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Shane Warne's IPL XI: No room for Tendulkar, couple of surprise picks

MS Dhoni (CSK)

Arguably the greatest spinner to grace the game, Shane Warne invited several verbal volleys on social media as he picked his best all-time IPL XI on Instagram Live which did not include ‘Mr. IPL’ Suresh Raina and Sachin Tendulkar.


However, there was a catch in his election. The Australian legend considered only those players for selection with whom he played during his stint in the tournament. And, he chose from only Indian players. The spinner had a super successful stint as captain of the Rajasthan Royals franchise and also led them to title victory in the inaugural edition of the league in 2008.


As Warne played his last IPL game in 2011, some of the younger lot like the Pandya brothers, Kuldeep Yadav and others who made their IPL debut post Warne's retirement were not considered for selection.


Warne picked Rohit Sharma and Virender Sehwag as the two openers. Though Rohit doesn't have that great a record as IPL opener, his international numbers make him an obvious choice. Virender Sehwag, one of the most explosive batsmen of his time, is also a no brainer.


 Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli may not have been successful enough to take his team to a title win yet but his numbers as a number three batsman are unquestioned. Warne even went a step further by saying, "Viv Richards is the best batsman I have ever seen. Tendulkar and Lara are the two best I have played with and now across all formats, I reckon Virat is just the best. Tough to imagine anyone better than Viv, but Virat is pushing that conversation.”


He also made a personal pick at number four, which many might not agree with. The reason that the legend gave of picking Yusuf Pathan at number four is:


“Great opportunity came up in 2008 when I got the time to play for Royals and coach them. I have the players who had the most impact when I played the tournament. It is just about those years in which I was involved in the IPL. Pathan scored a brilliant century against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede, he also played a memorable knock in the finals of the inaugural season.”


While interacting on Instagram Live, Warne picked Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the number five batsman and wicketkeeper, which not many would contest.


Interestingly, he picked Ravindra Jadeja ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin as one of the two spinners alongside Harbhajan Singh. Possibly, Jadeja's batting ability saw him edge the off spinner. Also, as Jadeja was part of the RR franchise, that may have also earned him a few extra points.


 Talking of extra points, Warne surprisingly included Siddharth Trivedi in his XI. The former RR pacer had once picked up the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya during a match against Mumbai Indians. Trivedi played 76 IPL games from 2008 to 2013 and picked up 65 wickets.


It is worth highlighting that Rajasthan Royals' only win of the tournament came in their inaugural season when Warne was their skipper. The leg-spinning was tough to combat even in his later days as he has 57 wickets to his credit from 55 IPL games.


Completing his three-man pace attack, Warne picked Munaf Patel (another surprise pick) and Zaheer Khan as the spearheads of the bowling line-up.


Notably, Sachin Tendulkar and ‘Mr. IPL’ Suresh Raina have been left out of Warne's team. Sachin opened the batting for Mumbai Indians and in Rohit Sharma and Virender Sehwag, he has picked up objectively more explosive options.


The move to not pick Raina though is a strange one as he is the first and only player to have scored over 400 runs in seven consecutive (2008–2014) IPL seasons. With 5368 from 193 games, Raina is the second-highest all-time run-scorer in the league's history.


Warne’s IPL XI: Rohit Sharma, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Siddharth Trivedi, Munaf Patel


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