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No Kohli, Babar in Shoaib Akhtar’s all-time ODI XI

By Bet Barter

July 18, 2021

Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar is very active on social media. The veteran owns a YouTube channel where he gives expert opinions on various cricket related stuff. The ‘Rawalpindi Express’ recently revealed his all-time ODI XI. While the team looks a bulky bull, exclusion of two modern day greats -Virat Kohli and Babar Azam has raised several eyebrows. Virat Kohli is arguably the greatest limited-overs batsman while Babar is also on the way to greatness.

Akhtar’s ODI XI includes as many as eight players from India and Pakistan, two from Australia and one from West Indies. Akhtar selected Gordon Greenidge and Sachin Tendulkar as openers. Tendulkar is widely regarded as one of the best to have graced the cricket field while Gordon Greenidge dominated West Indies’ batting in the 70s and 80s.

At No. 3 and 4, Akhtar went with Inzamam-ul-Haq and Saeed Anwar. The Pakistan veterans need to introduction. Both formed the core of Pakistan batting during their dominant run in the late 90s and early 2000s. While Anwar played most of his cricket as an opener, Akhtar feels the southpaw is best suited at No. 4.

Akhtar explained this strange call in a chat with Sportskeeda. “People might be surprised by seeing Saeed Bhai in the middle but in today’s day, he would have murdered the bowlers.”

At 5, comes former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, followed by destructive Australian Adam Gilchrist. The veteran picked Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh at 7. Akhtar appreciated the contribution of the southpaw during his prime as a batter.  

Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Kapil Dev, and Shane Warne comprise a lethal attack of Akhtar’s XI. The pacer named Shane Warne as the skipper of the team and hailed Dev as ‘the greatest fast-bowler.’