Former India opener Aakash Chopra picked his all-time IPL XI in which he’s kept MS Dhoni as captain but did not find a place for the destructive Chris Gayle and Andre Russell. Chopra’s list features the who’s who of IPL megastars with Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and AB de Villiers finding a place, but for the opening slot, the former India opener picked Australia’s David Warner ahead of Gayle, with Rohit as his partner.
“My first pick is David Warner, the first overseas player as an opener. You will also think of Chris Gayle, but he is not more consistent than David Warner. He [Gayle] has been explosive but Warner is not behind anyone. So, Warner as one of the overseas players. He has been one of the most consistent batsmen ever,” Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
“There is no debate that Rohit Sharma would be opening alongside Warner. He started as a middle-order batsman for Deccan Chargers, then he went to Mumbai Indians where he is still there. He is the most successful captain as well but doesn’t open always when he is the skipper. But if I make an all-time IPL XI, I will make him open 100 percent.”
In Chopra’s 11, the No. 3 and 4 positions are no-brainers with Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina acquiring those slots, followed by AB de Villiers at No. 5 and Dhoni at 6. Chopra revealed he was torn between Dhoni and Rohit in terms of captaincy as they have combined to win seven IPL titles, but went with the former India skipper because of his experience.
“Although it would always be 50-50 between Rohit and Dhoni on whom you should make the captain, but when you look at the team Dhoni has got especially in the last few seasons, you will have to opt for Dhoni ahead of Rohit and he also has the experience of 11 years of captaincy and Rohit was not the captain initially. He was groomed as a captain by the Mumbai Indians,” Chopra said.
As far as Chopra’s bowling stock is concerned, he picked Harbhajan Singh ahead of R Ashwin, and Sunil Narine as his two spinners, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga were shortlisted as his three fast bowlers. There was also no place for the big-hitting all-rounder Andre Russell.
Chopra’s all-time IPL XI: 1 David Warner, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli, 5 Suresh Raina, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 MS Dhoni, 7 Sunil Narine, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Jasprit Bumrah