'Has to be the best of 2021': Ex-India opener lists his top-5 Test batters this year; includes two Team India stars
- The former Indian opener listed his top-5 batters in Tests in 2021.
The year 2021 saw quality action in Test cricket. The year began with Team India breaching the Gabba fortress, the inaugural World Test Championship final as well as India's impressive outing against England in the away series. We also had some fascinating individual performances in Tests this year, with England captain Joe Root topping the chart for most runs so far, while India's Rohit Sharma broke out as arguably the best Test batter for the side in the last twelve months.
As the year comes to an end, former Indian opener Aakash Chopra took to his official YouTube channel to list his top-5 batters of 2021.
He began with Pakistan's Fawad Alam, who made a comeback to the Test side after 11 years in 2020. Alam scored three centuries and two half-centuries this year and played a key role in Pakistan's Test series win against South Africa at the start of the year.
"He has a very interesting story. He had almost left cricket, he was absent for so many years but his persistence has paid off brilliantly. He has grabbed every opportunity with both hands," Chopra said on Alam.
The former Indian opener, then, named Sri Lanka's Lahiru Thirimanne. “He has scored 659 runs at an average of 50. It is very important to note who you have played if you want to know how important those runs are. He has scored against South Africa in South Africa, England in England and West Indies in West Indies,” Chopra said.
Chopra included Indian wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant at number three in the list.
“Pant has played 11 Tests, scored 706 runs with an average of 41. He has been brilliant as a wicketkeeper; it's almost unbelievable that he is the fastest visiting wicketkeeper to 500 runs in Tests in Australia. So, he has been extraordinary,” said Chopra.
“The value of his runs is absolutely outstanding, both in Sydney and Brisbane. The century against England in Ahmedabad was also great, considering it came on a relatively bad pitch.”
Rohit Sharma, who played an important role in India's victories against England in the away series this year, came second in Chopra's list of best Test batters this year.
“Rohit has been absolutely sensational. 11 Matches, 906 runs and an average of 47.6. He played two Tests in Australia, then England at home on considerably bad pitches. His century in Chennai remains one of the best,” said the former Indian opener.
"He scored against England in England everywhere. He has been exceptional. This year can be considered as a "watershed" moment for Rohit Sharma as a Test batter."
Chopra rated England's Joe Root as the best Test batter of 2021. "12 matches, 1455 runs, six centuries and an average of 66.1. He has played in Sri Lanka, India, and at home against New Zealand and then India again.
"A double-century in Chennai, another double in Sri Lanka, then back-to-back centuries against India in England. He has been a player par excellence, let's be honest. Root is on a different level altogether. He has to be the best Test batter of 2021."