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Aakash Chopra picks his T20I XI of the decade; leaves out Dhoni, Gayle and De Villiers

Aakash Chopra picked Rohit Sharma as one of the openers in his T20I team of the decade
Aakash Chopra picked Rohit Sharma as one of the openers in his T20I team of the decade
Kartik Iyer
ANALYST
Modified 14 Dec 2020
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Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has picked his T20I team of the decade in a video shared on his Facebook page. Some prominent players like MS Dhoni, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and David Warner failed to make this hypothetical XI.

Aakash Chopra started by pointing out it is an arduous task to pick the team, as some renowned T20 players like Chris Gayle have not played enough international cricket.

"It was a very difficult exercise because a lot of players have not even played 50 matches for their team in the last 10 years. That happened with a lot of West Indians. The team is good, they only come together to lift trophies. For example, Chris Gayle does not have even 40 matches."

The reputed commentator's first pick was Rohit Sharma, and he highlighted the Indian opener's excellent record in the shortest format of the game.

"Let's start with Rohit Sharma as the opener. He has scored 2438 runs with an average of 32 and an outstanding strike rate of 140. It is generally said that anyone who has a combination of average and strike rate above 170 is a good T20 player. Rohit Sharma is not good, he is an outstanding T20 player and is a runaway match-winner."

Aaron Finch pipped Chris Gayle and David Warner for the second opener's spot in Aakash Chopra's T20I team of the decade.

"Along with him, I have picked another right-handed batsman in Aaron Finch. He is known for his Finch-hitting. He has scored 2149 runs at an average of 38 and hold your breath, he has a strike rate of 154. There could have been Chris Gayle and David Warner but can you put either of them ahead of these two."

Aakash Chopra named Virat Kohli as the No. 3 batsman. He said that he considered KL Rahul and Babar Azam for the top-order spots in this XI but could not include them.

"Then Virat the run-machine. He is placed at the top of the list of highest run-scorers in T20Is in the last 10 years. He has scored 2902 runs at a very healthy average of 50 and a strike rate of 138. I thought about KL Rahul and Babar Azam but how many players will play in the top-order."
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Shakib Al Hasan made it to Aakash Chopra's T20I XI of the decade for his all-round capabilities.

"Then I have picked Shakib Al Hasan. He has two skills and you want that when you make a good T20 team, there should be at least one bowler in the top 6 who can give the overs. His name will feature in the top 5 wicket-takers of the decade. He has scored 1360 runs, taken 75 wickets and doesn't even give 7 runs an over."

Jos Buttler edged out MS Dhoni for the wicket-keeper's position in Aakash Chopra's team.

"At No.5, I have got Jos Buttler. I was really split down the middle between him and Dhoni. He has scored 1551 runs at a strike rate of 140. He is a game-changer, let's be honest."

Aakash Chopra picked Glenn Maxwell to bat at No. 6. The 43-year-old highlighted that the Australian has an excellent record in international cricket.

"Then I am picking Glenn Maxwell. He is a big show when he plays for Australia, forget about other places. He has scored more than 1600 runs at an average of 33 with a strike rate of 158. He will give few overs as well."

Aakash Chopra cast his vote for Kieron Pollard ahead of Andre Russell, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik for the final all-rounder's position.

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"After that I have picked Kieron Pollard. I thought about AB de Villiers but you can't have him at No.7. I thought about Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik as well but I picked Pollard because he is the best option at No.7. I thought about Andre Russell but he has not done much in international cricket."

Aakash Chopra's picks of specialist bowlers in his T20I team of the decade

Rashid Khan is the only specialist spinner in Aakash Chopra
Rashid Khan is the only specialist spinner in Aakash Chopra's T20I team of the decade

Aakash Chopra picked Rashid Khan as the sole specialist spinner and highlighted the Afghanistan leg-spinner's outstanding record in T20I cricket.

"At No.8, I have got Rashid Khan. He has not played 50 matches but has 89 wickets at an average of 12.6 and an economy of 6.14. He is just a runaway sensational T20 champion."

Jasprit Bumrah was the first seamer picked by Aakash Chopra, with the latter highlighting that the Indian spearhead is both economical and penetrative.

"Then Bumrah. He has taken 59 wickets in 50 matches at an average of 20 and an economy rate of 6.66. So, he is frugal and a wicket-taker and bowls at different stages of the game."

Lasith Malinga deservingly made it to Aakash Chopra's T20I team of the decade.

"You will have to keep Lasith Malinga in the team. 72 wickets at an average of 21 although he is slightly expensive at 7.41. He is also an important cog."

Mitchell Starc lends the left-arm pacer's variety in Aakash Chopra's chosen team.

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"Last but not the least, I have gone with Mitchell Starc. To be fair, he has played only 35 matches but I couldn't get another bowler like him. 47 wickets at 19.38 with an economy of 6.95. I made an exception for him as he is the only player I have picked who has played less than 40 matches."

Aakash Chopra's T20I team of the decade: Rohit Sharma, Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli, Shakib Al Hasan, Jos Buttler (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Kieron Pollard, Rashid Khan, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Starc


Published 14 Dec 2020, 12:27 IST
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