Former Indian opening batsman Aakash Chopra is widely popular for his in-depth match analysis and assessment of individual players. He is often seen surfacing his expert opinions on various cricket shows. Nowadays, when the lockdown is implemented in India, Chopra has increased his presence on social media platforms.
In fact, Chopra is regularly seen on his YouTube channel commenting about several topics and taking interviews of other cricketers. In the process, the cricketer-turned-commentator has revealed his best current One-Day International (ODI) XI.
Chopra went with England limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan to lead his team. Apart from the Irishman, Chopra picked four Indians, one English player, one Australian, two New Zealanders, one Bangladeshi, and one from West Indies. Interestingly, the former Delhi-opener didn’t select any player from South Africa or Sri Lanka. He did go for a Pakistani player but as a 12th man.
Chopra began the show by selecting Rohit Sharma and Shai Hope to open the innings. He even picked Hope as the wicketkeeper of the side. Both Rohit and Hope had a terrific 2019 in ODIs. Rohit was the leading run-scorer while Hope was at the third spot. Rohit has scored 1490 runs in 28 games at an outstanding average of 57.30. Hope, on the other hand, has averaged 61.13 in 28 ODIs, accumulating 1345 runs.
However, Chopra surprised by omitting David Warner in his ODI XI. The ‘Pocket Dynamite’ was the second-highest run-scorer in the 2019 World Cup. He accumulated 647 runs in 10 games with a remarkable average of 89.36.
With no surprises, for the number three spot, Chopra picked current India captain Virat Kohli. He selected Ross Taylor to follow Kohli.
Kohli finished 2019 as the second-highest run-getter. In 26 games, the 31-year-old amassed 1377 runs at a phenomenal average of 59.86. While Taylor was the second most run-scorer for the Kiwis after Kane Williamson in 2019.
At an impressive average of 55.47, Taylor has clubbed 943 runs in 21 games. When Chopra picked the veteran Black Caps player, he said, “We, in the sub-continent, don’t realize this, but Taylor has scored a lot of runs for the past two years.”
At number five, Chopra went with 2019 World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan. The 42-year old said that Morgan has introduced a fearless culture amongst the England cricketers which helped them to win battles.
“He has instilled a different brand of cricket in England. That is why I have made him the captain. I want him to make this side play a different brand of cricket,” said Chopra.
For the all-rounders, Chopra picked Shakib Al-Hasan and Ben Stokes. The commentator said the duo (Shakib and Stokes) has been brilliant with the willow, and outstanding with the ball.
“Their bowling numbers haven’t been satisfactory, which is why I feel they can support each other by delivering ten overs for me,” added Chopra.
Among seamers, Chopra picked New Zealand’s Lockie Ferguson, India’s Mohammed Shami, and Aussie speedster Mitchell Starc.
Shami was the leading wicket-taker in ODI’s last year. He bagged 42 scalps in just 21 games, whereas Ferguson was the third-highest wicket-taker claiming as many as 35 wickets in 17 matches. Starc, on the other hand, took 27 scalps in 10 games.
Chopra amazed yet again by not going for Jasprit Bumrah. The frontline Indian bowler finished the 2019 World Cup as the leading wicket-taker for his nation. Bumrah earned 18 wickets in just 9 matches.
Chopra went with chinaman Kuldeep Yadav as a specialist spinner in his ODI XI. Kuldeep was the third-highest wicket-taker for India in 2019. Amongst spinners, he was at the top spot. Kuldeep picked 32 scalps in 23 matches.
For the 12th man, Chopra selected Pakistan’s newly-appointed ODI skipper Babar Azam.
Here is Aakash Chopra’s ODI XI:
Rohit Sharma, Shai Hope (wk), Virat Kohli, Ross Taylor, Eoin Morgan (c), Shakib al Hasan, Ben Stokes, Mitchell Starc, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Lockie Ferguson, Babar Azam (12th man).