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IPL 2021: Aakash Chopra picks his best XI of the tournament; only 4 players from India's World Cup squad make the grade

Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad are the two openers chosen by Aakash Chopra [P/C: iplt20.com]
Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad are the two openers chosen by Aakash Chopra [P/C: iplt20.com]
Kartik Iyer
ANALYST

Aakash Chopra has picked his best XI of IPL 2021. Only four players from India's 15-member World Cup squad made it to his chosen team.

While highlighting that he will restrict himself to four overseas players as per the norm, the cricketer-turned-commentator's final XI comprises only three foreigners. Aakash Chopra added that he has also tried to pick players predominantly based on their batting positions.

While sharing the XI through a video on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra picked the top two run-getters of the tournament as his openers. He elaborated:

"Let me start with the two openers who lifted the trophy - Ruturaj with Faf. The special thing about Ruturaj is that he has the skills, temperament, maturity beyond his age. Along with him is Faf - cometh the hour, cometh the man. They have the setting that if one gets out, the other scores runs."

The former India cricketer picked KL Rahul as the wicketkeeper-batter at the no3 spot. Aakash Chopra said:

"Yes, it is against the principles to play players at a different number. I have not taken the name of Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Venkatesh Iyer - but I have picked KL Rahul. He is my wicket-keeper and he can bat anywhere."

Australian hard-hitter Glenn Maxwell got Aakash Chopra's vote as the no.4 batter. The former Indian opener observed:

At No.4, the other name for consistency - Glenn Maxwell. We had never thought this but it happened repeatedly throughout the season. Fast bowling, spin bowling, swing bowling - he has been absolutely exceptional. Because of him, your team reached the last four.

Rahul Tripathi was picked ahead of Rishabh Pant to bat at no.5. Aakash Chopra reasoned:

"I have taken a punt at No.5. I was thinking about Rishabh Pant but his strike rate has been very low this time. I am not going with reputation, I am going with Rahul Tripathi. He played very well, plays everywhere, I like him a lot and he is a very big reason for KKR playing the final."

Shimron Hetmyer pipped fellow West Indian Kieron Pollard for the no.6 position. Aakash Chopra explained:

At No.6, I am going with Shimron Hetmyer. There was a toss-up between him and Pollard because it is good to get some bowling from the No.6. I thought we can get Maxwell to bowl. I have picked Hetmyer, whose strike rate was touching the sky and he hits huge sixes.
Shimron Hetmyer all monstrous sixes in IPL ๐Ÿ6๏ธโƒฃ@SHetmyer #ShimronHetmyerhttps://t.co/BBaiEobdUU

Chopra highlighted that Hetmyer is the only player from the Delhi Capitals (DC), the IPL 2021 table-toppers, in his chosen team. Avesh Khan also failed to make the cut.


Aakash Chopra picks of bowlers in his best IPL 2021 XI

Ravindra Jadeja is one of three CSK players picked by Aakash Chopra [P/C: iplt20.com]
Ravindra Jadeja is one of three CSK players picked by Aakash Chopra [P/C: iplt20.com]

Aakash Chopra picked Ravindra Jadeja as the bowling all-rounder. He was effusive in his praise for the CSK all-rounder:

"At No.7, I have picked Ravindra Jadeja. If someone has played like a proper all-rounder this year, that is Jadeja, whether with bat or ball. He absolutely smashed Harshal Patel, Mustafizur and Prasidh Krishna with the bat. He has performed consistently in the bowling and his fielding is outstanding."

Yuzvendra Chahal's exploits in the UAE earned him a spot as the leg-spinner. Aakash Chopra elaborated:

"After that, I have picked Yuzi Chahal. His first half was extremely ordinary but he changed everything in the second half. He forced the selectors to think of picking him. It is beyond me that he is not part of India's World Cup squad."

Aakash Chopra picked Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) Varun Chakravarthy as the third spinner in his three-pronged spin attack. He explained:

"I have picked Varun Chakravarthy. So I have got a mystery spinner, Yuzi Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja. Chakravarthy was very very good throughout the season, economical, wicket-taking."

Purple Cap-winner Harshal Patel certainly made it to the former KKR player's chosen XI. Aakash Chopra said:

"Harshal Patel - he has to be there. 32 wickets - this is incredible, no one would have thought that an uncapped Indian will pick so many wickets. Boy was actually outstanding, he can bat okay as well - so can go ahead of Chahal and Chakravarthy."
Harshal Patel is the first player to hold the Purple Cap or Orange Cap throughout an IPL season unchanged.#IPL2021 @atombigg_cric

Aakash Chopra chose Jasprit Bumrah ahead of Lockie Ferguson and Anrich Nortje as his second pacer. He stated:

"I was thinking about Ferguson and Nortje for the eleventh player. But Ferguson was hit a lot in the final. So I have picked Jasprit Boom Boom Bumrah."

Aakash Chopra's best XI of IPL 2021: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, KL Rahul (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Rahul Tripathi, Shimron Hetmyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy, Harshal Patel, Jasprit Bumrah


Edited by Samya Majumdar
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