Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn.com.

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience

.

CRICKET: THE PUNDITS’ ELEVEN

Updated July 14, 2019

Email

AHMER NAQVI

Aaron Finch (Australia) — CAPTAIN
Rohit Sharma (India) Avishka Fernando (Sri Lanka)
Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
Virat Kohli (India)
Ben Stokes (England)
Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan) — WK
Mohammad Amir (Pakistan)
Mitchell Starc (Australia)
Jofra Archer (England)
Jasprit Bumrah (India)

Ahmer Naqvi’s dream team is skippered by Aaron Finch. He says that even though he is sick of seeing Australia winning World Cups for most of his life, “Finch is a great example of why they do so.” He adds, “Despite not being the strongest side, Australian tactics have helped them cruise to the knock-outs, and Finch has led from the front.”

About picking Rohit Sharma, he says that “In a World Cup where slow starts followed by late blitzes have proven most useful, no one else has the skillset to execute this plan more perfectly.”

Avishka Fernando, he feels, is one of the finds of the tournament. “He provided the sort of excitement a tournament like this relies on.”

Having closely watched and covered the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup which will see its final unfolding today at Lord’s, six cricket pundits, acting as chief selectors for Eos, share their dream teams of the tournament

And Shakib Al Hasan is also in his team because “No one quite had Shakib’s tournament in this World Cup, both with bat and ball. In an otherwise ordinary tournament for spinners, Shakib’s spin can be enough for this side to go without an out-and-out spin option.”

Virat Kohli, he feels, may be an awkward fit, since Kohli doesn’t bat at number five but no one at this World Cup really excelled, “And perhaps an old-school five might have worked even better. Kohli’s tournament has been a bit unfulfilled and Kane Williamson was an equally likely candidate.”

Ben Stokes has also made Ahmer’s list because he says that the story of the tournament is probably how there aren’t any other English batters on this list. “Stokes showed great versatility in his game, and stood up several times when his teammates failed.”

The wicket keeping here has been handed over to Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad. About him he says, “I don’t get what Afghanistan’s board was up to this tournament, and this is really a rejection of their bizarre removal of Shahzad from the squad. With Buttler being found out a bit, I’m going to give Shahzad this spot in solidarity.”

There is one from Pakistan too — Mohammad Amir. “He is a bit of a tail to this team at eight. But his bowling helped Pakistan mitigate their batting weaknesses, and he showed a lot of skill to make up for his lost swag.”

For Mitchell Starc he says, “Yet another World Cup, yet another legendary, highlights-stuffed performance from Starc, one of the greatest white-ball bowlers of all time.”

Jofra Archer, Ahmer feels is the find of the tournament. “Archer went from new debutant to ace of England’s bowling deck with the utmost ease, which is how he plays too,” he says.

And finally there is Jasprit Bumrah of India, a more consistent bowling side now, “And no one embodies its new identity better than Bumrah, who has become a phenomena in limited over’s cricket, especially at the death.”

AALIA RASHEED

Rohit Sharma (India)
Aaron Finch (Australia) — CAPTAIN
Kane Williamson
(New Zealand)
Virat Kohli (India)
Babar Azam (Pakistan)
Shakib Al Hassan (Bangladesh)
Jos Buttler (England) — WK
Jaspit Bumrah (India)
Trent Boult (New Zealand)
Mitchell Starc (Australia)
Kuldeep Yadav (India) / Mark Wood (England)

Australia’s Aaron Finch is also captain of Aalia Rasheed’s dream team with Starc as the other Australian in there. Meanwhile, she is sure about picking three Indians with a tie between Yadav and Wood for the fourth one. Thankfully one Pakistani, Babar Azam, also made her selection.

