Former Team India cricketer Aakash Chopra is back with his predictions and analysis. Since bidding goodbye to the sport, Chopra has been a household name in the commentary box and his one-liners have earned praise from the fans. With IPL 2021 to begin in a couple of days, the cricketer-turned-commentator picked six Indian batsmen who can score the most runs in the tournament.
Amid the COVID-19 score, the T20 extravaganza will start on April 9 with defending champions locking horns with the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The newly built Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will host the final of IPL 2021 on May 30. The whole tournament will take place across six cities in India- Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad and will be played behind closed doors.
Rohit Sharma will perform better in IPL 2021 – Aakash Chopra
Speaking about the tournament, Aakash Chopra believes Rohit Sharma will fare much better this season, given the added responsibility of playing on spin-friendly tracks in Chennai and Delhi early in the season. Incidentally, Rohit has looked in decent touch in the recent international matches and will be desperate to continue to good work for Mumbai Indians.
“If you see Rohit Sharma’s average numbers for the last few seasons, he has been consistent for Mumbai but his stats are not stellar or extraordinary. He’s a captain of such a good team that he doesn’t even need to score that much. However, I feel Rohit will be more important this year because the first few matches are in Chennai and Delhi. In these pitches, Indian batsmen will have a greater role to fulfill. And Rohit has batted with a lot more responsibility in the last 6 months. You know if he stands there for 8-10 overs, he’ll take the game away in the end. I am pinning my hopes on Rohit Sharma enjoying a great season this year,” said Aakash Chopra.
Virat Kohli will win the Orange Cap
However, Aakash Chopra believes Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli is the front-runner to win the Orange Cap in IPL 2021. Kohli has revealed that he will open the batting for RCB which gives him the maximum number of balls to capitalise. The talismanic run-scorer enjoys a brilliant record while open the batting and will hope to keep his good run going.
“I am predicting that he [Virat Kohli] will wear the Orange Cap this season. He is going to play as an opener and history is witness that all his hundreds have come as an opener. He’s bringing a stellar form to the IPL. Last time he just came out of lockdown, didn’t get to practice enough so was slow off the blocks. But this time I am not expecting 400-500 but 600-700 runs from him. When it comes to scoring runs, he, like every other great batsman, is selfish for scoring runs. He’s hungry for runs and will likely be the top-scorer this season,” said Aakash Chopra.
Only Rishabh Pant can snatch the Orange Cap from Virat Kohli
Rishabh Pant was Aakash Chopra’s alternate to Kohli as the winner of the Orange Cap for IPL 2021, and for that Chopra suggested that Pant should promote himself to no.3 in the batting order. Meanwhile, Pant was recently appointed as the Delhi Capitals captain in the absence of Shreyas Iyer and it will be interesting to see how he deals with the added responsibility.
“The last IPL season was very middling for him. He was also assigned a slightly different role of being watchful and that disrupted his chances for India’s ODI and T20 teams as well. But eventually, when he started scoring runs, he hasn’t looked back since. This six-hitting ability he has, if he gets to bat at No. 3, he will hit the most sixes in the tournament. He has the maturity, the skills and the unparalleled bravado to perform. He will also be a contender for the Orange Cap and might just snatch it from Virat Kohli,” said Chopra.
Suryakumar Yadav Is Currently Unstoppable: Aakash Chopra
At no.1, Aakash Chopra chose Mumbai Indians’ Suryakumar Yadav, who recently made his India debut in style, hitting his first ball in T20Is for a six and scoring a fifty in his first outing with the bat. Chopra predicted the confidence he is carrying will help him do well in the IPL 2021.
“Suryakumar Yadav is phenomenal and is currently unstoppable as well. I believe he will keep playing like this because his confidence after playing for India is ‘SKY’ high. Nowadays he’s also hitting some unorthodox strokes, but he will be fine even without them. He will bat at a good number like the last time. Both he and Ishan Kishan will score a lot of runs but Suryakumar Yadav makes my list,” said Aakash Chopra.
KL Rahul will continue his good run in IPL 2021
Aakash Chopra’s next pick was Punjab Kings’ skipper KL Rahul, who won the Orange Cap in IPL 2020 with 670 runs including the highest score of 132*. Chopra felt that Rahul will again have a good season this time but his strike-rate woes might continue which had hurt Punjab badly last year.
“At number 5 I have KL Rahul. He always scores good runs and this year will be no different. He will definitely score 500+ runs. We all are a bit greedy and want KL to play a bit quicker but it might be required and it might not be required. He could again be the anchor. He has that ability to hit big shots while being technically correct. I am expecting KL Rahul to have a good season. His strike rate might still be a concern and a talking point but there will be no dearth of runs,” said Aakash Chopra.
Shikhar Dhawan will have a point to prove
After warming the benches in the T20Is, Shikhar Dhawan showcased his brilliance during the ODIs. With the T20 World Cup approaching, the veteran opener will have a point to prove and Aakash Chopra believes Dhawan can be one of the top run-getters in the season.
“Whether he admits it or not, it would have pinched him that he was excluded from India’s T20 side after just 1 T20I. It was a bit unfair on him. Now he will be a man on a mission. He scored runs in the last IPL, then in the ODI series and he will do the same here as well. Shikhar Dhawan is at his best when he’s pushed against the wall. He will hit the ground running and score runs consistently,” concluded Aakash Chopra.