One of the many openers tried by India to balance the charisma of Virender Sehwag in 2003/04 was Aakash Chopra. A knee injury kept Chopra out of the side during the 2002/03 season, but he impressed everyone in the brief 2-Test home affair against New Zealand. His impressive play during the Test matches led to his selection in the historic tour of Australia in 2003/04.
Although Chopra failed to get past 50 in 8 innings in the series, he was a vital cog in India’s retention of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia. As an opening batsman, his primary function was to see off the new ball and build a solid platform with Sehwag.
Unfortunately, the lack of big scores to back his solid technique led India to look at more aggressive options like Yuvraj Singh. Gautham Gambhir was picked in Chopra’s stead after his unimpressive performance in the home series against Australia. Chopra continued to improve his gameplay and was picked for India’s A tour of South Africa in 2006/07, where he scored an unbeaten double century.
The stoic opener decided to call it a day from international cricket in 2008 and was signed by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). After failing to perform with the bat in the IPL, Chopra decided to retire from all forms of cricket in 2015. Aakash Chopra is now a well-known commentator and author and continues to share his knowledge about cricket.
Recently, Aakash Chopra picked his ideal playing XI for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) for the 13th edition of the IPL. The IPL, which happens to be the most popular T20 tournament in the world, is also one of the most betted on cricket tournaments. Each year, millions of fans from across the globe place bets on their favorite IPL players and teams. If you are new to the world of online IPL betting and want to wager on IPL matches, then cricketbettingtips.io can help you get started. We offer various high-quality guides and articles on IPL and cricket betting. Also, you can find a list of the top online bookmakers with the best cricket betting odds at our site.
KL Rahul and Mayank Agrawal to be the openers
KL Rahul was obviously selected as one of the openers for KXIP by Aakash Chopra, with the latter mentioning that KL could be the best Indian cricketer in IPL 2020. Chopra chose the Karnataka player’s teammate Mayank Agrawal as the other opener in his ideal KXIP playing XI.
“I like KXIP’s captain a lot. KL Rahul is a terrific player and I have kept it a No.1 spot in the playing XI. He can be the best Indian player in the IPL. I feel that 2020 will be very good for him, it is his first year as a captain and I really hope that he does well. I have Mayank Agrawal at No.2. I feel Mayank Agrawal will also do well this year. Both KL and Mayank are fast friends and know each other from their younger days and they help each other out,” said Aakash Chopra as quoted by Sportskeeda.
The former Indian opener said that KXIP could opt to play Karun Nair or Mandeep Singh at No.3. Also, he mentioned that the No.3 batting position could be a slight issue for the franchise. Nicholas Pooran was picked for the No.4 spot by Aakash Chopra, with the latter mentioning that Pooran is in very good form and can perform the wicket-keeping duties if required.
“I have got Karun Nair/Mandeep Singh at No.3. You can play either of them and it won’t make a lot of difference as both have had okay performances. Nair did not have a great first-class season and Mandeep Singh’s IPL numbers are not earth-shattering. At No.3, it’s a bit of an issue is what I feel. At No. 2, I am going with Nicholas Pooran. The form he had shown in the few matches he played last year and now in the CPL means that he is going to take a lot of bowlers on remand. He can also keep instead of Rahul if required,” Chopra added.
Glenn Maxwell and Sarfaraz Khan are in the middle order
Aakash Chopra chose Glenn Maxwell to bat at No.5 for KXIP. Sarfaraz Khan was Aakash Chopra’s choice as the finisher for the No.6 spot, considering Khan’s outstanding performance in the last Ranji season.
“I have to go with Glenn Maxwell for the No.5 spot. I have hope that both Pooran and Maxwell will do well. Maxwell will do well both because the IPL is in the UAE and he has improved a lot in the last 18 months. At No.6, Sarfaraz Khan. If the IPL had happened in the March-May window, then he would have been a runaway match-winner. The form he was in with his triple hundreds and double hundreds and he has shown maturity of late,” Chopra further added.
Aakash Chopra’s selection of bowlers in his ideal KXIP playing XI
The reputed commentator chose Krishnappa Gowtham at the No.7 spot in his ideal KXIP playing XI. Chirs Jordan was the overseas seamer picked up by Chopra, considering Jordan’s ability to contribute to the game with the bat.
“At No.7, I have got Krishnappa Gowtham. They have taken him from Rajasthan Royals and he can contribute with his bat. Gowtham will have to bat well as the depth in batting has been their issue. At No.8, Chris Jordan who can contribute with the bat and ball and is an excellent fielder,” said Aakash Chopra as quoted by Yahoo!cricket.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the final overseas player in Aakash Chopra’s playing XI, considering his performances with both the new and old ball. Chopra went for Ravi Bishnoi as the other spinner in his ideal XI. As a coach, Anil Kumble would be able to get the best out of him.
“Mujeeb Ur Rahman is an amazing player whom I have kept at No.9. The sort of performances he has given in the CPL and his stature as a bowler both with the old and new ball, he takes a lot of wickets. At No.10, I am going for Ravi Bishnoi. He did quite well in the U-19 World Cup and you can expect wickets from him, though he might get hit at times. But Anil Kumble should be able to get the best out of him,” added Chopra.
Aakash Chopra named Mohammed Shami as the final player in his ideal KXIP playing XI, and pointed out the KXIP’s seam bowling attack appears to be on the weaker side.
“I have to go for Mohammed Shami at No. 11. Fast bowling is looking a little weak even if you play Hardus Viljoen or Sheldon Cottrell,” Aakash Chopra concluded.
Aakash Chopra’s ideal KXIP playing XI: KL Rahul (c), Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair/Mandeep Singh, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Sarfaraz Khan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Chris Jordan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami