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IPL 2021: Faf du Plessis At Number 3, Rishabh Pant Surprising Inclusion In Aakash Chopra’s XI of Tournament

Former India Test opener, Aakash Chopra revealed his IPL 2021 XI and made one or two surprising calls in his selection. He decided to open with the partnership of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul and kept the CSK star – Faf du Plessis at number three. Chopra also included the skipper of the Delhi Capitals – Rishabh Pant who did not have a great tournament with the bat.

Chopra was very impressed with the performance of KL Rahul who continued his great form in the IPL and ended as the second-highest run-getter with 331 runs in 7 innings. Rahul was the highest scorer in IPL 2020 and has the highest aggregate in the last four editions of the tournament (2018-2021).

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Dhawan – the Orange Cap holder in IPL 2021 was Chopra’s choice as second opener. The left-hander started the tournament in tremendous fashion playing aggressor and switched to anchor the innings for the Capitals when Prithvi Shaw tore into the attack from the other end.

“I have kept KL Rahul first. He played three big knocks, which includes two nineties and a 60-odd. All three of them came in a winning cause, so whenever he scored runs his team won. He played at a good strike rate as well. Along with him is Shikhar Dhawan and he has the Orange Cap on his head. The maturity with which he has started playing, this is the upgraded version of Shikhar Dhawan which we have seen from the last IPL,” said Chopra.

In a surprising call, Chopra decided to keep the South African star with the bat for the Super Kings – at number 3. Du Plessis was in brilliant form as opener and one of the main reasons for the revival and turnaround in CSK’s batting fortunes this season.

“I have kept Faf at No.3. He opened for his team but I have kept him at No.3. He has been consistent and played in a destructive fashion. CSK’s revival wouldn’t have happened without him,” added Chopra.

Number 4 and 5 chose themselves for Chopra – RCB’s Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers. Maxwell had a dramatic turnaround from his worst performance last season for the Punjab Kings and played three high impact knocks at the start of the competition for his franchise. He was the reason that RCB got off to their best start in the IPL this season. ABD continued to do what he has done over the years for RCB – play the role of the destructive playmaker in the middle order winning three matches for his team.

“At No.4, I have kept Glenn Maxwell. He scored the difficult runs. His performance in the first five matches was outstanding. I have kept AB de Villiers at No.5. His innings in Ahmedabad was fantastic and the knock against KKR in Chennai was one of the finest you would see in the IPL,” he further said.

Chopra decided to include Rishabh Pant at number 6 although the captain of the Delhi Capitals did not have a great tournament. He scored 213 runs in 8 innings but at a strike rate of just 131.48 which is low for the role he plays for his franchise.

“At No.6, I have kept Pant. I know it is too low down the order but you can promote him if a left-hander is required to be sent. I will get him to keep and not AB,” stated Chopra.

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Ravindra Jadeja and Chris Morris were Chopra’s choice as the all-rounders.

“At No.7, you can keep Jaddu. His bowling was very good and he batted amazingly well. He played in a bold fashion and run-outs while fielding, four catches in an innings. He knows everything, he has been absolutely brilliant. At No.8, I have got Chris Morris. He continuously did something or the other, either in batting or bowling. On the whole, he kept paying the EMIs of the 16.25 crores for which he was bought.”

Rahul Chahar – the leading wicket-taker amongst the spinners in IPL 2021 who gave two outstanding performances for the Mumbai Indians was Chopra’s choice as the specialist spinner. The mighty impressive Avesh Khan of the Capitals who returned with 14 wickets and was very restrictive along with the Purple Cap holder Harshal Patel completed Chopra’s XI.

“At No.9, 10, and 11, I have got all three Indians. One is Rahul Chahar, then Avesh Khan, and finally Harshal Patel,” added Chopra.

Aakash Chopra IPL 2021 Team XI: KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Chris Morris, Rahul Chahar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel​

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