Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar played for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural season way back in 2008 – when for the first edition of the tournament the Pakistani players were allowed to feature. Akhtar picked a four-wicket haul in his first outing in the IPL – rattling the Delhi batting order.
Having observed the IPL for so long, Shoaib Akhtar came up with his best all-time IPL XI while speaking with Sportskeeda.
Without any surprise, Akhtar picked Chris Gayle as his first opener; the ‘Universe Boss’ is arguably the greatest ever T20 batter and entertained the fans for 14 seasons in the IPL. Gayle holds the record for the highest individual IPL: 175* he hit vs Pune in 2013.
The two talisman Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman – Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers – will hold the middle-order in Akhtar’s eleven. Kohli is the all-time leading scorer in the IPL while de Villiers is sixth and has the highest strike rate among the top 10 IPL run-scorers. Two absolute legends of the league and the game.
KKR’s Andre Russell and MI’s Kieron Pollard, two of the most destructive batsmen to have graced the league are the all-rounders the former Pakistani speedster went with. Russell has a strike rate of 179 in the IPL while Pollard has 147 and both have been key to the success that their teams have attained over the years.
Coming to the bowling department, Rashid Khan, who has a brilliant average of 20 and a stunning economy of 6.71 in the IPL, gets paired with four-time IPL winner Harbhajan Singh, who is the 9th highest IPL wicket-taker.
For the fast bowlers, the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ included his good friend Brett Lee, who doesn’t really have great IPL numbers but helped KKR win the 2012 title; the other fast bowler in this eleven is the mighty Slinga, Lasith Malinga, the second-highest IPL wicket-taker with 170 scalps in 122 games.
Shoaib Akhtar’s All-time XI of the IPL:
Chris Gayle, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard, MS Dhoni (C and Wk), Rashid Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Brett Lee, and Lasith Malinga.