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All-Time IPL XI

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One of the most important parts of the IPL is actually completed months in advance. The auction presents an opportunity for the team management to ensure that they go into the league with a formidable squad.

Without any budgetary constraints nor fierce bidding from rival franchises, let us try to select a group of players who can deliver consistently and help the side to glory. Since the tournament regulations allow only four overseas players in the eleven, the team composition has to be done accordingly.

Note: The author's pick is subjective and all statistics (which do not include the Champions League matches) are as of 01 May, 2016.

Chris_Gayle_West_Indies_cricket_IPLThe Opening Salvo: Combining aggression with assurance

It is no coincidence that majority of the best batsmen in the IPL have all batted at the top of the order. A combination of newer balls and truer pitches make batting easier in the Power Play overs. In order to post mammoth totals, the opening combination must have the durability to play long innings.

Gautam_Gambhir_cricket_India_Kolkata_Knight_Riders_KKR_IPLOne of those spots is fairly easy with Chris Gayle towering above everyone else in the IPL. Be it butchering bowling attacks mercilessly or getting off to a flier, the man seems to find the time to do everything. No one comes close to his 5 tournament centuries nor his reputation.

An ideal foil for the Jamaican would be a gritty character who can rotate the strike from ball one and pace his innings with precision. The diminutive Gautam Gambhir fits the bill perfectly as he offers stability and also because his play against spinners is almost unmatchable.

Statistics:

Chris Gayle - 3200 Runs from 84 Matches at an Average of 45.07 and Strike-Rate of 152.96

Gautam Gambhir - 3435 Runs from 124 Matches at an Average of 30.94 and Strike-Rate of 124.41

 

Virat_Kohli_India_cricket_Royal_Challengers_Bangalore_RCB_IPLManning the Middle: Ruthlessness is the way to go

The middle-order is the link between the explosiveness of the openers and the knockout punches of the finishers. Often required to provide direction to the innings, it is essential for them to be dynamic in their approach.

Rohit_Sharma_India_cricket_talentDespite a middling start as a teenager, Virat Kohli has stamped his authority as one of the best ever in the shortest format. The staggering part of his batting is the sheer inevitability with which he scores runs.

Rohit Sharma might have gone to the next level as an opening batsman. However, everything started in the middle-order for the elegant batsman. He was an instrumental part of Deccan Chargers' victorious campaign in 2009 by using his calm demeanor to navigate tricky situations.

Statistics:

Virat Kohli - 3518 Runs from 129 Matches at an Average of 34.83 and Strike-Rate of 126.41

Rohit Sharma - 3768 Runs from 137 Matches at an Average of 34.25 and Strike-Rate of 132.11

 

Chennai_Super_Kings_CSK_IPL_MS_Dhoni_Suresh_Raina_Dwayne_BravoFinishing with a Flourish: Unfazed by the escalating pressure

Normally called in to bat when the situation demands a move on, the lower middle-order can be subjected to immense pressure. An uncluttered mindset and vast experience are absolute necessities. Whether it is ending the innings on a high or getting the team home during a difficult chase, the stakes are pretty high.

Across every season, Suresh Raina has been supremely consistent with the bat. The presence of a left-hander coming down the order is also an added bonus. Besides being an excellent fielder, he can chip in with his part-time off-spin as well.

MS Dhoni is extremely destructive during the business stage of a contest with his unflappable temperament and monstrous hitting. Needless to say, the wicket-keeper batsman takes up the mantle of captaincy due to his unparalleled leadership resume.

Statistics:

Suresh Raina - 3927 Runs from 140 Matches at an Average of 33.85 and Strike-Rate of 139.05

MS Dhoni -  3132 Runs from 137 Matches at an Average of 39.15 and Strike-Rate of 139.07

 

Sunil_Narine_West_Indies_Cricket_IPLSpinning like a Top:  Tying everyone in knots

Contrary to the preconceived notion, spinners have thrived enormously in Twenty20 cricket. The responsibilities also include operating during the first six overs or even sometimes bowling at the end of an innings.

Sunil Narine is a lock-in because of his knack to strike regularly without compromising on economy. Despite possessing numerous variations, he has impeccable control which makes him a force to be reckoned with.

Amit_Mishra_India_cricket_IPLAmit Mishra is the other half of the spinning department with his attacking instinct and classical leg-spin. The 33-year old has always been a notch above any other Indian spinner in the competition by performing time and again.

Statistics:

Sunil Narine - 80 Wickets from 60 Matches at an Average of 17.98 and Economy-Rate of 6.04

Amit Mishra - 119 Wickets from 104 Matches at an Average of 22.76 and Economy-Rate of 7.24

 

Lasith_Malinga_Sri_Lanka_cricket_IPLFlying in Full Throttle: Reliable under any situation

Being a fast bowler in a T20 match entails one to swing the new ball and prevent batsmen from swinging their bat in the end overs. Summoned to bowl when the team desperately needs a breakthrough, the seamers have no choice but to respond.

Dwayne Bravo is one of those bowlers who might not seem threatening. However, he gets the job done with his canny assortment of deliveries. Aside from being able to hold his own during the middle-overs which is rare for a seam bowler, Bravo is also a match-winner with the bat.

Ashish_Nehra_India_cricket_Chennai_Super_KingsOne of the best death bowlers in the world, Lasith Malinga is a prized commodity in T20s. Landing one yorker after one another, the curly-haired pacer keeps coming at the batsmen without any clemency. He is potent in the Power Play as well which makes him a rare package.

Offering a left-armer's angle and completing the bowling attack is Ashish Nehra. One of the most underrated pace-men in India, the veteran is an effective opening bowler with his natural seam position. He is quite useful to have in the latter part of the innings too.

Statistics:

Dwayne Bravo - 115 Wickets from 99 Matches at an Average of 22.14 and Economy-Rate of 8.18

Lasith Malinga - 143 Wickets from 98 Matches at an Average of 17.80 and Economy-Rate of 6.67

Ashish Nehra - 91 Wickets from 77 Matches at an Average of 23.87 and Economy-Rate of 7.76

Final XI: Chris Gayle, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (WK) (C), Dwayne Bravo, Amit Mishra, Lasith Malinga, Sunil Narine, Ashish Nehra.

 

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Ram Kumar is passionate about all sports, especially cricket. His favorite cricketers include Rahul...

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