Neither Tendulkar nor Dravid – Aakash Chopra picks an “unpopular choice” as the greatest Test batsman of 21st century

Aakash Chopra named Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara, Sachin Tendulkar and Sir Alastair Cook as the six contenders.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra

Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra recently picked the greatest batsman of the 21st century in a recent video uploaded on his Youtube channel.

The 43-year-old named as many six batsmen as the contenders for this majestic accolade. However, he didn’t mention modern-day greats like Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Joe Root in his list.

He began his list with none other than ‘The Wall’ of Indian cricket, Rahul Dravid. He smashed 9966 runs at an outstanding average of 52 in the 124 matches in the ongoing century. Dravid also recorded 28 Test hundreds in this period which makes him the first option in this list. 

“Let me start with Rahul Dravid. He is colossal, he is a giant. He is remembered for some iconic moments, Rawalpindi – 270, Adelaide – double century and 70-odd, Eden Gardens – an equally important knock as Laxman. He is the only Indian to score four centuries in consecutive innings, out of which three came in England.”

One of the greatest all-rounders of all time, Jacques Kallis was placed at the second spot in Chopra’s list of contenders for the greatest batsman of the 21st century. The South African giant amassed 10660 runs in 123 matches at an average of 59, which included 38 centuries as well.

“After that, Jacques Kallis, he is another giant. The best thing about him is that batting is really tough in South Africa. He has an average of 62 at home and 60 in Asia. He has scored 1000+ runs in a year in Tests five times.”

At number three, the cricketer-turned-commentator named former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting. The Kangaroo cricketer scored 10968 runs in 130 matches at an average of 53 which also included 34 hundreds.

“Ricky Ponting, third-highest run-scorer in the 21st century. The average is 60 at home with 19 centuries. He has also scored 1000+ runs in a year in Tests on five occasions.”

Aakash Chopra names the remaining three batsmen

Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, who scored 12226 runs in 130 matches at an average of 58 along with 38 centuries, found fourth place in Chopra’s list.

“Kumar Sangakkara is a left-handed genius. Second-highest run-scorer in the 21st century. He has an average of 49 in SENA countries, 62.5 at home. He has also scored 1000+ runs in a year in Tests five times.”

Another batting maestro from India, Sachin Tendulkar was there in Aakash Chopra’s fantasy list. Master Blaster went on to score 9505 runs in 121 matches at an average of 51, including 27 tons in the 21st century.

“Sachin Tendulkar – an average of 58 in Australia, an average of 55 in South Africa, an average of 45 in England. Away average and hundreds are more than those at home. He just carried the team on his shoulders for a long time although things started to change in the 21st century.”

The former cricketer ended his list with England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer, Sir Alastair Cook. With 12472 runs at an average of 45, including 33 centuries, Cook emerged as the final pick in Chopra’s list of some of the greatest batsmen.

“The sixth name I have kept is Alastair Cook, the highest run-scorer in the 21st century. It is slightly difficult as an opener in England. He has an average of 48 in Australia and 51 in India. He has also scored 1000+ runs in a year in Tests on five occasions.”

The Agra-born signed off while picking SA’s Jacques Kallis as the greatest batsman of the 21st century. Chopra acknowledged that it was a difficult call to make and he’s picking a slightly “unpopular choice”.

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