Aakash Chopra, the former Indian opener-turned commentator, recently picked his best Test XI of the current era.
As far as the opening pair is concerned, Chopra opted for the likes of Tom Latham and India’s Mayank Agarwal. Tom Latham has been a consistent performer for New Zealand for the past 2-3 years now but has generally gone unnoticed.
Since the start of 2018, no Test opener has scored more runs than Tom Latham. In 30 innings, the New Zealand opener has racked up 1432 runs at an average of 51.10 with the help of five hundreds and as many half-centuries.
Joining Latham at the top of the order is India’s, Mayank Agarwal. The Karnataka opener who made his debut during the 2018 Boxing Day Test against Australia, has given a great account of his skills and temperament thus far. In 17 innings, the Indian opener has scored 974 runs at an average of 57.29.
No Kane Williamson in Akash Chopra’s Best Test XI
The middle-order of Akash Chopra’s best Test XI of current times is spearheaded by former Australian captain and the No.1 ranked Test batsman in the world Steve Smith.
Smith, who averages 62, made a triumphant return to cricket last summer, racking up in excess of 700 runs at a 100+ average to help Australia to retain the Ashes for the first time in England since 2001.
At the No.4 spot comes the No.2 ranked Test batsman and the current captain of the Indian cricket team Virat Kohli. Since the start of 2018, Virat Kohli has scored 1972 runs in 39 innings at an average of 53.29. Kohli is also chosen as the captain of the side.
England Test captain Joe Root makes it to the 5th spot in Chopra’s XI. Root has scored 2039 runs in 52 innings at an average of 39.98 in the past two years.
There is no place for Kane Williamson in Akash Chopra’s XI, nor is there for BJ Watling, who is pipped by Quinton de Kock for the wicketkeeper’s slot.
Ben Stokes is the only specialist all-rounder in the team while Nathan Lyon- the leading wicket-taker amongst spinners in the last decade- pips Ravi Ashwin as the lone spinner.
As far as pacers are concerned, Chopra went in with the trio of Pat Cummins, Neil Wagner, and Jasprit Bumrah.
Aakash Chopra went on to pick the young stars in Babar Azam, Marnus Labuschagne, BJ Watling, and Stuart Broad in the reserves.
Aakash Chopra’s current Test XI:
Tom Latham, Mayank Agarwal, Steve Smith, Virat Kohli (C), Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Quinton de Kock (WK), Pat Cummins, Neil Wagner, Jasprit Bumrah, Nathan Lyon
Babar Azam, Marnus Labuschagne, BJ Watling, Stuart Broad