No place for Ben Stokes or Steve Smith in Chopra’s all-time RR XI.
The popular broadcaster also made some fascinating inclusion and omission in his lineup.
Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has had a growing popularity while dispensing his deep insights of the game.
Amidst lull in the cricketing world, Chopra took the onus on himself to keep his followers engaged by picking his best XI from various tournaments, franchises, and different formats of the game.
Now, with the Indian Premier League (IPL) around the corner, the cricketer-turned-commentator has picked the best XI fielded by Rajasthan Royals (RR), in the last twelve seasons of the competition.
Over the years, the Royals went on to show that a franchise doesn’t need a star-studded side with exorbitant contracts to win an IPL title.
The inaugural edition of IPL was won by the Shane Warne-led Royals side, back in 2008. Since then, the Jaipur-based franchise has competed well in each season, living up to the ‘underdog’ tag.
However, in recent years, fans have witnessed a shift in RR’s ideology, with the recruitment of top players having lucrative contracts.
“I am starting with Ajinkya Rahane along with Shane Watson, who is now playing for Chennai Super Kings while Rahane is with Delhi. But I have to keep them in the all-time Rajasthan team,” Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
“After that will be Jos Buttler, this is where the problem is as I have picked two overseas players in the top three. Buttler is outstanding and will also be my wicketkeeper. These are my top 3 players and all are explosive players. Watson’s bowling performance has also been top-class. One thing good about them is that they have lots of all-rounders.”
”At No.4, I have got Sanju Samson which makes it two Indian players. I was trying to fit Steve Smith in somehow but only two overseas spots are left and who would be bowling in that case. So, I couldn’t include him.”
Interestingly, Chopra had no place for Ben Stokes and Steve Smith in his all-time RR XI.
“At No.5, after searching a lot the best I could find is Rahul Tripathi. Stuart Binny was the other option but because I am looking for a No.5 batsman, I have kept Rahul Tripathi. Even if you keep anyone like Maneria or Asnodkar, you will say he is not a very good choice at No.5. I could have kept Ben Stokes but then who would be bowling. So I couldn’t keep him as well. At No.6, I have kept Yusuf Pathan. He is definitely going to be there and will bowl a little as well.”
“At No.7, I have got Ravindra Jadeja who spent his initial years with RR although he is a settled player in CSK now. I have made Shane Warne the captain of this team. He had done a very good job as a captain and bowler in the initial years that he had played.”
“I have kept Siddharth Trivedi. He was not express but that’s the kind of bowlers these guys have picked. James Faulkner could have been there but I couldn’t pick him as well. At No.10, I have kept Munaf Patel. The other option could have been to play Faulkner in place of Trivedi or Munaf Patel and play Shreyas Gopal instead of Warne. At No.11, I have got Jofra Archer. This is the best that I can do for Rajasthan Royals,” Chopra concluded.
Here’s Chopra’s all-time Rajasthan Royals XI:
Ajinkya Rahane, Shane Watson, Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shane Warne (c), Siddarth Trivedi, Munaf Patel, Jofra Archer