Indian cricket commentator Aakash Chopra has picked Delhi’s 'ideal' playing XI for the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Chopra predicted Delhi's playing XI on his YouTube channel this morning. Interestingly, the playing XI that Chopra has picked doesn’t feature one of the best cricketers in the world. The former Indian cricketer, who played for India from 2003 to 2004, has left out Australia’s star batsman Steve Smith from his first XI. However, given that teams can only pick four foreign players, Chopra may be right in excluding Steve Smith from the playing XI.
Delhi already has Ajinkya Rahane at number 3, whose strike rate doesn’t differ much from Smith. Both Rahane and Smith have never crossed more than 140 in strike rate while playing in the IPL. Delhi would not like to leave their star Protea pacers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje out of the playing XI just to make a place for Smith. Australia’s Marcus Stoinis has also cemented his place in the playing XI with his all-around performances in the last season.
According to Aakash Chopra, Delhi will go with experienced Shikhar Dhawan and yet-to prove himself Prithvi Shaw as their openers. Ajinkya Rahane will come in at number 3, followed by the new captain Rishabh Pant. Shimron Hetmyer and Marcus Stoinis will come in at number 5 and 6, with Indian spin legend Ashwin coming in at number 7. Amith Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, and Anrich Nortje will resume their duties as Delhi key bowlers. Chopra has predicted either Umesh Yadav or Ishant Sharma will be the third pacer in Delhi’s playing XI. Chopra has also left out Axar Patel from his playing XI despite the spinner's performance against England in the recently concluded Test series.
Delhi players were seen taking part in their first training session at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai earlier last week. Players like Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, and Amit Mishra were among the cricketers who were seen practicing in the nets on Tuesday. Captain Rishabh Pant and head coach Ricky Ponting have also joined the camp. Delhi will open their campaign on April 10 as they take on three-time champions Chennai at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
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