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Aakash Chopra picks his best XI from the inaugural WTC, excludes Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane

The maiden World Test Championship (WTC) started with the Ashes 2019 series in August. Since then, 59 Test matches have been played as a part of the inaugural season, with India and New Zealand occupying the top two spots in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Test rankings and qualifying for the final to be played at Southampton starting June 18.

Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra has picked up his best eleven from all the players who participated in the game’s longest format since August 2019.

Chopra, in his YouTube channel on Thursday, picked India’s Rohit Sharma as the first choice for his opener. Though Rohit hasn’t been effective overseas, he has clubbed 1030 runs at an average of 64.

The Agra-born selected Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne to partner with Rohit at the beginning of the innings. Karunaratne has smashed 999 runs at an average of 55.

Australia’s Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne occupied the third and fourth spot. While Labuschagne has the maximum runs by any batter in Test cricket since the inception of the grand event, Smith has the third-highest.

For the fifth position, Chopra chose New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson. Williamson is known for his patience and grit and was also named as the side’s captain by Chopra.

The sixth-place needed an all-rounder, and hence the cricketer-turned-commentator went with England’s Ben Stokes. Stokes has thrashed 1334 runs and also bagged 34 wickets.

Chopra preferred India’s Rishabh Pant over Quinton de Kock of South Africa as the wicket-keeper due to his ability to swing the game in his team’s favour.

Further, the 43-year-old picked the top three highest wicket-takers of the WTC – Australia pacer Pat Cummins, India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and England seasmer Stuart Broad.

Cummins also ranked as the best Test bowler in the ICC’s rankings, whereas Ashwin has a rich experience with 409 scalps in the red-ball format and can chip in essential runs when needed.

Chopra took New Zealand’s Tim Southee as his last man since the latter has bagged the fifth-highest wickets (51) in the WTC cycle.

Aakash Chopra’s team of the World Test Championship: Rohit Sharma, Dimuth Karunaratne, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Williamson (c), Ben Stokes, Rishabh Pant, Pat Cummins, Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Broad, Tim Southee

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