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‘Controversially, the names of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli…’: IPL’s all-time XI debate over India legends gets heated

While the experts XI, the fans XI and media XI omitted Rohit Sharma from the playing XI, the Star Sports Jury included him.

Do Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli both deserve to be in IPL’s all-time XI? On pure statistics, it’s a no-brainer. Kohli is the league’s highest run-scorer (7263) runs and is the only man to breach the 7000-run mark in IPL history. Rohit is not too far behind with 6211 runs. This may not have been a valid question even three-four years ago. But T20 has evolved rapidly. Rohit and Kohli are not getting any younger. So if an all-time IPL XI is picked keeping the current scenarios in mind then it might just be a tad difficult for.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli(PTI)

Ahead of IPL 2024, TV broadcasters Star Sports decided to come up with an all-time line-up. While the experts XI, the fans XI and the media XI omitted Rohit Sharma from the playing XI, the Star Sports Jury included him for his multiple memorable performances as a batsman and leader of the Mumbai Indians.

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The process for choosing the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ featured a stellar panel of cricket experts consisting of Mathew Hayden, Dale Steyn, Wasim Akram, and Tom Moody – who engaged in captivating discussions and analysis to shortlist the IPL All Time Greats. The Incredible 16 idea was to select an All-time greatest IPL team of 11 players + 4 Impact substitutes along with the coach.

The discourse on whether The Hitman – Rohit Sharma – would be included in the Star Sports Jury’s star-studded team was notable. Interestingly, The Indian Experts XI included Rohit Sharma in their ‘Incredible 16 of the IPL’ as an Impact Player, reflecting a diverse tapestry of opinions and perspectives from across the cricketing world. The aggressive all-rounder Andre Russell was another pick by the Star Sports Jury, not included in the other three teams.

Former Australian cricketer Matthew Hayden gave his choice for the openers of the ‘Incredible 16’. “For me, it’s a difficult choice because I’ve got several contenders, two of which are going to be Indian contenders and two are going to be overseas contenders. My top picks are going to be David Warner and Chris Gayle, the Universe Boss. Those two guys catapulted modern-day T20 cricket as we know it as opening batters. They are both huge boundary hitters, particularly Chris Gayle. David Warner is a more technical batsman, but apart from those two names, controversially the other two names which are Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, I see them as having different roles in this eleven, but first and foremost Chris Gayle and David Warner,” he said.

Former SRH Coach Tom Moody said Chris Gayle as the ‘Bradman of T20 cricket’. “The challenge would be the overseas balance on this side. Because if you’re picking it solely on the best players, and for the overseas players there wasn’t a limit, I’d argue that Gayle and Warner would be the opening pair, because they are clearly, by far the best openers the IPL has ever seen. But because we are looking for overseas balance, I’m picking Gayle at the top, because he is for me the ‘Bradman’ of T20 cricket’. He’s so far ahead, statistically than any other player that has played the game, and I find it difficult to see anyone catching up with what he has achieved. Joining him at the top of the order would be Virat Kohli.”

When asked to select his openers for the ‘Incredible 16’, former South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn said, “You’ve got to balance your overseas with the local players which is the most important. I feel your local players need to be your best players and then you throw in the spice of the overseas. I’ve gone with Warner and Rohit. One thing I’ve based this team on, and it’s my opinion, is that most of the players have gone on to win the IPL. We are picking the IPL’s greatest players, so there are one or two players who could have potentially made these spots, but they haven’t won the IPL. Although they may have been a wonderful Great, they haven’t won it yet. They haven’t done the full dance. So I’m going with two guys who have lifted the trophy before, so I’ve gone with Warner and Rohit for now.”

Wasim Akram had a different perspective on who would make his opening pair for the ‘IPL All-Stars. He said, “You know what’s important in the T20 format, in any format for that matter is fielding. And David Warner, in my opinion, if you remember the World Cup final recently, the way he fielded, he saved about 20+ runs, so he’s a live wire on the field. I do like players like Chris Gayle of course, his numbers are phenomenal, but he’ll be hiding at fine leg, no offence to his talent, I need good fielders all around, all spots in all eleven in the team. Most of them can, so I’ll go for Rohit, proper opener and skipper, he’s won the most IPLs, and then David Warner, these two are my openers.”

IPL all-time playing XI: David Warner, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (C), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rashid Khan, Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga

Impact Players: Andre Russell, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Chris Gayle, Yuzvendra Chahal

Coach: Stephen Flemming


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