As confirmed by the BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, there will be an All Stars Match right before the tournament kicks off on 29th March. The reports from ESPNCricinfo suggest that the match will be played between the sides on the basis of zones. One side will comprise of players coming from South and West Indian franchises while the other side will include players from North and East Indian teams.
To explain it in simpler words, players from CSK, MI, SRH and RCB will combine to form one side while the rival side will have players from KKR, KXIP, DC and RR. Based on that report, we tried to make the best possible playing XI of both sides. In this article, we will discuss about the playing 11 of South-West team.
South-West XI : (CSK+SRH+RCB+MI)
Openers : David Warner and Rohit Sharma
David Warner & Rohit Sharma are the most obvious picks as openers considering their stature over the years in the tournament. Warner has scored over 4700 runs in just 10 editions of the tournament. Since 2014, he has scored over 500 runs in every season he has played. He is undoubtedly the most consistent batsman in IPL in last 5 years and so one doesn’t need to look beyond Warner to find an opener in his side. Rohit Sharma finds his place as the second opener. Even though he hasn’t enjoyed a great deal of success in IPL in last few years, we all know what he is capable of. On top of that, his leadership abilities too makes him a great option to have in your team.
Virat Kohli is the world’s best number 3 batsman in the world, ever. However, when it comes to IPL, Suresh Raina presents a strong challenge for the number 3 spot but there is no reason why Virat Kohli shouldn’t be batting at 3 in this team. He is the all time leading run scorer in IPL cricket. He has scored over 5400 runs in IPL and is the perfect candidate to play at 3. On top of that, Raina is in decline of his cricket career while Kohli is at the peak of his powers.
AB De villiers
Virat Kohli’s partner in crime AB De villiers must be the batsman to bat at 4. You can’t separate these two, can you? Not to forget this would be a charity game where entertainment is all what players would be looking to provide to the spectators and there is no one better than AB De villiers when it comes to providing entertainment in the middle. His partnership with Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni would be a treat to watch for everyone.
MS Dhoni (WK &Captain)
CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be playing at number 5 as he often does for his franchise. Dhoni hasn’t played any international cricket since July but he will be making his comeback in IPL. Despite his lackluster performances at international level in last couple of years, he has always enjoyed playing in IPL. A Dhoni led CSK won the IPL on their comeback in 2018 which is why he will be the captain of this side as well. Rohit Sharma too is a strong candidate for captaincy but given Dhoni’s gigantic fanbase, it’d be wiser to hand it over to Dhoni only considering it’s an exhibition game.
All-rounders : Keiron Pollard & Hardik Pandya
Two All-rounders from Mumbai Indians – Hardik Pandya and Keiron Pollard are the distinct picks in the side. Both of them not only bring a stability to the side but provide attacking options at the back end as well. Keiron Pollard has been an integral part of Mumbai Indians since 2010 while Hardik Pandya has been playing for the same side since 2015. There are no better options than these two available for the All-rounders spot. Hardik Pandya will have a big task with ball as well because he will be playing as the 6th bowler. Although, it all depends upon his availability to play that game as he will be coming off an injury.
Spinners : Rashid Khan & Yuzvendra Chahal
RCB’s leg spinner and their best bowler over the years Yuzvendra Chahal will combine the world’s best T20 spinner Rashid Khan to complete the spin department. There was an option of going with Imran Tahir as well but we believe these two are the best spinners from South-West teams who don’t have to depend upon pitches to pick wickets. Rashid’s usefulness with bat makes him a great option to have as well.
Fast Bowlers : Jasprit Bumrah & Deepak Chahar
There is no argument over Jasprit Bumrah’s place in the side. For the second fast bowler, there can be a tussle between Deepak Chahar of CSK and Navdeep Saini of RCB. Both are extremely promising fast bowlers but Chahar being relatively more experienced than Saini wins him a place in the side. Chahar, now has played four seasons of IPL and has taken a total of 33 wickets in all of the matches.