No Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh in Ajit Agarkar’s all-time IPL XI
Ajit Agarkar’s all-time IPL XI doesn’t feature two of cricketing world’s best finishers – Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. Virat Kohli has been chosen as the captain while AB de Villiers is the wicket-keeper.ipl 2017 Updated: May 20, 2017 17:03 IST
Three cricketing greats — Ajit Agarkar, Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne — recently picked their Indian Premier League all-time XI’s.
The selections were requested by various publications as part of the celebration of the IPL having completed 10 seasons.
With the IPL 2017 coming to a close on Sunday with the final to be contested between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant, many more all-time XI’s can be expected.
Here is a look at their picks:
Agarkar’s XI: Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, AB de Villiers (wicketkeeper), Sunil Narine, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra
Ponting’s XI: Chris Gayle, David Warner, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (captain, wicketkeeper), Dwayne Bravo, Amit Mishra, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Ashish Nehra
Warne’s XI: Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Jacques Kallis, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (captain, wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Harbajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Umesh Yadav
While their choices were personal and each of them had freedom to choose whichever players they wanted in their dream team — only having to abide by the IPL’s four-foreign player rule — their line-ups did throw up interesting selections.
At a glance, it can be seen that all three have five players in common: Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga
There can be no arguments over their selection of those players. Each have featured in multiple all-time dream team lists.
But it is the matter of players who missed out, and players who many usually do not select, that irked the observant cricket fan.
For example, Agarkar excluded MS Dhoni, David Warner and Yuvraj Singh. Ponting skipped Yuvraj. And Warne omitted Suresh Raina, David Warner, and AB de Villiers.
More so, Warne’s selection of Brendon McCullum and Jacques Kallis raised a few eyebrows.
And interestingly, none picked last season’s leading wicket-taker Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who also looks set to take the purple cap this year. Another exemption by all three was of Ravichandran Ashwin.
MIX AND MATCH
What has to be taken into account over team selection in the IPL is the four-foreign player rule and striking a balance.
Each of the three greats attempted to do the same.
If the best foreign players to feature in the IPL over the years were taken into account, 10 players would stand out: Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Lasith Malinga, David Warner, Sunil Narine, Shane Watson, Dale Steyn, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard.
But only four of those players can be picked.
Additionally, it becomes a matter of picking those players while balancing your team with the right openers, a strong middle order, capable all-rounders, off and leg spinners, and left- and right-armed pacers. In the bowling department, it also becomes important to pick players who can deliver in death overs.
Streamlining the many Indian players to feature in expert dream teams, the following shortlist can be prepared:
Batting core: Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag
Wicketkeeper: MS Dhoni
Pacers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra, Umesh Yadav
Spinners: R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja
From the 10 foreign players and 15 Indian players, only 11 can be selected. Balancing the team becomes key at this stage.
Gayle, Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan and Malinga were common across each of the legends’ teams, forming a base.
It was a combination of one opener (Gayle), two middle-order batsman (Kohli and Rohit), one off spinner (Harbhajan) and one right-arm pacer (Malinga). It also saw the selection of two foreign players.
While Warne opted to have McCullum and Kallis in the batting order, many fans felt he could have had arguably the shortest formats’ most destructive batsman de Villiers or IPL all-time top run-getter Raina in his side.
Ponting’s selection of Amit Mishra surprised many who felt Ashwin was more deserving of the slot and Agarkar’s omission of Dhoni was criticised.
However, each of the selectors would have been thinking about the balance in their team. And as is the case with most dream teams, it is tough to pick when you are spoilt for choice.