Aakash Chopra, the former Indian opener-turned commentator, recently picked his all-time Rajasthan Royals XI and by god, didn’t he had a tough time preparing the final XI.
One of the major reasons why Aakash Chopra found it tough to make Rajasthan Royals all-time XI is because of the fact that over the years most of the prominent performances from their set-up have come up by their overseas recruits.
“Over the years RR’s performers have always been overseas players, whether it is batsmen, bowlers or all-rounders. You can only see a handful of Indian players.” Aakash Chopra said on his Youtube channel.
Chopra went on to pick former skipper Ajinkya Rahane and all-rounder Shane Watson as his two openers.
“I am starting with Ajinkya Rahane along with Shane Watson, who is now playing for Chennai Super Kings while Rahane is with Delhi. But I have to keep them in the all-time Rajasthan team,” he said.
He then picked swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler as the No.3.
“After that will be Jos Buttler, this is where the problem is as I have picked two overseas players in the top three. Buttler is outstanding and will also be my wicketkeeper.” Chopra said
“These are my top 3 players and all are explosive players. Watson’s bowling performance has also been top-class. One thing good about them is that they have lots of all-rounders.” he added.
No Ben Stokes or Steve Smith in Aakash Chopra’s all-time Rajasthan Royals XI
With two overseas spots already filled, Aakash Chopra couldn’t accommodate current skipper Steve Smith as he went in with Sanju Samson at the No.4 spot.
”At No.4, I have got Sanju Samson which makes it two Indian players. I was trying to fit Steve Smith in somehow but only two overseas spots are left and who would be bowling in that case. So, I couldn’t include him.” Aakash Chopra added.
Chopra couldn’t pick Ben Stokes either due to the same constraint and went in with Rahul Tripathi and Yusuf Pathan at five and six.
“At No.5, after searching a lot the best I could find is Rahul Tripathi. Stuart Binny was the other option but because I am looking for a No.5 batsman, I have kept Rahul Tripathi. Even if you keep anyone like Maneria or Asnodkar, you will say he is not a very good choice at No.5. I could have kept Ben Stokes but then who would be bowling. So I couldn’t keep him as well. At No.6, I have kept Yusuf Pathan. He is definitely going to be there and will bowl a little as well.” he said.
Ravindra Jadeja, who was a member of the 2008 IPL-winning team, was picked at the No.7 spot by Aakash Chopra.
“At No.7, I have got Ravindra Jadeja who spent his initial years with RR although he is a settled player in CSK now.” he added.
As far as the bowling department is concerned, Shane Warne, who is also the captain of the all-time RR XI, was picked as the leg-spin option.
“I have made Shane Warne the captain of this team. He had done a very good job as a captain and bowler in the initial years that he had played.” Aakash Chopra added.
Chopra then went on to pick Siddarth Trivedi, Munaf Patel and Jofra Archer as three fast bowling options.
“I have kept Siddharth Trivedi. He was not express but that’s the kind of bowlers these guys have picked. James Faulkner could have been there but I couldn’t pick him as well. At No.10, I have kept Munaf Patel. The other option could have been to play Faulkner in place of Trivedi or Munaf Patel and play Shreyas Gopal instead of Warne. At No.11, I have got Jofra Archer. This is the best that I can do for Rajasthan Royals.” Aakash Chopra concluded.
Aakash Chopra’s all-time Rajasthan Royals XI-
Ajinkya Rahane, Shane Watson, Jos Buttler [WK], Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shane Warne [C], Siddarth Trivedi, Munaf Patel, Jofra Archer