Melbourne : Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has picked Rising Pune Supergiant’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Virat Kohli in his all-time Indian Premier League XI, which comprises of seven Indians and four overseas players.
Ponting has named former Indian skipper Dhoni as the skipper of his best-ever XI from 10 years of IPL.
Reflecting on his decision to pick Dhoni as his skipper, Ponting said that the Indian stalwart brings in a lot of experience every time he comes on the field and, therefore, he would like to see him with the gloves and batting at No.6 spot.
“MS Dhoni is at No.6 and he’ll also be the captain of my side. He brings huge experience and whenever he’s at the crease … you’re always a chance of winning the game. I’ve seen him do it off his own bat on several occasions so I’ll go with him as skipper, with the gloves and batting at No.6,” cricket.com.au quoted Ponting as saying.
Talking about the current Indian skipper Kohli who has been slotted in at No.3 spot, the Australian legend said that although the Royal Challengers’ leader has done a lot of damage opening the batting, he is a kind of player one wants in his side especially during a run chase.
“Virat Kohli has done a lot of his damage opening the batting, but I’ve slotted him in at No.3. He’s the sort of player you want in your side, especially in a run chase. Whenever a game is on the line he puts his hand up and gets the job done. He was a bit of a slow bloomer in T20 cricket, it took him a while to work it out, but what I saw up close last year was unbelievable,” Ponting said.
While Dhoni has notched up 3511 runs in 156 matches he played during the 10 years of the IPL, Kohli is the second-highest run-getter in tournament history after compatriot Suresh Raina with 4360 runs in 148 matches.
As far as ongoing season is concerned, Kohli and Dhoni both failed to contribute much to their respective sides.
Kohli has scored just 250 runs at an average of 27.77 and has registered only three half-centuries, while Dhoni amassed 240 runs at an average of 24 and has scored just one fifty.
For the opening slot, Ponting has selected the destructive duo of West Indies’ Chris Gayle and Australia’s David Warner, saying “For the opening slot, Ponting has chosen the destructive duo of Chris Gayle and David Warner.”
The other Indians in Ponting’s team are Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra and Amit Mishra.
The former Australian player, who has also played in the IPL and was coach of the Mumbai Indians, sprang a surprise by including Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra in his best XI.
“I’ve gone for a bit of a shock here and have put Amit Mishra in the side. He’s got an outstanding IPL record, he’s got great variations and he’s a wicket-taker because he’s not scared to throw the ball up. He turns the ball enough both ways and he’s been a great performer for a long, long time,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga and West Indies’ Dwayne Bravo complete the full list.
The notable omissions from the side are South African ODI skipper AB de Villiers, West Indies’s Sunil Narine and former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, and Ponting admitted that it was very tough to pick the team as he could only add four foreign players.
“It was a very tough team to pick because I could only get the four overseas guys in there,” he said. “So there were a few notable names that have missed out on selection. Things got pretty difficult but I’ve tried to put the best possible team together that I’ve ever seen in IPL history,” Ponting said.
Ponting’s best IPL playing XI:
Chris Gayle (Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore)
David Warner (Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Rohit Sharma (Deccan Chargers, Mumbai Indians)
Suresh Raina (Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat Lions)
MS Dhoni (c) (wk) (Chennai Super Kings, Rising Pune Supergiant)
Dwayne Bravo (Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat Lions, Mumbai Indians)
Harbhajan Singh (Mumbai Indians)
Amit Mishra (Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians)
Ashish Nehra (Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians, Pune Warriors, Sunrisers Hyderabad). (ANI)