Former India opener Aakash Chopra picked two of his fellow countrymen in his top-five Test batsmen list for the calendar year 2021. The pole position in Chopra’s list was acquired by England skipper Joe Root, who has scored six hundreds including two doubles from 14 Tests in the year thus far.
The year 2021 has seen some outstanding quality and gripping contests in Test cricket, brought about by remarkable individual performances. While Joe Root is closing in on record runs in a single calendar year, Rohit Sharma enjoyed a breakthrough season as a Test opener.
Aakash Chopra named the two modern-day stalwarts in his top five batsmen for the year 2021. The fifth batsman on his list was Pakistan’s Fawad Alam, who totalled for 571 runs at 57.10, including three hundreds from nine Tests.
"He has a very interesting story. He had almost left cricket, he was absent for so many years but his persistence has paid off brilliantly. He has grabbed every opportunity with both hands," Chopra said of Alam while speaking on his YouTube channel.
Next on Chopra’s list was Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne, who amassed 902 runs at 69.38 with four hundreds from seven matches.
“He has scored 659 runs at an average of 50. It is very important to note who you have played if you want to know how important those runs are. He has scored against South Africa in South Africa, England in England and West Indies in West Indies,” Chopra said of the eighth ranked Test batsman.
Rishabh Pant, who starred in India’s historic Test series win in Australia at the start of the year, was third in the list.
“Pant has played 11 Tests, scored 706 runs with an average of 41. He has been brilliant as a wicketkeeper; it's almost unbelievable that he is the fastest visiting wicketkeeper to 500 runs in Tests in Australia. So, he has been extraordinary,” said Chopra.
“The value of his runs is absolutely outstanding, both in Sydney and Brisbane. The century against England in Ahmedabad was also great, considering it came on a relatively bad pitch.”
The former India opener put Rohit Sharma at the second spot in his list, stating that the newly appointed Test vice-captain enjoyed a “watershed” year in the format.
“Rohit has been absolutely sensational. 11 Matches, 906 runs and an average of 47.6. He played two Tests in Australia, then England at home on considerably bad pitches. His century in Chennai remains one of the best,” said Chopra, who himself opened in 10 Tests for India.
"He scored against England in England everywhere. He has been exceptional. This year can be considered as a "watershed" moment for Rohit Sharma as a Test batter."
The top position belonged to England Test captain Joe Root, who’s also the top-ranked batsman in the format currently.
"12 matches, 1455 runs, six centuries and an average of 66.1. He has played in Sri Lanka, India, and at home against New Zealand and then India again,” Chopra said.
"A double-century in Chennai, another double in Sri Lanka, then back-to-back centuries against India in England. He has been a player par excellence, let's be honest. Root is on a different level altogether. He has to be the best Test batter of 2021."