Exactly a week later, the fourteenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will get underway in Chennai. On April 9, the reigning champions Mumbai Indians (MI) will lock horns with Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the opening game of the competition.
Ahead of the mega fixture of the cash-rich league, former South Africa captain and a back-bone of RCB, AB de Villiers, has picked his all-time IPL XI. The 37-year-old started the proceedings by naming the openers in the form of veteran Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag and MI captain Rohit Sharma.
De Villiers said he started his IPL career with Delhi Capitals (then Delhi Daredevils), and hence he would choose Sehwag as the No. 1 opener. The Proteas superstar went with Rohit as Sehwag’s partner, stating that the Mumbaikar has played some of the best cricket in the world in the last five years.
“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 a chat.
De Villiers picked RCB skipper Kohli for the number three position, but he wasn’t sure about the next spot. Challengers’ spinal column looked confused between choosing himself, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson for number four.
“Then obviously Virat at No. 3, followed by I’d say either Williamson, or Smith, or myself… these are the two replacements,” added De Villiers.
For the leadership role, De Villiers went with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni before picking Ben Stokes as an all-rounder in his team. The South African cricket icon named Rashid Khan and Ravindra Jadeja as two spinners, while for the pacers he selected Kagiso Rabada, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
“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,” concluded De Villiers.
Here is AB de Villiers’ all-time IPL XI:
Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers/Kane Williamson/Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kagiso Rabada, Rashid Khan, Jasprit Bumrah.