Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra has picked the best current World XI comprising players who have played previously at the Under-19 World Cup. Only one Indian cricketer figures in the team, with the likes of keeper Rishabh Pant and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja failing to make the grade.

The Under-19 World Cups have brought into the limelight plenty of players who have gone on to shine at the senior level. Apart from Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja, some of the other current Indian players like Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Ishan Kishan have all set the stage on fire at the Under-19 level.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Picked Babar Azam And Virat Kohli In His XI

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra picked Babar Azam as the first player in the XI.

He elaborated: “Babar Azam, you saw him playing drives in the under-19 World Cup, he was looking good. He comes from a cricketing family and it was the first time we got to see his potential, although you don’t know how much that potential will be realized.”

Virat Kohli, the former Indian skipper who stepped down as India’s most successful Test skipper recently was certainly picked by the cricketer-turned-commentator.

Aakash Chopra had the following to say about the former Indian skipper: “After him, Virat Kohli. That’s a personal story because when he was selected for India under-19, he was already a part of the Ranji Trophy team and I have seen him closely. The qualities were there, it seemed the boy will do well but I will be honest, I didn’t feel he will do this well.”

Virat Kohli and Eoin Morgan Image Credit: Getty Images.
Virat Kohli and Eoin Morgan Image Credit: Getty Images.

Two other modern batting greats – Australia’s Steve Smith and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson – also made it to the team chosen by Aakash Chopra.

The latter observed: “Steve Smith, if you see his photo as a kid, you will say a leg-spinner had come who could bat a little but he will become Steve unstoppable Smith. Kane consistent Williamson – it was the same World Cup where Virat Kohli was there against him. In fact, Kohli dismissed Williamson.”

The 44-year-old picked Dinesh Chandimal, Eoin Morgan and Shimron Hetmyer to complete his batting lineup.

Aakash Chopra said: “After that, Dinesh Chandimal. I will keep him in the team as a wicket-keeper. Eoin Morgan, World Cup-winning captain. He used to play for Ireland at that time, now he is England’s captain. Shimron Hetmyer – we had seen his ability to hit sixes in under-19 cricket.”

Eoin Morgan who is the limited-overs skipper of England currently, captained the Ireland team at the 2006 Under-19 World Cup. He also finished as the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament, with his 338 runs only behind Cheteshwar Pujara’s 349. Eoin Morgan has the most career runs in U19 World Cup history for Ireland with 606 runs in 13 innings from 2004 to 2006 followed by Pakistan’s Babar Azam, who has 585 runs in 12 innings from 2010 to 2012.

Aakash Chopra Picked Pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi And Kagiso Rabada

Aakash Chopra picked all-rounders Bangladesh’s Mehidy Hasan Miraz and England’s Chris Woakes as the first two bowlers in his bowling lineup.

He elaborated: “Mehidy Hasan Miraz – one of my favorite players, his performance has been very good. Off-spin, batting – he is brilliant. Then Chris Woakes, he also made the journey from the under-19 World Cup to the England side.”

Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)

The former India opener chose Pakistan’s pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi and South Africa’s pacer Kagiso Rabada as the final two players in his XI.

Aakash Chopra observed: “Then Shaheen Afridi and Kagiso Rabada. These are two other big names whom you see and say – Well done yaar, these boys have done very well.”

Shaheen Shah Afridi represented Pakistan at the 2018 under-19 World Cup. He snared 12 wickets in the five matches he played in the tournament, with a best of 6/15.