency, Gavaskar was India’s most dependable batsman both at home and overseas conditions.
The 'Little Master' showed the world how to grind the best of fast bowler at the peaks of their prowess. In the 80s, 'Sunny' forged handy opening partnerships with Chetan Chauhan and Krishnamachari Srikkanth to give India stability at the top of the order. Besides his stellar batting, ‘Sunny’ had one of the safest pairs of hands in the slips and was an integral part of the slip cordon.
Sunil Gavaskar ODI record
Matches 108 Runs 3092 Avg 35.13 100s 1 50 27
Since have taken Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma as the openers, I have taken the liberty of playing Sunil Gavaskar at number three in my side.
4. Dilip Vengsarkar
Dilip Vengsarkar one of the most accomplished batsmen in ODI cricket during the 80s. Vengsarkar formed the backbone of Indian batting unit along with his more illustrious counterpart Sunil Gavaskar and Mohinder Amarnath. Vengsarkar came into the Indian ODI team courtesy some heavy run-scoring seasons with the bat for Mumbai in first-class cricket. An elegant stroke-maker who had a penchant for driving and pulling the ball, Dilip played his strokes with full authority on the pacy and bouncy tracks abroad. In the mid-80s, he struck a purple patch with the willow in ODIs and scored heavily for the 'Men in Blue', both at home and away.
On his day, the ‘Colonel’ could lambast the best of bowling attacks with his sheer disdain`. Vengsarkar also had the opportunity to captain Indian team in patches when Kapil Dev or Sunil Gavaskar did not don the captaincy hat.
Dilip Vengsarkar batting record
Matches 129 Runs 3508 Avg 34.73 100s 1 50s 23
5. Vinod Kambli
Vinod Kambli was perhaps of India’s most gifted lefthanded batsman who shined for a brief period in a sea-saw ODI career. Kambli was one of the most eye-catching batsmen with his signature high backlift and Caribbean swagger.
He was a dependable middle-order batsman who showed flashes of brilliance with his stylish strokeplay and nimble footwork. When in full flow, Kambli looked heavenly with his exquisite driving and square cuts. However, there were chinks in his batting armour which soon got exposed and he struggled to play the rising ball against top quality seam bowling.
In a brief yet eventful career, the enigmatic yet entertaining Kambli played some belligerent knocks for India at major tournaments and also had a century to his name against Zimbabwe in the 1996 World Cup. Many say that the maverick southpaw could have attained greater heights had he been a touch more disciplined and focussed like his more illustrious counterpart Sachin Tendulkar.
Vinod Kambli batting record
Matches 104 Runs 2477 Avg 32.59 100s 2 50s 14
6. Sandeep Patil
In the 80s, Sandeep Patil was one of India’s most explosive batsman in ODI cricket. The dashing right-hander played some quick-fire knocks down the order courtesy his ability to score runs at a brisk pace. Patil had the penchant to use the long handle with great effect and found the boundary at will.
Along with Kapil Dev, he provided firepower to the Indian innings down the order. He could change gears quickly and change the momentum of the innings in a blink of an eye.
Sandeep Patil was a key member of the Indian World Cup winning squad in 1983 and contributed handsomely with the willow scoring 221 runs. He is also noted for taking on some of the most lethal fast bowlers and taking them to the cleaners.
Sandeep is best remembered for scoring a whirlwind 32 ball half-century against England in the semifinals of the 1983 World Cup.
Sandeep Patil batting record
Matches 45 Runs 1005 Avg 24.51 100s 0 50s 9
7. Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri has been one of India’s most valuable allrounders in one-day international cricket. The tall and lanky Shastri who was gifted with both bat and ball developed into a utility cricketer who lent balance and depth to the Indian side.
In the late 80s and early 90s, Shastri formed a handy opening pair with Kris Srikkanth, providing stability to the innings at the top. Given his defensive style of batting, Shastri played the perfect foil to more attacking partner Kris Srikkanth.
