Aakash Chopra picks combined India-Australia Test team; No place for Virat Kohli
Chopra stated that he picked the players only on the basis of their performance in matches between the two countries.
Updated - Dec 23, 2020 12:49 pm
India and Australia are two of the most decorated teams in the history of cricket and have been producing the greats of the game on a regular basis for years now. Thus, it is safe to say that picking just a few players from India and Australia to form a team of eleven or twelve players would be a tough task. Well, former India opener Aakash Chopra recently took the task and named a star-studded combined India-Australia Test team.
Chopra posted a video clip on his Facebook page where he could be seen picking the team. The former cricketer-turned-commentator picked the players from the current teams as well as the players with whom he played with and against. Chopra also stated that he picked the players only on the basis of their performance in matches between the two countries.
“I am going with people whom I have played with or against and some from the current generation. I am not going to the era of Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev as I have not seen that era properly. So I started with say 90s and till now. My only criteria is the performance of the players when India and Australia have played each other,” Aakash Chopra said.
Aakash Chopra started by picking Virender Sehwag and Matthew Hayden as the openers of the team. Chopra highlighted Sehwag’s fine home and away record against Australia. He also gave the reason for not picking David Warner before praising Hayden. Chopra called the former Australia opener intimidating.
“In my team, one of the openers is Virender Sehwag. He has an average of 41 against Australia and has struck three centuries, two of which came in Australia. He has scored a lot of runs against them, both home and away. I have not picked players like David Warner who have not done well in away conditions. Along with him, I have left-handed Matthew Hayden. He was an intimidating batsman. He used to sledge even while batting,” said Aakash Chopra.
For the No.3 spot, he picked Cheteshwar Pujara ahead of the likes of Rahul Dravid and Ricky Ponting. He reasoned Dravid has not done much other than his two match-winning tons and Ponting has a poor record in India. Pujara was the highest run-scorer when India won their first-ever Test series in Australia. For the No.4 spot, he went with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar before picking VVS Laxman over Virat Kohli for the next spot.
“Tendulkar at No.4, there is no doubt about that. He has an average of 55 and has hit 11 centuries. VVS Laxman edged out Virat Kohli as the three-down batsman in Aakash Chopra’s team. At No.5, I have picked VVS Laxman. He has an average of 49 and he has also hit 6 hundreds. Here I was a little split if Virat Kohli’s name can come but I couldn’t include him as in the last two-three series he has not scored that many runs,” said Chopra.
The last specialist batsman in his team was Steve Smith while Adam Gilchrist found a place as the wicketkeeper ahead of MS Dhoni. He stated that he was mulling over picking Dhoni but eventually went with Gilchrist because the latter ‘looks the best among the options available’.
In his bowling lineup, Aakash Chopra picked two spinners and three pacers. Former India spinner Anil Kumble was the first bowler picked by Chopra ahead of the likes of Shane Warne, Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin. He decided against picking Warne in the team because of the legendary spinner’s ‘ordinary’ numbers against India.
“Anil Kumble at No.8. I will pick 12 players so that you have the option to play one or two spinners based on the conditions. Anil Kumble – maximum number of wickets, 10 five-wicket hauls, he has been an absolute champion. Warne’s name does not come because his numbers against India are very ordinary. He has a strike rate of 91 and an average of 47,” said Chopra.
Chopra then picked Nathan Lyon as the second spinner and said that he picked the Aussie after pitting him against Harbhajan and Ashwin. In the pace department, he picked Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Zaheer Khan.
Aakash Chopra’s combined India-Australia Test team
Virender Sehwag, Matthew Hayden, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Steve Smith, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Anil Kumble, Nathan Lyon, Glenn McGrath, Zaheer Khan, Brett Lee