Amid coronavirus pandemic followed by worldwide lockdown, cricketers are shifting towards social media in order to increase the interaction with their fans and admirers. Some are even posting regular content in their respective channels so that cricket fans would get entertained frequently. In the process, former Indian opener Aakash Chopra through his YouTube channel came up with an all-time Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) XI.
Chopra picked former KKR captain Gautam Gambhir over veteran Sourav Ganguly as the leader of his all-time Knight Riders XI. Gambhir has been the most successful skipper for the Kolkata-based franchise. Under his leadership, Kolkata won two IPL titles.
Chopra selected Gambhir to open the innings as well. In 154 games, Gambhir had scored 4217 runs at a strike-rate of 123.88. He had also smashed 36 fifties – sixth-most by any batsmen in the cash-rich league.
Chopra showered praiseworthy comments on Gambhir and said: “Gambhir changed the dynamics of KKR. He converted an ordinary team into a champion side. So that’s why Gambhir is in the team both as a captain and an opener.”
For the other opener, Chopra went with power-striker from Australia, Chris Lynn. The right-hander has so far played 41 matches and scored 1280 runs with an impressive strike-rate of 140.65. Chopra while picking Lynn said that KKR’s tactic not to pick Lynn in the December 2019 auctions was their loss.
“Lynn is a destructive player. When Lynn is on the song than he takes the game away from the opposition. However, in the end, they (KKR) let him go which is their loss and Mumbai Indians gain,” said Chopra.
Chopra then picked Robin Uthappa for the number three spot stating his previous records for the Knight Riders. The cricketer-turned-commentator said that Uthappa’s best performances came for KKR.
“The best had come out for Robin when he played for Kolkata Knight Riders. Though his last season wasn’t impressive but apart from that, he had been fantastic for KKR,” Chopra added.
For number four, five and six places, Chopra chose Dinesh Karthik, Shakib al Hasan and Andre Russell. Karthik has played 182 games in IPL and scored 3654 runs – ninth-most by an Indian player. Co-incidentally, Karthik is also the ninth batsmen amongst Indians to smash a maximum of half-centuries (18) and fours (357) in the tournament.
Russell, on the other hand, has smashed 1400 runs in 64 matches with a mind-boggling strike-rate of 186.41. The Jamaican born has also slammed 120 sixes in IPL – seventh-most by an overseas player. The KKR all-rounder has taken 55 wickets as well.
Chopra picked Suryakumar Yadav as number seven batsman in his all-time KKR XI. He regarded Suryakumar as a high-quality yet undervalued batsman.
“I will pick Sky (Suryakumar) for the 7th spot. He has been an underrated player in IPL. Sooner or later he might play for India in the T20 squad,” Chopra articulated.
Amongst bowlers, Chopra went with Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla as spinners. Narine has taken 122 wickets in 110 games. He is the third overseas player to have that many scalps to his name. Incidentally, Chawla is the third Indian bowler to have maximum wickets. The leggie has taken 150 scalps in 157 matches.
Among the seamers, the former Delhi batsman chose Umesh Yadav and Lakshmipathy Balaji. Chopra opined that KKR is the only team who in all the 12 seasons couldn’t find a quality Indian pacer. In 119 matches, Umesh has bagged 119 wickets which is the second-best by an Indian pacer.
Here is Aakash Chopra’s all-time Kolkata Knight Riders’ XI:
Gautam Gambhir (c), Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Shakib al Hasan, Andre Russell, Suryakumar Yadav, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Umesh Yadav, Lakshmipathy Balaji.