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IPL 2019 Final: Anil Kumble reveals reason behind not picking Virat Kohli in best XI for IPL 2019

Anil Kumble raised eyebrows when he decided not to include India and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli in his best XI of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019.

cricket Updated: May 12, 2019 08:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IPL 2019 Final,IPL 2019 XI,IPL 2019 Best XI
File image of Virat Kohli(AP)

It is hard to imagine any team, let alone a limited overs side without Virat Kohli but not if you are Anil Kumble. The former India head coach raised eyebrows when he decided not to include India and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli in his best XI of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019.

Kumble picked his IPL XI ahead of the final between CSK and MI. Only runs and wickets till the IPL group stage were taken into consideration and precisely on that note, it was surprising that Kumble went ahead with Delhi Capitals captain Shreyas Iyer and not Virat Kohli as his No. 3.

Not much separate the two when IPL performance is taken into consideration. In fact, Kohli has his nose ahead with 463 runs compared to Iyer’s 442 (till the group stage).

READ: Anil Kumble picks his best XI for IPL 2019, big name misses out

But there is a catch. According to Kumble, the choice was never between Iyer and Kohli. Iyer was always going to be part of his IPL XI because of his abilities to score runs in tough conditions. “Iyer is young and has done really well. He has batted in difficult conditions. The Delhi pitch hasn’t been great but he’s led from the front,” said Kumble in video for Cricket Next.

The reason Kumble could not opt for Kohli even though he wanted to was Rishabh Pant.

“Was thinking of keeping Virat, Iyer and Dhoni as No. 3, 4, and 5 but wanted to have a left-hander in the side. Therefore I’m opting for Rishabh pant. Pant has shown a lot of maturity, scored runs for Delhi Capitals,” Kumble said.

Pant returned as the second highest run getter for Delhi Capitals with 488 runs to his name in 16 matches, only behind Shikhar Dhawan, who amassed 521 runs.

The openers in Kumble’s team are David Warner and KL Rahul.

“Warner has been instrumental behind SRH securing qualification. He has been destructive at the top along with Jonny Bairstow… Was very tempted to keep Bairstow but because of the balance of the side I couldn’t pick him,” Kumble said.

Kumble opted for MS Dhoni as the skipper of his side. Dhoni has returned as the highest run-scorer for CSK this season and has led the Yellow Brigade to a record 8th IPL final.

READ: IPL 2019: Dhoni shares tips with Pant after CSK’s win over DC - Watch

The all-rounders in his side were Andre Russell and Hardik Pandya. Both Pandya and Russell have won matches single handedly for Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders respectively. Russell has scored 510 runs at a staggering strike rate of 204.81. Pandya is not far behind, scoring at a strike rate of 193.

“Russell and Pandya have redefined how T20 cricket is going to be played,”

The two wrist spinners in Kumble’s side are Shreyas Gopal and Imran Tahir. Purple cap holder Kagiso Rabada (25 wickets) and India’s Jasprit Bumrah complete his fast bowling department.

Anil Kumble’s best XI of IPL 2019: David Warner, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wk & c), Hardik Pandya, Andre Russell, Shreyas Gopal, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada, Jasprit Bumrah.

First Published: May 11, 2019 17:31 IST