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Aakash Chopra Picks His All Time ‘India-Pakistan’ XI

There was a time when KKR in their maiden season managed to notch up a very crucial batsman in their ranks in the form of Aakash Chopra (read this sarcasm), for the erstwhile test opener never really left any positive impression in any of the formats that he has played in.

Despite a categorical start in test cricket aside Virender Sehwag, he soon fizzled out to the legendary Wasim Jaffer and then picked up commentary as a career as he realized that his longevity in the 22 yards is of a highly questionable stature.

He did make a good impression amongst the canon of commentators and was also published in a couple of occasions in Tendulkar and Dravid’s biography.

He is now a regular member of the panel that comments in IPL and is doing a decent job barring a few controversies which he had already fanned in his short span of a new job.

He chose to have some fun and wanted to name the combined XI for India and Pakistan. These decisions come with certain repercussions as both the countries are ardent votaries of the game. However, the video in which he gave out his verdicts about the team, he clarified in the first place that the batting line up will be dominated by India as they are better in that department. The bowling according to him should always belong to Pakistan, given the gentry of bowling which our neighbour has shown over the years.

The two openers that he picked are both from India. His ex-opening partner, Virender Sehwag and legendary Indian batsman, Sunil Gavaskar was to open the batting. Though there will be a few discourses about the fact that why did he not opt for Saeed Anwar or Sourav Ganguly in the opening, we are all aware of the fact that Sunil Gavaskar was a technical giant and Sehwag used to induce fear in the hearts of bowlers.

His argument in favour of Sehwag stated that the Nawab of Najafgarh struck two triple-tons in the longer format of the game and was also a member of the famous 410 run partnership alongside Rahul Dravid.

The next two positions once again belonged to the Indians as Rahul Dravid was to come in at number three and Tendulkar to follow suit. We are all aware of the resilience of Rahul Dravid who had his ear slashed with a nasty bouncer from Brett Lee and yet carried on with his endurance and brilliance to steer India to countless victories. Sachin Tendulkar is a master of the art of batting and probably there is no better number four than the Little Master himself, an owner of 100 centuries.

Chopra’s next picks were Inzamam-Ul-Haque and Javed Miandad for the fifth and the sixth spot. However, this probably looked a little untoward as Haq was a great batsman but he has never batted so down in the order. His initial onus included steadying the ship in the first place and then with calculative risks going for the kill. However, he wasn’t a great finisher, given his inability to take quick runs and in today’s world, every single run can win you matches.

Javed Miandad was once again out of his normal position but given his aggression, number six won’t really be a bother for this destructive batsman.

The next moniker on the list was a very controversial one. Aakash Chopra was torn between playing Rahul Dravid as the wicket-keeper or to deploy Mahendra Singh Dhoni in this colossal task. Going by the keeping statistics of Dhoni and also the batting ability, one would choose the World Cup-winning captain on any given day. However, the quandary doing rounds in Chopra’s mind was once again put to the audience to judge as it is extremely rare these days to opt for a seventh batsman. Ideally, the number seven is mostly an all-rounder.

It seems that Chopra’s team would never really run out of batting as the next couple of names to grace the team are Kapil Dev and Imran Khan, two captains who guided their respective nations to World Cup glory. With their all-round ability, Aakash Chopra couldn’t resist the temptation of using the duo of Dev and Khan to run through the defences of the oppositions.

The final two men of this enriching squad were Wasim Akram and Anil Kumble. The maestro of reverse-swing, Akram and the wizard of spin, Anil Kumble could rattle the opposition at will. Though there were substantial questions about Saqlain Mushtaq and Waqar Younis, Chopra believed that these two were the best of the lot.

The twelfth-man in this line up was another destructor-in-chief, Yuvraj Singh. With two World Cups to his name and playing an extremely pivotal role in both the tournaments, Yuvi made it to this star-studded team.

No matter how phenomenal a team may be, a leader must always be chosen to represent the elites. With Indians hoping that Dhoni will probably be making the cut for the captaincy leaving Kapil Dev behind, Chopra dropped the hammer on Imran Khan. According to him, Khan was a more aggressive personality and would be the best figure to blend this team of greats.

A thousand discourses will rake the world of Chopra’s team as there were a lot of names which were excluded but once again every individual is entitled to his personal opinion and Chopra nailed his colours to the masts about his likes and dislikes.

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