The Blue Tigers’ frontman fielded one of the most complete Indian sides in every aspect.
Weeks after the Indian national team’s disappointing exit from the AFC Asian Cup 2019, skipper Sunil Chhetri appeared as a guest sports editor for Times of India on Monday. The talismanic forward made several revelations regarding the Blue Tigers’ performance back in the UAE, his relationship with former head coach Stephen Constantine, the calibre of the Indian team with respect to the other Asian giants etc.
Moreover, the 34-year-old also picked his best XI from India, while he himself featuring as the coach. The team consisted of some pretty exciting names while some of them were pretty obvious ones. Let’s have a look at the exciting starting lineup followed by the equally lethal substitutes’ bench that Chhetri picked.
Sunil Chhetri’s best Indian XI of his playing career
In the starting XI, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was the most obvious name to feature as the first-choice goalkeeper. After all, he and Chhetri are teammates at the national level as well as at Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL). Ahead of Gurpreet stood a four-man defence formed by Kerala Blasters captain Sandesh Jhingan, Mumbai City duo Subhasish Bose and veteran centre-back Anwar Ali and former East Bengal right-back Surkumar Singh. While Jhingan and Bose were quite expected to make the lineup, Surkumar and Anwar also made the list as they were former teammates of Chhetri in the national team, back during the AFC Asian Cup 2011.
In the midfield, the experienced Climax Lawrence and NP Pradeep took the stance, accompanied by Eugeneson Lyngdoh, probably a surprising feature. Lawrence was of great influence, during his days with the national team a decade ago and was senior to Chhetri, even by experience. Thus, his inclusion in the best XI is one quite surely explainable.
At the front, Udanta Singh, one of the best partners of Chhetri on field for both national team and Bengaluru FC, started on the right wing with Renedy Singh featuring on the other. The number nine role was obviously occupied by Bhaichung Bhutia, the legendary Indian forward.
On the other hand, the substitutes’ bench was dominated by Chhetri’s former Dempo mates Samir Naik, Mahesh Gawli and Anthony Pereira. The other names on the bench were Subrata Paul of Jamshedpur FC, Steven Dias, Ashim Biswas and of course the Mizo Sniper, Jeje Lalpekhlua.
Thus, Chhetri picked up his best XI with himself as the coach and preferred to field a traditional 4-3-3 formation. This side would not just be the Bengaluru frontman’s best XI but could arguably be one of the most complete teams in every aspect.