Aakash Chopra names a World XI to face New Zealand, but Virat Kohli isn’t among the three Indians.


Aakash Chopra has picked a World XI to take on New Zealand in the latter’s backyard. Virat Kohli is not among the three Indians who made this hypothetical XI.

The Kiwis put it across India to emerge as the inaugural winners of the World Test Championship (WTC). Aakash Chopra considered the performances of players in the WTC cycle to form this team that could challenge the Blackcaps.

While sharing the team through a video on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra named Rohit Sharma and Dimuth Karunaratne as his two openers.

“Rohit Sharma has scored his runs at an average over 60. He has four centuries to his name, which also includes double hundreds. Dimuth Karunaratne will be there along with him. He has scored 999 runs at an average of 55.5.”

Marnus Labuschagne, Australia’s run-machine, made it to the former India cricketer’s team as the No. 3 batsman.

“Marnus Labuschagne, of course. He has amassed 1675 runs, he has an average of 72, no one can remove him. He has five centuries, runs in the Ashes and against us as well.”

Aakash Chopra picked Joe Root ahead of Virat Kohli and Babar Azam for the No. 4 spot.

“At No.4, I have kept Joe Root. Yes Kohli and Babar Azam, you are not there. He has scored 1660 runs, of course they play more matches, which includes double centuries in India, Sri Lanka. If an English batsman comes to Asia and scores runs, that will always be counted for much more than what it is.”

Steve Smith, the top-ranked Test batsman at the moment, was picked by Aakash Chopra to bat at No. 5.

“After that, I have picked Steve Smith. He has 1341 runs at an average of 63. He has struck four centuries and won a Test match single-handedly. That was the Ashes Test match and eventually scored runs against India as well.”

Ben Stokes is the only all-rounder in the team chosen by Aakash Chopra to take on the Kiwis.

“At No.6, I have got Ben Stokes. No Jason Holder or Ravindra Jadeja. You will need Ben Stokes’ bowling for sure. He has scored 1334 runs, almost the same as Steve Smith, at an average of 46 and he has taken wickets as well.”

Rishabh Pant‘s match-defining performances helped him pip Jos Buttler for the wicket-keeper’s spot.

“Buttler could have been the keeper as well but I have picked Rishabh Pant in my side. He has scored more than 700 runs at an average of nearly 40. He scored a century against England but he is the game-changer.”

Rishabh Pant certainly deserves to be picked in this World XI. His exploits in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and the home series against England played a huge role in Team India qualifying for the WTC final.

Aakash Chopra’s selection of bowlers in his World XI to take on the Kiwis

Ravichandran Ashwin is the only Indian bowler in the World XI picked by Aakash Chopra

Pat Cummins and Ravichandran Ashwin, the only two bowlers to take at least 70 wickets in the WTC cycle, were undoubtedly picked by Aakash Chopra.

“Then I have picked Pat Cummins of course. He has taken 70 wickets. Ravichandran Ashwin – 71 in total now. He is the only spinner.”

Stuart Broad was the third automatic pick as a bowler in the team chosen by Aakash Chopra. Josh Hazlewood pipped Mohammed Shami, Anrich Nortje and Mitchell Starc for the final seamer’s spot.

“Stuart Broad, I have kept him in my team for his 69 wickets at an average of 20. I am slightly split for No.11 because I have Shami, Hazlewood, Nortje and Starc. The thing that goes against Shami is that he has taken just the one fifer. I am going with Hazlewood.”

Aakash Chopra signed off by naming Joe Root as the captain of this World XI. He reckons this formidable team should be able to put it across New Zealand, even if the match is played in Wellington or Christchurch.

Aakash Chopra’s World XI: Rohit Sharma, Dimuth Karunaratne, Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Root (c), Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Rishabh Pant, Pat Cummins, Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Broad, Josh Hazlewood

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