Indian cricket expert Aakash Chopra has named his World XI to take on the WTC winners New Zealand and decided against picking Indian and Pakistan skippers Virat Kohli and Babar Azam. Only three Indians could make it to his side in the form of Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja and Rishabh Pant.
The inaugural World Test Championship cycle came to an end with the riveting finale between India and New Zealand in Southampton. The BlackCaps, who had prior played the two-match series against England and emerged victoriously, continued their glorious run as they beat India to get crowned as the inaugural World Test Championships. It also ended New Zealand's long tryst with the ICC knock-outs after their last win in an ICC event had come way back in 2000, which was also against India.
Post the end of the WTC final, many experts have come out and shared their World XI, which they reckon can take on the champions New Zealand. Former Indian Test opener Aakash Chopra also named his World XI. He paired India's Rohit Sharma alongside Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne as openers. Rohit Sharma's rise as a Test batsman coincided with the WTC, so his inclusion comes as no surprise and so does Karunaratne's, who averaged 55.5.
"Rohit Sharma has scored his runs at an average over 60. He has four centuries to his name, which also includes double hundreds. Dimuth Karunaratne will be there along with him. He has scored 999 runs at an average of 55.5," Chopra said on his YouTube channel, reported HT.
He then slotted Australia's Marnus Labuschagne, England's skipper Joe Root, and Steven Smith in the middle-order.
"Marnus Labuschagne, of course. He has amassed 1675 runs, he has an average of 72, no one can remove him. He has five centuries, runs in the Ashes and against us as well. After that, I have picked Steve Smith. He has 1341 runs at an average of 63. He has struck four centuries and won a Test match single-handedly. That was the Ashes Test match and eventually scored runs against India as well," Chopra said.
However, he kept out both Babar Azam and Virat Kohli, given how well Australia's duo and Root performed in the cycle. He also stated that Root's incredible displays in the sub-continent will always be held highly.
"At No.4, I have kept Joe Root. Yes, Kohli and Babar Azam, you are not there. He has scored 1660 runs, of course, they play more matches, which includes double centuries in India, Sri Lanka. If an English batsman comes to Asia and scores runs, that will always be counted for much more than what it is," Chopra said.
He then fitted in the trio of Ben Stokes, Ravindra Jadeja and Jason Holder, three of the world's best all-rounders in his side. Chopra also named Rishabh Pant ahead of Buttler as the wicketkeeper of the side.
"At No.6, I have got Ben Stokes. No Jason Holder or Ravindra Jadeja. You will need Ben Stokes' bowling for sure. He has scored 1334 runs, almost the same as Steve Smith, at an average of 46 and he has taken wickets as well. Buttler could have been the keeper as well but I have picked Rishabh Pant in my side. He has scored more than 700 runs at an average of nearly 40. He scored a century against England but he is the game-changer."
The TV commentator further picked Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Stuart Broad as the specialist pacers with R Ashwin completing the bowling line-up. He decided to leave out Shami, owing to his lack of five-fors in the WTC cycle.
"I have picked Pat Cummins of course. He has taken 70 wickets. Ravichandran Ashwin - 71 in total now. He is the only spinner. Stuart Broad, I have kept him in my team for his 69 wickets at an average of 20. I am slightly split for No.11 because I have Shami, Hazlewood, Nortje and Starc. The thing that goes against Shami is that he has taken just the one fifer. I am going with Hazlewood," he said.
Aakash Chopra's World XI: Rohit Sharma, Dimuth Karunaratne, Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Root (c), Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Rishabh Pant, Pat Cummins, Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Broad, Josh Hazlewood