Aakash Chopra has picked the greatest Test batsman of the 21st century. He shared his choice through a video on his YouTube channel.
The cricketer-turned-commentator started the exercise by naming six batsmen as contenders for the accolade. Modern-day greats like Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Joe Root failed to make Aakash Chopra's list.
Rahul Dravid, who scored 9966 at an average of 52 in the 124 matches he played, which includes 28 centuries, was the first contender named by Aakash Chopra. He said:
"Let me start with Rahul Dravid. He is a colossal, he is a giant. He is remembered for some iconic moments, Rawalpindi - 270, Adelaide - double century and 70-odd, Eden Gardens - an equally important knock as Laxman. He is the only Indian to score four centuries in consecutive innings, out of which three came in England."
The former Indian opener picked South African great Jacques Kallis next, who scored 10660 runs in 123 matches at an average of 59, which included 38 centuries. Aakash Chopra observed:
"After that, Jacques Kallis, he is another giant. The best thing about him is that batting is really tough in South Africa. He has an average of 62 at home and 60 in Asia. He has scored 1000+ runs in a year in Tests five times."
Ricky Ponting, who scored 10968 in 130 matches at an average of 53, with 34 centuries, was Aakash Chopra's third pick. Chopra highlighted:
"Ricky Ponting, third-highest run-scorer in the 21st century. Average is 60 at home with 19 centuries. He has also scored 1000+ runs in a year in Tests on five occasions."
However, Aakash Chopra did point out that Ponting's average of 40 in Asia and 29 in India was a huge blip in his illustrious career.
Aakash Chopra's other three contenders for the greatest Test batsman of the 21st century
Sri Lanka's wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara, with 12226 runs in 130 matches at an average of 58 along with 38 centuries, was Aakash Chopra's fourth choice. The former Indian cricketer added:
"Kumar Sangakkara, he is a left-handed genius. Second-highest run-scorer in the 21st century. He has an average of 49 in SENA countries, 62.5 at home. He has also scored 1000+ runs in a year in Tests five times."
The 43-year-old named Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 9505 runs in 121 matches at an average of 51, including 27 centuries, as another batting great of the 21st century. Aakash Chopra elaborated:
"Sachin Tendulkar - average of 58 in Australia, average of 55 in South Africa, average of 45 in England. Away average and hundreds are more than those at home. He just carried the team on his shoulders for a long time although things started to change in the 21st century."
Former England skipper Alastair Cook, who scored 12472 runs at an average of 45 with 33 centuries, was Aakash Chopra's final pick. He reasoned:
"The sixth name I have kept is Alastair Cook, the highest run-scorer in the 21st century. It is slightly difficult as an opener in England. He has an average of 48 in Australia and 51 in India. He has also scored 1000+ runs in a year in Tests on five occasions."
While acknowledging that it was a very difficult call, Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that he would be going with a slightly maybe unpopular choice of Jacques Kallis as the greatest Test batsman of the 21st century.