Former South African captain and one of the greatest batsmen of the era, AB de Villiers, on Thursday, has picked his all-time IPL playing XI with seven Indian cricketers and four overseas players making the list.
At first, De Villiers was a little hesitant about his own spot in his XI as one of the four overseas players, but eventually kept himself as one of the three options at No. 4.
For openers, Mr. 360 didn’t take much time and picked his former Delhi Capitals (Daredevils) teammate Virender Sehwag and the most successful skipper in the history of the tournament, Rohit Sharma.
“Last night I was thinking that if I pick my IPL XI and I include myself, how bad would that look. So, opening the batting, I would pick someone whom I started with at Delhi, Viru (Virender Sehwag) at 1 and someone who I think has played some of the best cricket in the world in the last five years, Rohit at No. 2,” De Villiers told Cricbuzz in an interaction.
For number 3, de Villiers’ picked his teammate and RCB captain Virat Kohli, who is also the highest run-scorer in the history of the IPL, leading the charts with 5878 runs including five centuries at 39 fifties.
The two candidates de Villiers has considered for the No. 4 spot along with himself are Steve Smith and Kane Williamson, calling them his ‘replacements’ if need be.
“Then obviously Virat at No. 3, followed by I’d say either Williamson, or Smith, or myself, these are the two replacements,” added AB de Villiers.
The all-rounder slot might give you a shock as RCB’s star batsman made a surprising move and ignored the likes of Shane Watson, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Dwayne Bravo and opted for England’s Ben Stokes, who has been underwhelming in the IPL barring the 2017 season.
For wicketkeeping slot, de Villiers went with former Indian captain MS Dhoni while he picked the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Rashid Khan as his two spinners. He also named MS Dhoni as the captain of his playing XI.
Lastly, the former South Africa captain picked Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah and his fellow Proteas bolter Kagiso Rabada as three pacers in his all time IPL playing XI.
“Ben Stokes at 5, MS at six as captain, and at No. 7, I’d put Jaddu, Mr. Jadeja. Rashid Khan at 8, Bhuvi at 9, Kagiso Rabada at 10 and Bumrah at 11,” AB de Villiers said.
Also known as Mr. 360, de Villiers explained the reason behind Stokes’ inclusion over any other option:
“I’d put Stokes because obviously we know what he can do with the bat, but also considering that extra seaming option. Got the two spinners and then Bumrah, Rabada and Bhuvi as fast bowlers. So that pretty much covers everything,” de Villiers mentioned.
Here it is worth noting that de Villiers didn’t go for Suresh Raina, who’s the second-highest run-scorer in the history of the IPL. He also left out the legendary Lasith Malinga, who is currently the highest wicket-taker in the championship.
AB de Villiers all-time IPL XI:
Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers/Kane Williamson/Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni (wk & cap), Ravindra Jadeja, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kagiso Rabada, Jasprit Bumrah.