Renowned Australian cricket legend Lisa Sthalekar has unveiled her dream ODI XI, and among her top five picks, two Indians – Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah – have secured coveted spots. Sthalekar, an ICC Hall of Famer, thoughtfully curated her lineup, including players from India, Pakistan, and Australia. Jasprit Bumrah, the Indian speedster known for his lethal bowling, takes the prestigious number one spot in Sthalekar’s selection.
Lisa Sthalekar emphasized the significance of an opening bowler who can strike early in an ODI and also excel during the death overs. Bumrah’s versatility as a bowler who can perform across all three phases of an innings made him the clear choice.
“I have to go Jasprit Bumrah at No.1. An opening bowler is very important as you need to pick up wickets early, but then also be able to bowl at the death when the players are going hard. He is someone that can be used in the middle overs as well, so is a handy bowler across all the three different phases,” Lisa Sthalekar highlighted in her statement to ICC.
Next in her dream XI, Lisa Sthalekar picked Virat Kohli, renowned as one of the greatest batters of his generation. She expressed confidence in Kohli’s ability to shine on the grand stage, particularly in front of his home crowd, in what might be his final World Cup appearance. Sthalekar acknowledged it as an opportunity for Kohli to bid farewell and make India proud.
“From a batting point of view, I am going to go with Virat Kohli at No.2. On the big stage in front of his home crowd, he is someone you would bank on getting runs and lifting as it will probably be his last World Cup. A chance for him to say farewell and to also do India proud,” Lisa Sthalekar remarked.
Kohli shares the batting lineup with Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, and Australia’s superstar, Steve Smith. Sthalekar expects Babar to amass a significant number of runs at the World Cup, considering the favorable conditions and the 50-over format. She praised Babar’s leadership and his ability to anchor Pakistan’s batting lineup.
“They have got explosive players around him, and he can play his own style and just eke away at his runs, and before you know it, he already has triple figures,” Lisa Sthalekar added.
Steve Smith, renowned for his adaptability to various conditions, occupies the middle-order in Sthalekar’s lineup. She highlighted Smith’s proficiency against spin, which could prove crucial in the middle overs while controlling the innings.
In the bowling department, Jasprit Bumrah finds a partner in the young sensation from Pakistan, Shaheen Afridi. Lisa Sthalekar lauded Afridi’s destructive capabilities with the ball, emphasizing his pace and ability to move the ball. She anticipates that Afridi’s experience in T20 cricket will translate into a significant impact in the 50-over World Cup.
“He (Afridi) is so damaging with the ball. What he can do with his pace and if he gets a bit of movement. Again, (he is) that type of bowler who can bowl at the death. T20 cricket has helped him, and he will have a huge impact at the 50-over World Cup,” Lisa Sthalekar concluded, rounding off her dream ODI XI.