Former Indian opening batsman Aakash Chopra has picked the best eleven cricketers based on the 29 matches that took place in IPL 2021. The 14th edition of the lucrative T20 league had to be postponed indefinitely since a cluster of COVID-19 cases emerged within the bio-bubble. But the 29 games held provided the fans with plenty of entertainment and Aakash Chopra has chosen the best eleven from those. He understandably left out Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma as they were not at their best.
Aakash Chopra kept the openers as KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan since he believed that the former scored at least 60 odd runs consistently, playing at a good strike rate and contributing to the team’s win. As for Dhawan, the 43-year old lauded the southpaw for his maturity and took from where he left off from last year.
“I have kept KL Rahul first. He played three big knocks, which includes two nineties and a 60-odd. All three of them came in a winning cause, so whenever he scored runs his team won. He played at a good strike rate as well. Along with him is Shikhar Dhawan and he has the Orange Cap on his head. The maturity with which he has started playing, this is the upgraded version of Shikhar Dhawan which we have seen from the last IPL,” Aakash Chopra told in his Youtube channel.
Chennai Super Kings’ Faf Du Plessis followed at number three even though Aakash understands he opened for them. The cricketer-turned-commentator chose Du Plessis for his destructive gameplay and credited him for the three-time champions’ revival.
“I have kept Faf at No.3. He opened for his team but I have kept him at No.3. He has been consistent and played in a destructive fashion. CSK’s revival wouldn’t have happened without him,” Chopra conceded.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore duo of Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers made up the number four and five. Aakash Chopra hailed Glenn Maxwell for shining in the first five matches for the Royal Challengers. At the same time, he admired De Villiers’ knocks against the Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders, with the latter being one of the finest in IPL history.
“At No.4, I have kept Glenn Maxwell. He scored the difficult runs. His performance in the first five matches was outstanding. I have kept AB de Villiers at No.5. His innings in Ahmedabad was fantastic and the knock against KKR in Chennai was one of the finest you would see in the IPL,” the 43-year old continued further.
Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant followed at number six and Chopra hopes to use him as flexibly as the team could promote him if they need a left-hander. The 43-year old also gave him the gloves over De Villiers.
“At No.6, I have kept Pant. I know it is too low down the order but you can promote him if a left-hander is required to be sent. I will get him to keep and not AB,” the cricketer-turned-commentator claimed.
Aakash Chopra names three pacers and two spinners to make up his bowling unit:
Aakash kept Ravindra Jadeja at number seven, having batted admirably well and his bowling being equally good. The ten-Test veteran also recognized that the Saurashtra all-rounder played boldly and could do anything on the field.
“At No.7, you can keep Jaddu. His bowling was very good and he batted amazingly well. He played in a bold fashion and run-outs while fielding, four catches in an innings. He knows everything, he has been absolutely brilliant,” the ten-Test veteran observed.
Rajasthan Royals’ Chris Morris followed at number eight as Aakash thought the seam-bowling all-rounder kept making an impact with bat or ball and lived up to the billing. Number nine, ten, and eleven comprised of Rahul Chahar, Avesh Khan, and Harshal Patel as all of whom delivered match-winning performances with the ball.
“At No.8, I have got Chris Morris. He continuously did something or the other, either in batting or bowling. On the whole, he kept paying the EMIs of the 16.25 crores for which he was bought. At No.9, 10 and 11, I have got all three Indians. One is Rahul Chahar, then Avesh Khan and finally Harshal Patel,” he concluded.
Aakash Chopra’s IPL 2021 XI: KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Chris Morris, Rahul Chahar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel.