Bengaluru, January 25: Royal Challengers Bangalore great AB de Villiers was part of a debate as some stalwarts of the game voted for the Indian Premier League (IPL) All-Time XI.
The former stars, who took part in the voting or selection for the IPL All-time XI, were Anil Kumble, Parthiv Patel, Chris Gayle, Scott Styris and Robin Uthappa.
While De Villiers earned the vote from majority of the panel, former India captain Kumble said it was very difficult to add the former South Africa batter into his all-time IPL XI.
Kumble added that Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kieron Pollard will get his vote above ABD taking into consideration the ability and the role the duo would play in the side as number 5 or 6 options.
"It is very difficult to get AB de Villiers in my team because MS Dhoni comes in at five as captain and wicket keeper and Pollard at six," Kumble said during the show 'Legends Lounge', a JioCinema original featuring former stars.
"I would look at the impact the particular player has had at No. 6 in terms of winning matches from difficult positions and of course, titles is something that I looked at as well, at No. 6."
But, most of the panel agreed to have De Villiers and MS Dhoni rather than Pollard. Patel, however, agreed with Kumble's point of view, but chose Andre Russell instead of Pollard. But the consensus was that ABD and MSD would be the best fit.
As for the rest of the XI, Chris Gayle picked himself as the opener of the team before going on to fill up the other 10 slots. "It's Chris Gayle first. Always pick yourself first," quipped Universe Boss.
Patel then tipped off the conversation calling Gayle and Virat Kohli to make the opening pair. "I think Virat Kohli's numbers are unbelievable as an opener. The chemistry between Gayle and Virat makes a huge difference. Gayle is Chris Gayle and there can't be any IPL team without him."
Styris, though, bravely disagreed and paired Kohli with David Warner even as the West Indian great picked Virender Sehwag as his choice at the top and Kohli as a foil at Number 3 to the aggression on top.
The group settled with Gayle and Sehwag as openers to start with, but ended up picking Kohli and Gayle as the openers at the end of the show.
Just when it seemed that the All-Time IPL XI was settled, the Legends couldn't fathom that Kohli wasn't a part of the team.
"I can't believe Kohli is not in the final cut. I cannot handle that we don't have him in there. That 973-run season is the greatest batting in T20 cricket that I have ever seen," Styris said.
Gayle wanted his former teammate in somehow, and everyone eventually then decided to replace Sehwag with Kohli as Gayle's partner on top.
At number 3, everyone voted for Suresh Raina in the All-Time team. India captain Rohit Sharma, much like, Raina was everyone's choice at Number 4.
And when the voting moved to the number 7 slot, players like Dwayne Bravo, Hardik Pandya and Russell were discussed only for Bravo to get the nod.
Bravo's country-mate Sunil Narine earned the majority for Number 8 and top spinner in the side. The selection of Narine also filled up the four overseas slots with Bravo, Gayle and De Villiers as the other three.
Uthappa explained what makes Narine the better fit for the XI. "What makes it challenging is obviously the mystery factor that Sunil has. His biggest strength is his ability to hit the right length consistently. He can get hit for a six but the next ball, he'll come right there and it will not change."
Indian spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was almost a unanimous choice as the second spinner. "He has this ability to set batsmen up even in this short format," said Patel, who also backed Harbhajan Singh.
Jasprit Bumrah at Number 10 was a no-brainer for everyone. What got everyone in a soup though was when it came to pick the final bowler.
Lasith Malinga was everyone's first choice but with four overseas players slots filled the group had to leave out one to fit in the Lankan legend. The legends eventually sacrificed the all-round abilities of Bravo and replaced him with Pandya to bring Malinga in.
|Chris Gayle||West Indies||Batter|
|AB de Villiers||South Africa||Batter|
|MS Dhoni (captain)||India||Wicketkeeper|
|Sunil Narine||West Indies||Bowler|
|Lasith Malinga||Sri Lanka||Bowler|