Former Indian opening batsman Aakash Chopra has picked the best Test XI of the decade. With a plethora of cricketers emerging and marking their territory in the Test arena in the last decade, it indeed leaves any candidate some tough choices to make. Aakash Chopra, whose Test career could not go beyond ten matches, opted for two Indian players in the line-up.
Aakash Chopra began by opting for Alastair Cook as one of the openers. The former England captain has over 12000 Test runs alongside 33 centuries and is the highest run-getter for the nation in Test cricket. The 43-year old did not go for David Warner, citing his underwhelming record in the sub-continent, England, and New Zealand, and instead went for Hashim Amla. Amla is arguably one of the finest stroke players in the game, amassing over 9000 runs in 124 Tests at 46.41.
“I have picked Alastair Cook as the opener. He has scored 7531 runs at an average of 44.8 and struck 18 centuries in this decade. This is a colossal Test career and his name will be written in golden letters when the annals of Test cricket are written. The second player I have picked is Hashim Amla. There was David Warner’s name as well but the thing against him was that his numbers in the sub-continent, England and New Zealand are not that good. Amla has scored 5446 runs at an average of 46 and hit 16 hundreds,” Aakash Chopra stated in a video posted on his Facebook’s official page.
The former Indian cricketer chose Steve Smith to bat at number three amongst all the other competitors in the ranks, citing that the former Australian captain is undoubtedly the best Test batsman of the decade. Joe Root, who is a part of the fab four, and is the highest run-scorer in the decade did not get the nod. Unsurprisingly, he selected Virat Kohli at number four, having hit 7240 runs along with 27 tons.
“There was a lot of competition for the No.3 spot because I could not put the name of Joe Root, the highest run-scorer in this decade. I have kept Steve Smith at No.3. He has scored 7040 runs at a whopping average of 65 and struck 26 tons. It would not be wrong to say that he is the best Test batsman of the decade. At No.4, I have gone with Virat Kohli. He has scored 7240 runs at an average of 53 and hit one more hundred than Smith. He has struck 27 centuries,” the 43-year old mentioned.
Aakash chose Kiwi captain Kane Williamson to arrive at number five, pointing out he has 6515 runs at 53, laced with 21 tons while playing in challenging conditions in New Zealand. Even though he did not play the best part of the decade, Kumar Sangakkara made it to the eleven as the keeper-batsman. The former Sri Lankan skipper piled up 4156 runs at 57 alongside 14 centuries.
“At No.5, I have got Williamson. He has amassed 6515 runs at an average of 53, including 21 centuries. He plays in the difficult conditions of New Zealand. At No.6, I have got Kumar Sangakkara. He has not played the entire decade. He has scored 4156 runs at an average of 57 with 14 hundreds in the matches he played. His name needs to be there as the wicket-keeper,” the Agra-born cricketer asserted.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes got the preference for the all-rounder’s spot as Chopra mentioned he has terrific numbers. In 67 Tests after his debut in 2014, the southpaw has 4428 runs at 37.85 with ten centuries. Stokes’ medium-pace bowling has yielded 158 wickets at a decent average of 31.41.
“At No.7, I have got Ben Stokes. He has unbelievable numbers. 4428 runs at an average of 37 with 10 centuries apart from 158 wickets. He is a proper package,” Chopra continued saying.
Aakash Chopra selects two spinners and two fast bowlers to complete his eleven:
Ravichandran Ashwin, who has 365 wickets in 71 Tests at 25 with 27 fifers, got the preference ahead of Nathan Lyon. Rangana Herath, who is his partner, also has excellent numbers, picking up 355 scalps in 69 Tests at 26.3 with 30 five-wicket hauls. Aakash stated there was plenty of options to choose from in the pace-bowling department, but he selected Dale Steyn and James Anderson, who have 439 and 600 victims respectively.
“Ravichandran Ashwin, 365 wickets in 71 matches at an average of 25. He has taken 27 five-wicket hauls. The other spinner Rangana Herath has even better numbers. He has taken 355 wickets in 69 matches. He has an average of 26.3 and has taken five or more wickets 30 times. Dale Steyn. There was a lot of competition here as well but I went with him. 207 wickets in 48 matches at an average of 22 with 11 five-wicket hauls. And then James Anderson. He has taken 395 wickets at an average of 24 with five-wicket hauls on 19 occasions,” he added.
Aakash Chopra’s Test team of the decade: Alastair Cook, Hashim Amla, Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Ben Stokes, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rangana Herath, Dale Steyn, James Anderson