The tall and lanky tweaker was a very clever left-arm spinner who bowled with a lot of guile and craft. He wasn’t a big turner of the ball, but was very tidy with his line and length, choking the opposition for runs by bowling some really economical spells. It is notable that post the famous Indian spin quartet faded away, Ravi Shastri shared the spin duties with Maninder Singh, Dilip Doshi and L Sivaramakrishnan for the most part of the mid and late 80s.
Ravi Shastri batting record
Matches 150 Runs 3108 Avg 29.44 100s 4 50s 18
Ravi Shastri Bowling Record
Matches 150 Wickets 129 Avg 36.04 SR 5
8. Chandrakant Pandit
Chandrakant Pandit was the best wicketkeeper-batsman to come out of Mumbai and play for India. A hard-hitting wicketkeeper-batsman, Pandit had some fruitful seasons with the bat at the domestic level before staking a claim as a wicketkeeper in the Indian ODI side.
Pandit perhaps was a touch unlucky as he played in the same era as Kiran More who was India's first-choice gloveman in both Tests and ODIs. However, Pandit made the most of his international appearances, being tidy behind the stumps and contributing effectively with the bat.
In the late 80s, Pandit played a string of ODIs and impressed quite a few critics with his electrifying wicket keeping and aggressive strokeplay. Pandit was part of India's 1987 World Cup team which reached the semifinals of the showpiece event.
Chandrakant Pandit batting and wicketkeeping record in ODIs
Matches 36 Runs 290 Avg 20.71 Catches 15 Stumpings 15
9. Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar has been one of India’s most prolific wicket-takers in one-day international cricket. Agarkar has the ability to pick up heaps of wickets and put the opposition on the back foot.
Given his wiry and lean frame, Agarkar surprised batsman with his deceptive pace. Agarkar's deliveries skidded off the surface and hurried on to the batsman. He burst onto to the international scene picking up 50 wickets in just 23 games.
Agarkar’s penchant for picking up wickets with the new ball compensated for his erratic line and length. A touch expensive, Agarkar had the knack of producing some wicket taking deliveries out of the blue. Till date, he has one of best strike rates for an Indian fast bowler in one-day internationals. Besides his bowling, Ajit was a handy lower-order batsman who chipped in with useful contributions with the bat.
Ajit Agarkar bowling record in ODIs
Matches 191 Wickets 288 Avg 27.85 SR 32.9
10. Romesh Powar
Ramesh Powar was a handy ODI cricketer who could bowl some off-spin and chip in with a few runs with the bat. Powar wasn’t the typical conventional spinner who turned the red cherry a mile but was a street-smart tweaker who plied his trade with effectiveness. Powar bowled a tight line around the off stump and turned the ball just enough to choke the run flow of the opposition. He used his uncanny flight to great effect in deceiving the batsman.
A lower middle order batsman, Powar was more than handy with the willow contributing some valuable runs to the team’s cause. The stocky built Powar wasn’t the most athletic of the cricketers, but he made up for his massive frame with his resilience and combative instinct to compete at the highest level for India.
Ramesh Powar Bowling Record
Matches 31 Wickets 34 Avg 35.02 SR 45.1
11. Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan has been India’s best left-arm seamer in one day cricket till date. Zaheer, who started off as a tearaway seamer, developed into a complete fast bowler adding a lot of variety in his bowling armoury.
Post Javagal Srinath’s retirement from international cricket, Zaheer led the Indian pace attack with distinction and became India’s frontline seamer along with Ashish Nehra and Ajit Agarkar under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy. Bowling with a left arm angle, Zaheer had the ability to swing the ball both ways which made him a really dangerous customer.
Zaheer transformed into a world-class seam bowler post his highly successful county stint with Worcestershire and Surrey. He added a variety of deliveries in his stock to bamboozle the batsmen and used the yorker to great effect in the death overs.
'Zak' had a brilliant outing in India’s 2011 World Cup winning campaign and ended up as India’ leading wicket-taker in the showpiece event. Besides his bowling, he was quite useful as a tailender scoring some quick runs down the order with his lusty hitting.
Zaheer Khan Bowling Record in ODIs
Matches 194 Wickets 269 Avg 30.11 SR 4.95
12th Man - Ajinkya Rahane