The World Test Championship Final is just a week away. India is currently preparing in the United Kingdom, and they will face off against No.2 ranked Test team, New Zealand, in the event starting from June 18 at the Ageas Rose Bowl in Southampton.
With the inaugural edition coming to an end after 2 years, commentator Aakash Chopra picked his best XI from the tournament. Chopra, who has his own channel on YouTube, excluded Indian skipper Virat Kohli and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah from his team.
Aakash picked Kane Williamson as his XI’s captain
He picked India opener Rohit Sharma and Sri Lanka’s Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne as his two openers. While Rohit has done exceedingly well since he was promoted to the top of the batting order, Karunaratne averages 55 in the World Test Championship.
“At the top, I have kept Rohit Sharma. He played 11 games, and scored 1030 at an average of 64. Of course, he has played fewer matches outside India but he has played excellently at home. He had a lot of impactful innings against England. For his partner, I have chosen Dimuth Karunaratne. He has scored 999 runs at an average of 55. These are good numbers,” he said.
Australians Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne filled up the number 3 & 4 slots respectively. On the other hand, Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson was chosen as the captain, and alongside Ben Stokes and Rishabh Pant, filled out the middle-order slots.
“At No.3, I have got unstoppable Smith. He has scored 1341 runs at an average of 63, he owned the Ashes. It felt like there were two teams playing, England and Steve Smith. The highest run-scorer, Marnus Labuschagne fills no.4 slot. Ever since playing as a concussion substitute in place of Steve Smith, Marnus has been rising above the rest,” Chopra assessed.
“At No.5, I have got Kane Williamson, who is the captain of my side. He is a top class player with a double century as well. For the all-rounders, my choice is Ben Stokes over Ravindra Jadeja. He has scored 1334 runs at 45+ average along with 34 wickets in his kitty as well. At 7, I’ve got Rishabh Pant. As the championship was coming to an end, Pant has played some unbelievable knocks.”
Going further, Aakash Chopra had reserved places for two of the top 3 wicket-takers, Pat Cummins and Ravichandran Ashwin who are useful with their contributions in the lower order as well.
“At No.8, I have got Cummins. There is no doubt about that, he is the best Test bowler in the world. He has taken 70 wickets at an average of 21. At No.9, I have got Ravichandran Ashwin, he has taken 67 wickets at an average of 20. He has scored runs as well, the century at Chennai comes to mind.”
He finished his line-up with English pacer Stuart Broad and Kiwi pacer Tim Southee, who recently jumped to No.3 slot in ICC Test Rankings for bowlers.
“I have picked Stuart Broad, he has taken 69 wickets at an average of 20. He is the second English player who’s part of my team, although England didn’t make it to the finals. The last slot is filled by Tim Southee. He has been consistent with his wicket-taking and is very hard to ignore considering his record,” Chopra concluded.