Michael Clarke picks Ben Stokes as his No.1 draft pick for World XI

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Michael Clarke picks Ben Stokes as his No.1 draft pick for World XI

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SportsCafe Desk

07/05/2017

Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has chosen Englishman Ben Stokes as his first pick for his World XI team to play a Test match at the Gabba. On the other hand, Ian Chappell and Ian Healy decided to go with their compatriots - Mitchell Starc and David Warner - as their respective picks.

It has always been a puzzling question for every expert to who to choose as their first pick in their World XI - whether an all-rounder, a batsman, or a bowler. To put that into perspective, in a recent podcast called the “The Unplayable podcast”, three Australia legends - Michael Clarke, Ian Chappell, and Ian Healy - were asked to decide who would be their No.1 pick when drafting a World XI to play a Test match at the Gabba.

In the episode, Clarke went with all-rounder Ben Stokes as his first pick. Stokes, who has been one of the chief architects in changing England’s sagging fortunes in limited-overs cricket, made the world take notice of him through his versatility in all three aspects of the game. So, Clarke believes that the all-rounder is currently the hottest property in the international cricket.

Justifying his pick, the 36-year-old said, “I’m probably picking Ben Stokes as my first player. Bat, bowl, field. I think he’s the best allrounder in the world. The last three years he’s come on in leaps and bounds. I think he’s an amazing talent and he’s an entertainer – I love watching him play. I’m probably picking Virat Kohli as my first batsman. Smithy (Steve Smith) is not far behind. He’s either my No.3 or No.4 in that team. Smithy’s runs are unbelievable, all forms of the game, he’s been playing some unbelievable cricket.”

After Clarke picked an all-rounder, Chappell and Healy decided to pick a bowler and a batsman in the form of Mitchell Starc and David Warner as their first picks respectively.

Chappell suggested that a bowler, who can pick up 20 wickets in a match, is more valuable to the team, by saying, “I’m looking for someone who can win you matches so I’m probably going to be looking for a bowler rather than a batsman. There’s plenty of good batsmen – Kohli, Smith, Williamson, Root – any of those four you could pick anyone and they’re going to do a good job. I’d be picking Mitchell Starc first up. The hardest thing to do in a cricket match is get the 20 wickets. You can always find enough batsmen to get you 300 runs. If you get 300-350 run with a decent attack you can win more than you lose, but that’s only if you’ve got a decent attack. That’s why I’d go for a bowler No.1.”

Healy, speaking about his decision, said, "I just think he’s a scary proposition for the opposition. He’s got a double effect; his side loves him and he can make a mockery of difficult batting conditions. He can come out and peel of 50 or 100 when everyone else is battling away for 30s. So his side loves that and the opposition know it. I think he’s an even more scary a proposition than Steve Smith, who’s very, very consistent and a wonderful player – I think he’d be No.2 – but I’ll go Warner at the top of the order.”

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