Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra has come up with his ideal playing XI for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) ahead of the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.
The Knight Riders will begin their campaign with a match against defending champion, Mumbai Indians (MI), on September 23.
Chopra unhesitatingly picked Sunil Narine and young Shubman Gill as the opener for the side.
“I want to have Shubman Gill opening with Sunil Narine. Some of the cricketers of his age like Prithvi Shaw and Haider Ali are playing for their countries, so he should also be given opportunities,” said Chopra in a video shared on his Facebook page.
The cricketer-turned commentator picked Nitish Rana for an all-important No. 3 position while KKR skipper, Dinesh Karthik bats at No. 4.
Chopra picked England’s limited-overs captain, Eoin Morgan, for No.5 slot and said that the latter is coming after playing some thunderous innings against Pakistan and Australia.
“At No.5 I have Eoin Morgan. He is the England captain and is coming after playing some quickfire knocks. He will be another left-hander in their batting lineup.”
Andre Russell’s batting position has sparked a lot of debate as the talisman had earlier expressed his desire to bat higher up the order. But, Chopra feels that Russel should bat at No. 6 when only six-seven overs are left to be bowled.
“At No.6, I have got Andre Russell. He can come up the order as well. He should be sent when around 40 deliveries are left in the innings. Kolkata Knight Riders are almost on par with Mumbai Indians when it comes to finishing.”
At No. 7, Chopra felt that KKR have to settle for anyone among Rinku Singh, Siddhesh Lad or Rahul Tripathi.
Chopra picks KKR’s bowling unit
On the bowling front, the 42-year-old pinned his hope on Australian tearaway, Pat Cummins, to lead the pace attack.
“At No.8, I have got Pat Cummins. He was the most expensive pick at the auctions and he also bats well.”
He went ahead with Kuldeep Yadav as the lead spinner of the side and said that the latter would do well this year in the UAE.
“At No.9, I have got Kuldeep Yadav. You can take it in writing from me that this year he will do well in the IPL. He can be a little expensive at times but he will be a match-winner,” added Chopra.
Prasidh Krishna and anyone out of Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Sandeep Warrier complete Chopra’s ideal playing XI.
“At No.11, I am giving three options – Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Sandeep Warrier,” concluded Chopra.
Aakash Chopra’s ideal playing XI: Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Rinku Singh/Siddhesh Lad/Rahul Tripathi, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi/Kamlesh Nagarkoti/Sandeep Warrier