As the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League nears its final stage, former cricketer and renowned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar has picked his IPL XI.
Surprisingly, the team does not consist of Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli at the No. 3 spot. Instead, Manjrekar has picked Mumbai Indians star Suryakumar Yadav, who had an excellent and consistent season.
“My No. 3 is Suryakumar Yadav, which is great for someone like him to have made it to this IPL XI. He bats at No. 3 and I don’t think any No. 3 has batted as well and as consistently as he’s done. It’s not just about runs and consistency but also about the quality of shots as well that he’s played. At No. 4 is AB de Villiers; no matter his age, he still makes all your al-time XIs,” Manjrekar said in a video posted by ESPNCricinfo.
The openers in Manjrekar's XI are Kings XI Punjab duo KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, who dominated the Orange Cap chart. Bangalore's Devdutt Padikkal did not find a place in the squad despite emerging as the leading run-scorer for his side with 463 runs from 15 matches. Padikkal also became the second player to score 400+ runs in his maiden IPL season.
“The idea is to pick players who’ve had a pretty good IPL and I’m going to restrict myself to four foreign players and keep that discipline and make that job tougher. For the opening pair, I’ve gone with KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. It was very tempting to go for a Quinton de Kock but then I have just four foreign players and I wanted to use them very carefully,” he added.
Further revealing the middle and lower-order, Manjrekar said: “At No. 5 I’ve got Nicholas Pooran, who’s perfectly suited to bat there. We’re still to see the best of Nicholas Pooran but clearly what you’ve seen so far you can see that he’s a dangerous player.
“When it comes to fast bowling, I’m looking at Jofra Archer, who better them him to shoulder the responsibility. Bumrah, obviously comes in and I don’t think I need to explain.
“I’m going to go with the ever-reliable champion bowler from Afghanistan Rashid Khan and [Yuzvendra] Chahal because he’s had a great IPL and it’s almost like he’s got this freedom from the Chinnaswamy stadium to bowl on these stadiums of the UAE.
“Axar Patel is my batting all-rounder. He flies under the radar, but this IPL, he’s delivered the match winning, little doses of impact performance to make a difference. Mohammed Shami has been great bowling in the death so he’ll be my pick. I’ll go with KL Rahul as my wicketkeeper-batsman.”
Sanjay Manjrekar’s IPL XI: 1 KL Rahul (WK), 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Axar Patel, 7 Rashid Khan, 8 Jofra Archer, 9 Yuzvendra Chahal, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Jasprit Bumrah