Former India opener Aakash Chopra has revealed his Test team of 2021, featuring players who rocked the charts this year. Chopra has picked a maximum of four stars from India, followed by two each from Pakistan, England and New Zealand, and the remaining one from Sri Lanka.
Starting with the openers, Chopra went with Indian superstar Rohit Sharma and Sri Lanka’s captain Dimuth Karunaratne. Notably, both Rohit and Karunratne are the second and third highest scorers, respectively, in 2021. While Rohit has scored 906 runs in 11 games with two hundreds and four half-centuries, the Lankan skipper made 902 in just 7 matches at an average of 69 with four tons and three fifties.
“The first name coming to my mind is Rohit Sharma. It was a huge year for him. He played amazing knocks, whether it was the century in Chennai and the consistent performances in England. My second opener is Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne. He has also made runs which also includes a double century. He was playing well against West Indies also,” said Chopra on his YouTube channel.
To form the perfect middle-order, Chopra picked England skipper Joe Root, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, Pakistan star Fawad Alam and Indian power-hitter Rishabh Pant. Chopra made Williamson the captain of his side while Pant was chosen as the wicketkeeper.
Root has been in the form of his life this year, scoring as many as 1544 runs in 13 matches at an impressive average of 64 with six hundreds and a couple of half-centuries. Similarly, Williamson (395 runs in 4 games), Fawad (571 runs in 9 matches), and Pant (706 runs in 11 games) have all been quite consistent run-getters this year.
The cricketer-turned-commentator didn’t pick Indian Test captain Virat Kohli, citing his poor form in the current year. Notably, Kohli has only scored 483 runs in 10 fixtures at a dreadful average of 28.41.
“There was no contest at No.3. Joe Root is part of this team. He is the best Test batter of 2021, miles above the rest. At No.4, I have got Williamson. He scored a double century against Pakistan, winning his team the final. My team has Fawad Alam. It is a story of persistence that he will keep on playing whether you select him or not. The keeper is Rishabh Pant. I was thinking about Jos Buttler as well, but no one was close to him,” added Chopra.
Amongst the all-rounders and bowling department, Chopra went with Kyle Jamieson, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, James Anderson and Shaheen Afridi. With 52 wickets in 8 matches, Ashwin is the leading wicket-taker of 2021. He is followed by Shaheen, who has taken 47 scalps in 9 games. Similarly, Patel (36 wickets in 6 matches), Anderson (32 scalps in 10 games) and Jamieson (27 wickets in 5 matches) have also been quite consistent performers this year.
“I have picked Jamieson. It seems like he was born to play Test cricket. He rolls his arm over and takes five wickets. After that, I am picking two Indians. Ravichandran Ashwin – he has taken a lot of wickets. He is the no.1 spinner in Test cricket, there is no doubt about it. I picked Axar Patel. He was unplayable and unbelievable in his debut series against England. I have picked two fast bowlers apart from Jamieson. Jimmy Anderson – he took 32 wickets this year. I have got Shaheen Afridi. His performances this year have been very good. He was also taking five-wicket hauls like Axar,” Chopra added further.