HASSAN CHEEMA

Rohit Sharma (India)
David Warner (Australia)
Kane Williamson
(New Zealand) — CAPTAIN
Babar Azam (Pakistan)
Shakib Al Hasan
(Ban­­­g­ladesh)
Ben Stokes (England)
Alex Carey (Australia) — WK
Mitchell Starc (Australia)
Jofra Archer (England)
Lockie Ferguson (New Zealand)
Jasprit Bumrah (India)

Hassan Cheema, too, has given Pakistan’s Babar Azam a chance in his dream team about which he says that the “Team pretty much picks itself.” He adds, “While there may be arguments for Kohli or one of the Pakistan pacers taking a spot in this eleven, the reality is that each of these players have carried the responsibility of their teams throughout this whole tournament and come up as trumps.”

KHALID H. KHAN

David Warner (Australia)
Jonny Bairstow (England)
Rohit Sharma (India)
Virat Kohli (India)
Kane Williamson (New Zealand) — CAPTAIN
Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
Alex Carey (Australia) — WK
Mitchell Starc (Australia)
Lockie Ferguson (New Zealand)
Jasprit Bumrah (India)
Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan)

“Keeping with the trusted saying of bowlers hunting in pairs, this wise dictum sometimes equally applies to the batsmen, too,” says Khalid H. Khan, cricket reporter for Dawn newspaper. While picking his dream eleven, he says that he found it mighty difficult to separate between England’s Jason Roy and his equally destructive partner Jonny Bairstow. “To me they have been the most devastating opening combination in this World Cup with three successive 100-plus partnerships,” he says.

“But,” he points out, “the team generally has great advantage if one of the openers is a left-hander. That’s why I’ll bring in Australia’s David Warner to go in with Bairstow given Roy’s recent fitness issues.”

About Sharma, he says, “How can I sideline Rohit Sharma, the first man to strike five tons in a single tournament? Therefore, I’ll have the Indian run-machine at number three with his skipper, and the finest modern-day batsman, Virat Kohli to drop one spot.”

He also says that it’s a very, very narrow battle between Joe Root and Kane Williamson. “But I’ve gone for the trusted New Zealand skipper — who is also my team leader — to go in at number five since most of his runs for New Zealand at number three were scored after openers repeatedly failed,” he explains.

Coming to the all-rounders, Khalid says that he doesn’t have to look beyond Bangladesh’s talisman Shakib Al Hasan after the left-handed spinning all-rounder became the first World Cup player to amass over 500 runs (606 to be precise) and take 10 (actually 11) wickets in one competition.

“The rapidly-improving Alex Carey is my wicket-keeper who has also scored crucial runs in big matches. Two of the three frontline pacemen inevitably pick themselves — Mitchell Starc and Jasprit Bumrah — while I have preferred raw pace over swing given the abrasive nature of backend World Cup pitches, with Lockie Ferguson getting my vote ahead of his New Zealand compatriot Trent Boult,” he adds.

His solitary spinning option is teenager Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

OSMAN SAMIUDDIN

Rohit Sharma (India)
Aaron Finch (Australia) — CAPTAIN
Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
Virat Kohli (India)
Ben Stokes (England)
Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
Jos Buttler (England) — WK
Jofra Archer (England)
Mitchell Starc (Australia)
Jasprit Bumrah (India)
Yuzverndra Chahal (India)

And here is a dream team picked by Osman Samiuddin, on our asking, which doesn’t have a single Pakistani player!

ZAINAB ABBAS

Rohit Sharma (India)
David Warner (Australia)
Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
Kane Williamson (New Zealand) — CAPTAIN
Ben Stokes (England)
Jos Buttler (England) — WK
Yuzvendra Singh Chahal (India)
Chris Woakes (England)
Jasprit Bumrah (India)
Mohammad Amir (Pakistan)
Mitchell Starc (Australia)

Zainab Abbas believes that Rohit Sharma has been in prolific form. “He’s one of those players who, if he gets his eye on a score, is very difficult to get out,” she says.

About Warner, she says that he has also made a fine comeback although he played a rather uncharacteristic innings throughout, without his natural flair and flamboyance. “But he’s been compact and scored big.”

Shakib Al Hasan is also there in her team as she sees him as the all-rounder of the tournament. “He has taken crucial wickets and has never looked better,” she says.

Published in Dawn, EOS, July 14th, 2019