Aakash Chopra picks his best XI of Asia Cup 2023
By SMCS - Sep 19, 2023 11:30 am
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Former India player turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra has picked his best XI of the recently concluded Asia Cup 2023. However, Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya are two of the renowned performers who didn’t find a place in the chosen side. However, India won the Asia Cup trophy for eighth time after thrashing Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in the final in Colombo on Sunday, September 17. While Shubman Gill (302) scored the most runs, Matheesha Pathirana (11) was the leading wicket-taker as well.

Shubman Gill
Shubamn Gill and Rohit Sharma

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra said: “Let’s start with the opener – Rohit Sharma, he is also my captain. He is in good form and played well too. He was dismissed for a duck once for sure but other than that, he has been good. Shubman Gill is my second opener. If you look around, you will not keep anyone among Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Mohammad Naim and Rahmanullah Gurbaz. So he (Gill) is not just the only one left, he is actually very, very good. You should actually sing his praises.”

However, he picked Kusal Mendis in place of Virat Kohli for the No. 3 position. He also chose KL Rahul and Mohammad Rizwan to bat at No. 4 and No. 5 respectively as well. Moreover, he also named Iftikhar Ahmed ahead of Pandya for the No. 6 position as well. However, Iftikhar Ahmed scored 179 runs, including a century against Nepal, at an average of 89.50 and a strike rate of 122.60 in his three innings as well. He also claimed four wickets in the 18.4 overs he bowled in the tournament.

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“There was a fight at No. 3. I haven’t kept Virat Kohli’s name. I have kept Kusal Mendis’s name for the simple reason that he has scored a lot of runs. Kusal got a lot of opportunities but how can you ignore nearly 275 runs. I have kept KL Rahul at No. 4. He hit a century and was scoring runs consistently. At No. 5, I have kept Mohammad Rizwan. He has consistently batted well in this Asia Cup. I have also got him to keep. At No. 6, I have got Iftikhar Ahmed. Without a doubt Hardik Pandya could have been here – three wickets in the final and runs against Pakistan but I have kept Iftikhar’s name because his performance is better at No. 6,” he further added.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav took a 5-wicket hail

However, Aakash Chopra picked Dunith Wellalage as the spin-bowling all-rounder in his side. He chose Shaheen Shah Afridi and Kuldeep Yadav as his first two specialist bowlers as well.

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“Dunith Wellalage at No. 7. It’s mandatory for his name to be there because I am unable to find anyone else. I can’t keep Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. I can definitely not keep Shadab Khan and I won’t keep Shakib Al Hasan to bat so low. At No. 8, I have got Shaheen Shah Afridi. He opened India up in the first game. He brought the team back into the game in the Sri Lanka match. After that, Kuldeep Yadav. He was the Player of the Tournament. There is no debate here whether he should be there or not. At No. 10, I have got Matheesha Pathirana. He is at the top of the wicket-taking list. Apart from the India game, he did well in every match. I had Haris Rauf at No. 11 before the final but the Siraj named storm came in the final. I have put Mohammed Siraj’s name in this team at the end,” he concluded.

Aakash Chopra’s best XI of Asia Cup 2023: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Kusal Mendis, KL Rahul, Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Dunith Wellalage, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Kuldeep Yadav, Matheesha Pathirana, Mohammed Siraj