Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra put his thinking cap on to pick 10 young cricketers who could dominate world cricket for the next ten years. The list comprises of three cricketers each from India and Pakistan.
Aakash Chopra shared this list of bright cricketers on his YouTube channel while admitting that he was inspired to do this exercise by a similar effort done by ESPNcricinfo. While revealing the list, the famous commentator added that it was not in any particular order.
"He will win lot of hearts. He is very talented, technically very compact but makes runs extremely fast. He is the prototype of the new age cricket batsman who does not compromise on his playing style or technique but can fit into all the 3 formats.
At the moment, he has a challenge that he is not getting a place in the team, not even in one format. He only got limited chances to play for India. But I feel he will get lot of opportunities in the coming 10 years and he will utilise them to the fullest as well."
Aakash Chopra's next pick was Pakistan's left-arm seamer Shaheen Afridi. He reasoned that the latter's ability to swing the ball at pace along with his height makes him an awkward customer.
"This left-arm fast bowler from our neighbours is quick. He has grown by leaps and bounds since his debut in the Asia Cup. He is extremely tall, pitches the ball up and has the ability to swing the ball, has good speed and anyone who can pitch the ball up will definitely get wickets. The way his career graph is going, it seems he will have a bright future."
Aakash Chopra went for the young English opener Tom Banton as his third pick. He added that the new KKR recruit's ability to play innovative shots has drawn a lot of interest from all the T20 franchises.
"He used to play hockey earlier. So, his reverse sweep is as good as his normal sweep. He drew lot of interests from the T20 leagues when he made runs initially and then he was picked in the IPL as well. You will hear a lot about him in the next 10 years. He has already shown his abilities from a very young age."
Aakash Chopra then went for Noor Ahmad, a left-arm leg-spinner from Afghanistan. While praising his wrong-un a lot, he added that Ahmad had to work more on his leg spin to achieve success like his idol Rashid Khan.
"He has a good leg-spinner, his other one is quite good. If he works more on his leg spin, he will make a big name for himself. He is very young, only 15 years old. If he is so impressive at such a young age, what will he do as he gets matured. Rashid Khan is his idol and it would be great if he can become half as good as him."
Aakash Chopra's fifth pick was the young Australian wicket-keeper Josh Philippe, who has drawn a lot of praise from Steve Smith.
"He is picked by RCB. Steve Smith praises him so much and according to him he is very talented and skilful and his future is very bright. Especially if you consider Australia where we don't know how long Tim Paine will be there in Test cricket and even if we consider ODI cricket I feel a keeper's spot might open up for him."
Aakash Chopra's next 5 picks
The second Indian on Aakash Chopra's list was the young Indian opener Yashasvi Jaiswal. Aakash Chopra was effusive in his praise for the left-handed opener, especially his work ethic and drive.
"He has a great work ethic. The sincerity with which he puts in the effort, the fact he knows about his game at such a young age, he was the highest run-scorer at the under-19 World Cup including a century against Pakistan, made a 50+ score in every inning barring one in which the opposition itself scored only 40.
He has been absolutely sensational. He has already scored a double century in List A cricket while playing for Mumbai against Jharkhand. Whenever he gets an opportunity, he has the hunger to make it big."
Aakash Chopra's seventh pick was the South African fast bowler Gerald Coetzee, who he heralded as the next Kagiso Rabada.
"He is actually a rapid fast bowler. Allan Donald has praised him a lot. He is an under-19 fast bowler and keeps it near the ears, 145 kph sharp bouncers. Because he is South African and we keep expecting fast bowlers from there, he could be the next name after Kagiso Rabada."
Aakash Chopra's second pick from Pakistan was the young Naseem Shah.
"At 16, he has done incredible stuff already. When he played Test cricket he took a hat-trick, bagged a 5-wicket haul, youngest ever to do so in Test match cricket. His run up is mesmerising, has a good action and a sharp bouncer."
Aakash Chopra's penultimate pick was India's Prithvi Shaw. While mentioning that the young Indian opener has exceptional ability, Aakash Chopra admitted that there is a slight question mark over his temperament.
"There is no doubt on his capabilities, his style of play is absolutely sensational. He scored a century on Test debut, did well in his second match as well. He was out for some time, got injured as well.
When he came back he played well even on the Christchurch pitch that was doing a bit. If he keeps a proper temperament and his work ethics are good, then he is another batsman to watch out for."
Aakash Chopra's final pick was Haider Ali from Pakistan, who is being compared with Babar Azam back home.
"He is a batsman of pedigree from Pakistan. He has already done well if you see his records in Pakistan's domestic cricket. Everyone is praising him and saying that he is the next Babar Azam."
Aakash Chopra's picks: Shubman Gill (India), Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan), Tom Banton (England), Noor Ahmad (Afghanistan), Josh Philippe (Australia), Yashasvi Jaiswal (India), Gerald Coetzee (South Africa), Naseem Shah (Pakistan), Prithvi Shaw (India), Haider Ali (Pakistan)