Former Mumbai Indians head coach Ricky Ponting has declared his all-time IPL XI.
The legendary cricketer has picked up the team based on the experience he had during his time in the league. A few days ago, Ponting had already come up with his favourite IPL XI. However, unlike that team, which had the overseas rule relaxed, this XI has been picked just as any other IPL side is chosen with only our foreigners allowed in the team.
Ponting chose for the dynamic left – handed duo of Chris Gayle and David Warner as his openers. This seems like a perfect choice. Gayle, who plays for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and David Warner, the Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper, can thwack any opposition with their attacking style. Ponting certainly ensured that his team would get fiery starts.
“I’ve gone for two extremely dynamic opening batsmen and I wouldn’t like to be an opening bowler bowling to these two together. Chris Gayle’s record speaks for itself; he averages about 42, strikes at over 150 and his longevity in the game is unbelievable.”
“Dave Warner hasn’t played as many games as Gayle, but his average is about 40 so his consistency is really good, and he’s striking at 141. They’re both left-handers … so it’d be interesting trying to bowl to those two up front whether you’re a spinner or a quick.”
Virat Kohli has been chosen for the NO. 3 position. The RCB skipper may have had a forgettable season this year but he boasts of a sensational record in the IPL, especially after his superhuman-like antics last season. Rohit Sharma, his former protégé at Mumbai Indians, takes up the 4th position while Suresh Raina occupies the 5th position.
“Virat Kohli has done a lot of his damage opening the batting, but I’ve slotted him in at No.3. He’s the sort of player you want in your side, especially in a run chase. Whenever a game is on the line he puts his hand up and gets the job done.
“I had the luxury of coaching Rohit at Mumbai for a couple of seasons. If he’s not the best middle-order player in India then I’m not sure who is.”
“I’ve gone for Suresh Raina at No.5 to give a left-hander in the middle order. He’s a very good player of spin bowling; if he has a weakness it’s against good quality fast bowling so I’ll bat him in the middle order to keep him away from the overseas quicks.”
No IPL team can be complete without the presence of MS Dhoni. He will perform the wicketkeeper as well as the skipper’s role in the team. For obvious reasons, there was no second choice for Ponting as far as choosing the captain was concerned.
“MS Dhoni is at No.6 and he’ll also be the captain of my side. He brings huge experience and whenever he’s at the crease … you’re always a chance of winning the game. I’ve seen him do it off his own bat on several occasions so I’ll go with him as skipper, with the gloves and batting at No.6.”
Ponting also chose for the wily Dwayne Bravo as the all-rounder. He chose him for some orthodox option in the spin bowling tournament opting for Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra.
“Bravo doesn’t do a lot with the bat, to be fair, but he has got the ability to go out there and win games.”
“The off-spinning option I’ve gone for is Harbhajan Singh. He’s got an outstanding record, he’s good with the bat and he’s solid enough in the field. “
“I’ve gone for a bit of a shock here and have put Amit Mishra in the side. He’s got an outstanding IPL record, he’s got great variations and he’s a wicket-taker because he’s not scared to throw the ball up. He turns the ball enough both ways and he’s been a great performer for a long, long time.”
Mumbai Indians stalwart Lasith Malinga, who also is the highest wicket taker in the history of the IPL, along with veteran Ashish Nehra will spearhead the bowling attack.
“Lasith Malinga is probably the best T20 bowler of all time. I’d certainly rank him that way anyway.”
“A left-arm option is always nice so Ashish Nehra is the other quick I’ve gone for. He’s been around a long time.”
For the fans who feel that there were some highly predictable names missing from the list, Ponting ensured he did not miss to give the credit they deserved. Mystery Spinner Sunil Narine along with batting superstars AB de Villiers and Brendon McCullum were the honourable players who got mentions.
Here is the XI
Chris Gayle, David Warner, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Lasith Malinga, Ashish Nehra
Sunil Narine, AB De Villiers, Brendon McCullum