Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has cast his vote for Mahela Jayawardene as the captain of his all-time Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) XI. Mohammed Shami, Glenn Maxwell and Irfan Pathan were some of the prominent names who couldn't get a spot in this hypothetical XI.
Aakash Chopra put his thinking cap on to pick an all-time KXIP XI on his YouTube channel. As is the norm, he restricted the number of foreigners to four in the team he picked.
The reputed commentator's first pick was Chris Gayle, with him having formed a dynamic partnership with KL Rahul at the top of the order.
"I will start with Chris Gayle. When his name had come in the auction, no one was picking him. When KXIP picked him at the end, everyone else was laughing. There was some sarcasm in that applause. But he did well and the Universe Boss showed that he likes the Mohali pitch and that he can score runs there. In fact, he had an unbelievable first season along with KL Rahul. Perhaps the most explosive opening combination."
KL Rahul was Aakash Chopra's other pick as an opener in this all-time KXIP XI, with the Karnataka man also named as the wicket-keeper.
"Now that we have kept Gayle, we have to pick KL Rahul. What an acquisition. I was surprised when RCB let him go. They could have retained him or used the RTM but they didn't do anything.
"From there when he went to KXIP and he got to play where he should, he did amazingly well. He established himself and showed the bowlers their place. And this year he is the captain and hopefully he will change the fortunes. He will also have to don the gloves in this all-time XI."
Aakash Chopra opted for Shaun Marsh, who won the Orange Cap in the inaugural season of the IPL in 2008, as the No. 3 batsman.
"Everyone will keep Shaun Marsh in their team. His name is absolutely mandatory. He made a lot of runs in the first season, more than 500 if I remember correctly. One of the most successful overseas players in the history of the IPL."
Mahela Jayawardene made Aakash Chopra's all-time KXIP as the No. 4 batsman, apart from being his choice as the captain.
"I will keep Mahela Jayawardene at No.4. Because he is a terrific batsman and is a very clever T20 player. People may not know but his performances for KXIP were good. And in my side I will make him the captain. Because if you take the history of international cricket or IPL, I would say he was one of the finest captains you will ever come across who knows the strengths of his players and knows how to get the best out of them."
David Miller was the fourth and last overseas player to make it to Aakash Chopra's all-time KXIP XI.
"David Miller did not have a great couple of years because of which they let him go but I will keep him in my side. So that completes my four overseas players."
Yuvraj Singh edged out Irfan Pathan for the No. 6 spot in this KXIP XI, considering that he was more of a batting all-rounder and a proven match-winner.
"At No.6, it was a toss up. I could have picked Irfan Pathan who had better performances as a bowler or Yuvraj Singh who definitely had better performances than Irfan as a batsman. I am going with Yuvraj Singh, he did not have extraordinary numbers but he is a proven match-winner."
Aakash Chopra's selection of bowlers in his all-time KXIP XI
Piyush Chawla and Axar Patel were Aakash Chopra's initial two picks as bowlers in his all-time KXIP XI, with both of them providing depth to the batting.
"I have gone with Piyush Chawla. He played at the beginning with KXIP and did very well. At No.8, I have Axar Patel."
Aakash Chopra opted for a spin-heavy bowling attack with Ravichandran Ashwin providing the off-spinning variety.
"At No. 9, I am keeping Ravichandran Ashwin because as a batsman in T20 cricket he has not set the stage on fire. He has not played much for them but has done well as a bowler. So, I have three spinners - a leg-spinner, a left-arm spinner and an off-spinner."
Aakash Chopra opted for Praveen Kumar over Mohammed Shami while reasoning that the latter has proved to be quite expensive while playing for KXIP.
"Praveen Kumar is in my side. I was thinking about Mohammed Shami but the 2-3 years he has been with KXIP, he has been very expensive. Praveen's numbers are fairly decent."
Sandeep Sharma, another swing bowler, was the final pick in Aakash Chopra's all-time KXIP XI.
"Sandeep Sharma, who is currently with SRH, but used to be with KXIP and came to prominence from there is also in my side."
Aakash Chopra's all-time KXIP XI: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul (wk), Shaun Marsh, Mahela Jayawardene (c), David Miller, Yuvraj Singh, Piyush Chawla, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Sandeep Sharma
Published 10 Aug 2020, 10:02 IST