Aakash Chopra, the cricketer-turned commentator has picked his team for the entire World Test Championship (WTC) cycle. The ICC WTC final will be played on June 18 in Southampton between India and New Zealand. Both teams deserve to be in the finale due to their consistent show in the two-year cycle.
While many former cricketers, experts, and fans have picked their teams, favourite batters, and bowlers whom they feel will have an impact, Aakash Chopra rather picked his hypothetical team who he believed were good during the WTC cycle. Many players like Steve Smith, Dean Elgar, Joe Root, and Jason Holder had made significant contributions to their respective teams and helped win games singlehandedly.
Aakash Chopra Picks Likes Of Rohit Sharma, Dimuth Karunaratne, Steve Smith, And Marnus Labuschagne As Batsmen
Aakash Chopra picked his XI players based on their performances on his YouTube channel. The 43-year-old went with Rohit Sharma and Dimuth Karunaratne at the top, stating the duo’s consistency in scoring runs at the top was important for India and Sri Lanka respectively.
Rohit Sharma scored 1030 runs in 11 Test matches at an average of 64.37 whereas Dimuth Karunaratne scored 999 runs in 10 Test matches at an impressive average of 55.50. Steve Smith amassed 1341 runs in 13 Test matches at an impressive average of 63.85 with the help of four centuries.
“At the top, I have kept Rohit Sharma. He has scored 1030 at an average of 64. Of course, he has played fewer matches outside India but he has played amazingly well at home. I have gone with Dimuth Karunaratne as his partner. He has scored 999 runs at an average of 55,” Aakash Chopra said.
At number three and four, he picked the Australian pair of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne due to their phenomenal ability to bat for longer periods of time and score runs in any conditions. Marnus Labuschagne was the highest run-getter with 1675 runs in 13 Test matches at a splendid average of 72.82, including five centuries. He, however, left out Indian skipper Virat Kohli and India’s highest run-getter of the tournament, Ajinkya Rahane.
Aakash Chopra Picks Ben Stokes, Ravichandran Ashwin As All-Rounders, And Rishabh Pant As Keeper
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson and mercurial England all-rounder Ben Stokes slots in at five and six respectively. While the former plundered runs at home, the latter single-handedly helped his team win games against rivals Australia in the Ashes 2019.
Kane Williamson scored 817 runs in nine Test matches at an average of 58.35. Ben Stokes takes the all-rounder role as he scored 1334 runs in 17 Test matches whereas he scalped 34 wickets during the WTC cycle.
“At No.5, I have got Kane Williamson, who is the captain of my side. He has scored 817 runs at an average of 58. At No.6, there is no confusion here, because only 2-3 names come to your mind when you talk about all-rounders, I have picked Ben Stokes. 1334 runs at an average of 46 and he took 34 wickets as well,” Aakash Chopra said.
Rishabh Pant is the designated wicketkeeper-batter due to his stunning counter-attacking abilities and his recent form. As for bowlers he has gone with Ravichandran Ashwin and Pat Cummins at number eight and nine due to their ability to also be handy batters.
Rishabh Pant takes the wicket-keeping gloves as he scored 662 runs in 11 Test matches for India at an average of 41.37. Pat Cummins makes the cut into the commentator’s team as he scalped 70 wickets (at an average of 21.02), which is the maximum of the WTC cycle before the final.
“At No.8, I have got Cummins. There is no doubt about that, he is the best Test bowler in the world. He has taken 70 wickets at an average of 21. At No.9, I have got Ravichandran Ashwin, he has taken 67 wickets at an average of 20,” Aakash Chopra said.
He rounded off the list by including Stuart Broad and Tim Southee as his seam bowlers in WTC XI.
Ravichandran Ashwin is the solitary spinner in the team as the off-spinner snared 67 wickets in 13 matches at an impressive average of 20.88. Stuart Broad also gets a place as he scalped 69 wickets in 17 Test matches at a sublime average of 20.08. New Zealand’s fast bowler Tim Southee makes it to Aakash Chopra’s team as he bagged 51 wickets in 10 Test matches at an impressive average of 20.66.
Aakash Chopra’s combined best XI of WTC 2019-21: Rohit Sharma, Dimuth Karunaratne, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Williamson (c), Ben Stokes, Rishabh Pant, Pat Cummins, Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Broad, Tim Southee