There is no doubt that the current New Zealand team is one of the best sides in the world, especially in the longest format of the game. Recently, they proved their excellence by defeating mighty India in the World Test Championship (WTC) final at Rose Bowl in Southampton.
New Zealand are the number one ranked Test side and can take any opposition at any time irrespective of the conditions.
Taking cognizance of the Black Caps’ domination in the red-ball format, former India opener Aakash Chopra has picked a World Test XI that can take on the current champions of WTC. Chopra paid attention to the top performers of the WTC cycle 2019-21 and selected a group of players who did an excellent job for their respective countries.
Starting with the openers, Chopra went with India’s Rohit Sharma and Dimuth Karunaratne of Sri Lanka. Rohit was only the sixth individual to reach the 1000-run mark in the WTC cycle. He scored 1094 runs in 12 matches. On the other hand, Karunaratne fell only one run short of reaching the 1,000 run benchmark in WTC. He made 999 runs in 10 games.
When it comes to the middle-order, the cricketer-turned-commentator picked the likes of Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Root, and Steve Smith. All three players were the top-three leading run-getter in WTC phase I. While Labuschagne scored 1675 runs in 13 matches, Root made 1660 in 20 games. Similarly, Smith hit 1341 runs in 13 fixtures.
Interestingly, Chopra did not pick Indian captain Virat Kohli and named Root as his team’s captain. Moreover, the former Delhi cricketer left out the likes of Kane Williamson and Babar Azam from his XI. Kohli scored 934 runs in 15 matches, and Babar made 932 in 10 games. Williamson followed the duo by scoring 918 fin 10 fixtures.
“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, including double centuries in India, Sri Lanka,” said Chopra on his YouTube channel.
Chopra gave wicketkeeping duties to Indian lad Rishabh Pant, and for the all-rounder position, he went with England star Ben Stokes.
Chopra also explained why he picked Stokes over Ravindra Jadeja and Jason Holder. He said: “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.”
Among the bowlers, the 43-year-old named Ravichandran Ashwin, Pat Cummins, Stuart Broad and Josh Hazlewood.
Ashwin was the leading wicket-taker in the WTC cycle, picking up as many as 71 scalps in 14 matches. On the other hand, Cummins and Broad bagged 70 and 69 wickets, respectively. Similarly, Hazlewood took 48 scalps in the two-years period.
Aakash Chopra’s World Test XI:
Joe Root (c), Rohit Sharma, Dimuth Karunaratne, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pat Cummins, Stuart Broad, Josh Hazlewood.
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