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Aakash Chopra picks his Test XI of the decade; only two Indians find a place

Virat Kohli is one of just two Indians in Aakash Chopra
Virat Kohli is one of just two Indians in Aakash Chopra's Test team of the decade
Kartik Iyer
Modified 15 Dec 2020

Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has picked his Test team of the decade in a video shared on his Facebook page. Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin are the only two Indians to make this hypothetical XI.

Aakash Chopra picked Alastair Cook as his first opener and termed him one of the greats of the game.

"I have picked Alastair Cook as the opener. He has scored 7531 runs at an average of 44.8 and struck 18 centuries in this decade. This is a colossal Test career and his name will be written in golden letters when the annals of Test cricket are written."

Hashim Amla pipped David Warner to the second opener's spot in the reputed commentator's Test team of the decade.

"The second player I have picked is Hashim Amla. There was David Warner's name as well but the thing against him was that his numbers in the sub-continent, England and New Zealand are not that good. Amla has scored 5446 runs at an average of 46 and hit 16 hundreds."

Aakash Chopra opted for Steve Smith ahead of Joe Root as the No. 3 batsman, considering the Australian's outstanding record.

"There was a lot of competition for the No.3 spot because I could not put the name of Joe Root, the highest run-scorer in this decade. I have kept Steve Smith at No.3. He has scored 7040 runs at a whopping average of 65 and struck 26 tons. It would not be wrong to say that he is the best Test batsman of the decade."

Indian captain Virat Kohli was picked by Aakash Chopra as the No. 4 batsman.

"At No.4, I have gone with Virat Kohli. He has scored 7240 runs at an average of 53 and hit one more hundred than Smith. He has struck 27 centuries."

The final specialist batsman's spot in Aakash Chopra's team was taken by Kane Williamson.

"At No.5, I have got Williamson. He has amassed 6515 runs at an average of 53, including 21 centuries. He plays in the difficult conditions of New Zealand."

Kumar Sangakkara was the wicketkeeper-batsman chosen by Aakash Chopra, even though the Sri Lankan did not play in the latter part of the decade.

"At No.6, I have got Kumar Sangakkara. He has not played the entire decade. He has scored 4156 runs at an average of 57 with 14 hundreds in the matches he played. His name needs to be there as the wicket-keeper."

Ben Stokes got the all-rounder's berth in Aakash Chopra's chosen Test XI.

"At No.7, I have got Ben Stokes. He has unbelievable numbers. 4428 runs at an average of 37 with 10 centuries apart from 158 wickets. He is a proper package."

Aakash Chopra's picks of specialist bowlers in his Test XI of the decade

Ravichandran Ashwin is the other Indian in Aakash Chopra
Ravichandran Ashwin is the other Indian in Aakash Chopra's Test team of the decade

Aakash Chopra chose Ravichandran Ashwin ahead of Nathan Lyon as the off-spinner in his Test team of the decade.

"Ravichdran Ashwin, 365 wickets in 71 matches at an average of 25. He has taken 27 five-wicket hauls."

The 43-year-old went with left-arm spinner Rangana Herath as the other spin bowler in his team.

"The other spinner Rangana Herath has even better numbers. He has taken 355 wickets in 69 matches. He has an average of 26.3 and has taken five or more wickets 30 times."

The mercurial Dale Steyn was the first pacer picked by Aakash Chopra in this Test XI.

"Dale Steyn. There was a lot of competition here as well but I went with him. 207 wickets in 48 matches at an average of 22 with 11 five-wicket hauls."

Aakash Chopra rounded off his bowling attack by picking James Anderson as the other swing bowler.

"And then James Anderson. He has taken 395 wickets at an average of 24 with five-wicket hauls on 19 occasions."

Aakash Chopra's Test team of the decade: Alastair Cook, Hashim Amla, Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Ben Stokes, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rangana Herath, Dale Steyn, James Anderson

Published 15 Dec 2020, 12:30 IST
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