Aakash Chopra Leaves Out Star Indian All-Rounder Hardik Pandya From His Best XI Of Asia Cup 2023

Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra recently named his best XI of the recently concluded Asia Cup 2023. Aakash Chopra hasn’t included veteran Indian cricketers such as Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, and Jasprit Bumrah in his squad for the continental tournament.

The Rohit Sharma-led team hammered the Sri Lankan team, led by Dasun Shanaka, by 10 wickets in the final in Colombo on Sunday, September 17. India’s left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav was named Player of the Series for his impressive bowling performances.

Rohit Sharma Is Also My Captain – Aakash Chopra

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra picked Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma as the openers in the team, with Kusal Mendis as the No. 3 in the lineup.

“Let’s start with the opener – Rohit Sharma, he is also my captain. He is in good form and played well too. He was dismissed for a duck once for sure but other than that, he has been good.”

“Shubman Gill is my second opener. If you look around, you will not keep anyone among Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Mohammad Naim and Rahmanullah Gurbaz. So he (Gill) is not just the only one left, he is actually very, very good. You should actually sing his praises.”

“There was a fight at No. 3. I haven’t kept Virat Kohli’s name. I have kept Kusal Mendis’s name for the simple reason that he has scored a lot of runs. Kusal got a lot of opportunities but how can you ignore nearly 275 runs.”

Iftikhar Ahmed’s Performance Is Better At No. 6 – Aakash Chopra

The former Indian opener included KL Rahul at the No. 4 spot, followed by Mohammad Rizwan at No. 5. Chopra preferred Iftikhar Ahmed over Hardik Pandya for the No. 6 position.

“I have kept KL Rahul at No. 4. He hit a century and was scoring runs consistently. At No. 5, I have kept Mohammad Rizwan. He has consistently batted well in this Asia Cup. I have also got him to keep.”

“At No. 6, I have got Iftikhar Ahmed. Without a doubt Hardik Pandya could have been here – three wickets in the final and runs against Pakistan but I have kept Iftikhar’s name because his performance is better at No. 6.”

Mohammed Siraj Named Storm Came In The Final – Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra selected Dunith Wellalage as the spin-bowling all-rounder at No. 7, citing a lack of suitable alternatives. He opted for Shaheen Shah Afridi, Matheesha Pathirana, and Mohammed Siraj as three specialist pacers, with Kuldeep Yadav as the first-choice spinner in the playing XI.

“Dunith Wellalage at No. 7. It’s mandatory for his name to be there because I am unable to find anyone else. I can’t keep Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. I can definitely not keep Shadab Khan and I won’t keep Shakib Al Hasan to bat so low.”

“At No. 8, I have got Shaheen Shah Afridi. He opened India up in the first game. He brought the team back into the game in the Sri Lanka match. After that, Kuldeep Yadav. He was the Player of the Tournament. There is no debate here whether he should be there or not.”

“At No. 10, I have got Matheesha Pathirana. He is at the top of the wicket-taking list. Apart from the India game, he did well in every match. I had Haris Rauf at No. 11 before the final but the Siraj named storm came in the final. I have put Mohammed Siraj’s name in this team at the end.”

Aakash Chopra’s best XI of Asia Cup 2023: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Kusal Mendis, KL Rahul, Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Dunith Wellalage, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Kuldeep Yadav, Matheesha Pathirana, Mohammed Siraj

Also read: IND vs BAN: Aakash Chopra Calls Kuldeep Yadav ‘The Best Spinner In The World At The Moment’ In ODIs

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