Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin has picked his all-time XI, comprising of legendary cricketers across the globe. The 59-year-old has named the players he has idolized, played with/against and termed it as ‘Graceful and Elegant XI’.

Starting with the openers, Azharuddin went with arguably the most-loved batting pair of genius Sachin Tendulkar and classy Sourav Ganguly. Azhar heaped praises on Tendulkar’s trademark straight drives and Ganguly’s eye-catching square-cut shots.

“Tendulkar is one of the finest players, and I have played a lot of cricket with him, and I think his straight drive is to die for. Ganguly’s cover drives and square-cut have a lot of elegance,” said Azharuddin, as quoted by CricTracker.

When it comes to the middle-order, Azharuddin went with stalwarts like Brian Lara, Mark Waugh, Dawid Gower and GR Vishwanath. Azhar termed Lara a brilliant player against spin and called junior Waugh his favourite cricketer.

“Lara is a no-defence player, and if the ball is right there to hit, he strikes it from the first one itself. I remember against the Sri Lanka spinners, he scored around 500 runs in three matches. My favourite player is Mark Waugh, due to the way he played and made batting look easy. It was outstanding to watch, even when I was on the field,” added Azhar.

The 59-year-old also recalled the time when he made his debut, and Gower was the captain of the England cricket team. He mentioned that not playing alongside Vishwanath was his only regret, and he has huge respect for the Indian legend.

“When I made my debut, Gower was the captain of England, and he was an outstanding player. No one can compare GR Vishwanath, my only regret is to not play Test cricket with him. He has won so many games for India, and I have huge respect for him,” he revealed.

The former Hyderabad cricketer further lavished praise on Kapil Dev and Imran Khan, stating that both had amazing control on swing bowling and their body was perfect in shape. Azharuddin, lastly, termed England’s Ian Botham a total entertainer.

“They are the finest players and are great exponents of swing bowling. Both had amazing fitness, and Kapil Paji was outstandingly fit till his last game and used to compete with us. Kapil Paji was one of the best all-rounders, and I learned a lot from him. Ian Botham was a total entertainer.”

Mohammad Azharuddin’s graceful and elegant XI:

Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Brian Lara, Mark Waugh, David Gower, GR Vishwanath, Syed Kirmani (wk), Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Shane Warne, VVS Laxman (12th man)

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