In the wake of coronavirus pandemic followed by a worldwide lockdown, cricketers are spending time at their homes and engaging in different activities to interact with their fans and admirers. Some are revealing team secrets or special moments while some have come up with their dream XI comprising of various players across all the sides. Following a similar pattern, former England cricketer Ravi Bopara has revealed his all-time XI.
The talented wristy strokeplayer started the proceedings with two destructive openers the cricketing world has ever seen, Virender Sehwag and David Warner.
“Virender Sehwag was pleasing to watch, and alongside him, I’ll go with David Warner, who is again a very aggressive batsman. It’s good to have him (Warner) on the side,” said Bopara.
For the following two positions, Bopara went with ace Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara and most worshipped player in the history of cricket Sachin Tendulkar. The 35-year-old regarded Sangakkara as one of the best he has ever seen, and for Sachin, Bopara revealed that the ‘Master Blaster’ was his childhood hero.
“No.4 batsman, no question, without any doubt, the best player of all-time in my eyes; Sachin Tendulkar. I’ve had the opportunity to play against him, and he was my cricketing hero growing up,” Bopara said about Tendulkar.
Bopara then picked India captain Virat Kohli for the number five spot. The Essex player termed Kohli as the best player at present. Kohli has 7240 Test runs to his name in 86 games with 27 hundreds and 22 half-centuries.
“I’ve got to go with Virat Kohli for the number five. He is the best player in the world right now. Unbelievable batsman, another good man to have in the side as well.”
Bopara selected former internationals Jacques Kallis and Brian Lara to bat at number six and seven positions respectively. The London-born cricketer hailed Kallis as the best all-rounder cricketing world has ever seen.
Similarly, for the next spot, he picked Lara and said if a situation comes when my team loses wickets in quick succession, then Lara could play a huge factor.
“Imagine team gets five-wicket down, and Lara walks out to bat. Bowlers would be a little bit of tired may be in their third spell, good luck bowling to Brian Lara.”
Among bowlers, Bopara picked Pakistani legend Wasim Akram, and spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan from Sri Lanka. Bopara also chose Akram as the captain of his team and said he has influenced his career a lot and has all the abilities to lead any team.
For Murali, Bopara opined that he was the best spinner ever. The former English cricketer said that Murali was a nightmare for batsmen.
Akram with 414 Test scalps is the highest Pakistani wicket-taker, while Muralitharan with 800 wickets in red-ball format is the top wicket-taker in the history of Test cricket.
For the remaining two spots, Bopara picked the only England cricketer James Anderson and another Pakistani giant Shoaib Akhtar.
Anderson is the highest wicket-taker for England. He has taken 584 wickets in Test cricket which is the most by any seamer in the world. Akhtar, on the other hand, has been one of the most dangerous bowlers the cricketing world has ever seen. His ability to bowl consistently at 150 kmph was a treat to watch.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play with Jimmy. He is the best swing bowler. With him on the side, you know if you give him a new ball he will get you wickets,” concluded Bopara.
Here is Ravi Bopara’s all-time XI:
Virender Sehwag, David Warner, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Jacques Kallis, Brian Lara, Wasim Akram (c), Muttiah Muralitharan, James Anderson, Shoaib Akhtar.