Former South African cricketer and RCB stalwart, AB de Villiers has named his all-time IPL XI. Led by MS Dhoni, the team comprises four overseas and seven Indian players. The 37 year old opted for Virender Sehwag and Rohit Sharma as the openers of the team.
"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 said to Cricbuzz.
As expected, the No. 3 slot goes to Virat Kohli while one among Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and De Villiers himself will take the next spot. Following them will be Ben Stokes and MS Dhoni at No. 5 and No. 6 respectively.
"Then obviously Virat at No. 3, followed by I’d say either Williamson, or Smith, or myself, these are the two replacements. Ben Stokes at 5, MS at six as captain," the former South Africa international added.
De Villiers then opted for Ravindra Jadeja at No.7 and selected Afghan magician Rashid Khan as the second spinner. For the pacers, AB went in with the trio of Bhuveneshwar Kumar, Kagiso Rabada and Jasprit Bumrah.
"At No. 7, I’d put Jaddu, Mr. Jadeja. Rashid Khan at 8, Bhuvi at 9, Kagiso Rabada at 10 and Bumrah at 11," De Villiers said.
Ben Stokes doesn’t have staggering numbers in the Indian Premier League but AB de Villiers believes that his ability to contribute with both bat and the ball will be an asset for any team.
"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 signed off.
While the team looks fairly strong, the exclusion of players like Suresh Raina, Lasith Malinga, Chris Gayle and David Warner won’t go down well with their fans. Raina and Warner are the second and third highest run getters in the IPL history.