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Aakash Chopra picks his all-time Rajasthan Royals XI; leaves out Steve Smith and Ben Stokes

Aakash Chopra found it difficult to pick an all-time Rajasthan Royals XI
Aakash Chopra found it difficult to pick an all-time Rajasthan Royals XI
Kartik Iyer
Modified 26 Aug 2020, 10:49 IST

Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has picked his all-time Rajasthan Royals (RR) XI. Steve Smith and Ben Stokes are a couple of the prominent names who couldn't get a spot in this hypothetical team.

While doing this exercise on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra mentioned that he found it difficult to put together the squad. As is the norm, he restricted the number of foreigners to four in the team he picked.

The reputed commentator pointed out that the Rajasthan-based franchise's star performers have mostly been their overseas players with only a few Indian players showcasing their talents, thereby making it tough to form the XI.

"Over the years RR's performers have always been overseas players, whether it is batsmen, bowlers or all-rounders. You can only see a handful of Indian players."

Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson were Aakash Chopra's picks as openers, with both of them playing their trade for other franchises currently.

"I am starting with Ajinkya Rahane along with Shane Watson, who is now playing for Chennai Super Kings while Rahane is with Delhi. But I have to keep them in the all-time Rajasthan team."

Aakash Chopra picked Jos Buttler as his wicket-keeper-batsman at the No. 3 slot in this RR XI while observing that he had already exhausted a couple of his foreigner options.

"After that will be Jos Buttler, this is where the problem is as I have picked two overseas players in the top three. Buttler is outstanding and will also be my wicketkeeper."

The former KKR player did point out that the presence of many all-rounders is one of the positives in the RR lineup.

"These are my top 3 players and all are explosive players. Watson's bowling performance has also been top-class. One thing good about them is that they have lots of all-rounders."

Sanju Samson was the next batsman in Aakash Chopra's all-time RR XI. The 42-year-old observed that he would have liked to include Steve Smith as well but said that would have left him with limited bowling options.

"At No.4, I have got Sanju Samson which makes it two Indian players. I was trying to fit Steve Smith in somehow but only two overseas spots are left and who would be bowling in that case. So, I couldn't include him."

Aakash Chopra mentioned that Rahul Tripathi was the best option he could find for the No. 5 spot with the other alternatives not looking too attractive. He could not even accommodate Ben Stokes in this RR all-time XI, considering the balance of the squad.

"At No.5, after searching a lot the best I could find is Rahul Tripathi. Stuart Binny was the other option but because I am looking for a No.5 batsman, I have kept Rahul Tripathi."
"Even if you keep anyone like Maneria or Asnodkar, you will say he is not a very good choice at No.5. I could have kept Ben Stokes but then who would be bowling. So I couldn't keep him as well."

Yusuf Pathan was Aakash Chopra's final pick as a batsman, with the Baroda all-rounder also capable of rolling his arm over.

"At No.6, I have kept Yusuf Pathan. He is definitely going to be there and will bowl a little as well."

Aakash Chopra's selection of bowlers in his all-time RR XI

Aakash Chopra opted for Shane Warne as the captain of his all-time RR XI
Aakash Chopra opted for Shane Warne as the captain of his all-time RR XI

Ravindra Jadeja was Aakash Chopra's pick as a bowling all-rounder at the No. 7 position, with the former also not part of the RR squad now and instead a pivotal member of Chennai Super Kings.

"At No.7, I have got Ravindra Jadeja who spent his initial years with RR although he is a settled player in CSK now."

Aakash Chopra picked Shane Warne as the captain of this all-time RR XI, considering the excellent job he had done in the initial years including leading them to their only title in the inaugural season of the IPL.

"I have made Shane Warne the captain of this team. He had done a very good job as a captain and bowler in the initial years that he had played."

The former Delhi opener mentioned that he struggled to find a couple of Indian bowlers who could make the cut. Aakash Chopra opted for Siddharth Trivedi as one of the two Indian pacers while adding that he could not accommodate James Faulkner as well.

"I still need two Indian bowlers in the last three spots. I didn't find high quality Indian bowlers even after searching."
"So I have kept Siddharth Trivedi. He was not express but that's the kind of bowlers these guys have picked. James Faulkner could have been there but I couldn't pick him as well."

Munaf Patel was Aakash Chopra's final Indian pick in his all-time RR XI. The latter opined that he could have also opted for Faulkner instead of one of the two Indian pacers and picked Shreyas Gopal in place of Warne.

"At No.10, I have kept Munaf Patel. The other option could have been to play Faulkner in place of Trivedi or Munaf Patel and play Shreyas Gopal instead of Warne."

Aakash Chopra's last pick in his bowling attack was Jofra Archer.

"At No.11, I have got Jofra Archer. This is the best that I can do for Rajasthan Royals."

Aakash Chopra's all-time RR XI: Ajinkya Rahane, Shane Watson, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shane Warne (c), Siddharth Trivedi, Munaf Patel, Jofra Archer

Published 26 Aug 2020, 10:49 IST
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