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Aakash Chopra picks MS Dhoni as captain of all-time IPL XI; leaves out Chris Gayle

  • Aakash Chopra opted for MS Dhoni ahead of Rohit Sharma as the captain of his all-time IPL XI.
  • Andre Russell and Chris Gayle are two of the most glaring omissions in this XI, although he did pick the former as a reserve player.
Kartik Iyer
Modified 29 Jun 2020, 10:54 IST
Aakash Chopra opts for MS Dhoni as captain of his all-time IPL XI
Aakash Chopra opts for MS Dhoni as captain of his all-time IPL XI

Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has cast his vote for MS Dhoni as the captain of his all-time IPL XI. He reasoned that the Chennai Super Kings' captain deserves the nod ahead of Rohit Sharma as the 3-time champions have punched above their weight in the last few years under his leadership.

Aakash Chopra put his thinking cap on to pick an all-time IPL 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 picked David Warner ahead of Chris Gayle as the overseas opener due to the Australian's greater consistency levels.

"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."

Aakash Chopra opted for Rohit Sharma as the other opener in this all-time IPL XI. He added that although the Mumbai Indians skipper had played quite often in the middle-order in the IPL, there was no question of the 'Hitman' not opening for his team.

"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%."

Aakash Chopra undoubtedly went for the RCB captain Virat Kohli as the one-down batsman.

"At Number 3, there is no debate. His team may not have won the title to date, but this player is 24-carat gold. His name is Virat Kohli, the run-machine."

The Delhi opener opted for the dynamic Suresh Raina at Number 4 for the latter's match-winning abilities and proficiency against both pace and spin.

"At No.4, I have got Mr. IPL. He has been a part of CSK almost throughout except for the 2 years when CSK was not part of the IPL. He captained the Gujarat Lions at that time. Suresh Raina, a left-handed batsman who has been outstanding against pace as well as spin. He is an excellent fielder and a runaway match-winner."

AB de Villiers was Aakash Chopra's pick for the Number 5 position in his all-time IPL XI.

"AB de Villiers will be there in my team at Number 5. Earlier he used to play for Delhi, then he went to RCB. Even though the team may not have won, his performances have been top-class."

Aakash Chopra picked MS Dhoni as the wicket-keeper, while also naming him as the captain of his all-time IPL XI.

"At Number 6, I have got MS Dhoni. Wicket-keeper, finisher, a runaway match-winner. There is no doubt that his name has to be there in the team and I am also making him the captain."

He explained that MS Dhoni's ability to get the best out of the limited talent at his disposal and his longevity as a captain have made him a better choice as skipper than Rohit Sharma.

"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."

Aakash Chopra's selection of bowlers for his all-time IPL XI

Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are the 2 Indian pacers in Aakash Chopra
Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are the 2 Indian pacers in Aakash Chopra's all-time IPL XI

Aakash Chopra revealed that although he thought a lot, he could not accommodate Andre Russell in his all-time IPL XI. The former opener opted for Harbhajan Singh ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin as the Indian spinner in his team.

"Ideally we should have a batsman at Number 7. Here, I was thinking about Andre Russell, how I can fit him in my team, but I could not do it. So at No.7, I have Harbhajan Singh. There will be a close contest between Harbhajan and Ashwin. There is not much to choose between the two, but Bhajji is the better batsman."

Sunil Narine is the second spinner in Aakash Chopra's all-time IPL XI, despite the KKR spinner's waning numbers in the recent past.

"At No.8, I have got Sunil Narine. So, I have got 2 outstanding spinners, a finger spinner and a mystery spinner. Although in the last few years, his numbers have gone down a little but over a period of time he has been outstanding."

Aakash Chopra picked Bhuvneshwar Kumar as one of his three quick bowlers, due to the latter's ability to bowl in the powerplay as well as in the death overs.

"Among my three fast bowlers, I have got Bhuvneshwar Kumar. As his career has progressed, he has become an absolute match-winner in T20 cricket. He has been outstanding with both the new and old ball."

Jasprit Bumrah is the other Indian pace bowler in Aakash Chopra's all-time IPL XI for the impact he has created, even though he has not been a part of the league from the outset.

"I have got Jasprit Bumrah. Boom-boom has to be there. Although he has not played all the 12 years, even Bhuvi has not, but whatever Bumrah has done in few years, most of the people would not have done in many years."

Aakash Chopra's final pick for his all-time IPL XI was Lasith Malinga for his match-winning abilities.

"And then Lasith Malinga, an all-time great. He has been absolutely outstanding, so there is no doubt in my mind that you will have to keep him in your team. And remember who had bowled the last ball in the last IPL, that slower one on target to get rid of Shardul Thakur to win the match. So, that was his quality and it is still there."

Aakash Chopra also picked Gautam Gambhir and Andre Russell as the two back-up players, one Indian and one foreigner.

Aakash Chopra's all-time IPL XI: David Warner, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni (c), Harbhajan Singh, Sunil Narine, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga

Published 29 Jun 2020, 10:54 IST
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