The final of the IPL’s second season was a dream come true for the Chargers and the Challengers. The challenge of Bangalore may have fallen flat against the voltage of the Deccan side, but anything beyond the group stage itself was a moral victory for both sides.
Talking of dreams, here is my dream IPL team (in batting order):
1) Adam Gilchrist: I thought about this team when the semi-finalist were spotted but could not finalise on the captain’s choice. The final win for Gilly’s Chargers has settled that debate. No questions on his 29 sixes and batting abilities though.
2) Mathew Hayden: Again, no brainer on the highest run-scorer of the tournament.
3) Suresh Raina: Not only is he an ideal No 3, his bowling style can be pretty effective and more so if he gets starting to work on it more consistently.
4) Tillakaratne Dilshan: With two Australians already filling up the first two of four premium spots for foreigners (but no, I am not in favour of Buchanan’s plea to have more), Dilshan won the cap from Andrew Symonds as well as AB de Villiers and others because of his versatility and work ethics.
5) Yuvraj Singh: Even though he did not have much to boast about, his six sixes will be legendary for now. And two hat-tricks put the doubts to rest.
6) Rohit Sharma: Like Yuvraj, his batting genius cannot be ignored nor the bowling impetus which started with a hat-trick. From No 3 to 6, it is also a formidable fielding ring of terror for the batting side.
7) Yusuf Pathan: His explosive batting make him difficult to relate him to the No 7 slot but he could move up the order in case the situation needs for some pinch-hitting. Also his bowling abilities were absent this year but he is no greenhorn with his offspinners.
8 ) Shane Warne: The choice for the spin specialist was between Amit Amishra, Anil Kumble and Muthiah Muralitharan but the leg-spinner had his nose ahead for his batting and fielding advantage over others.
9) Praveen Kumar: The all-rounder pick was very difficult and a virtual toss-up with Irfan Pathan. The “instinctive” selector in me however said Praveen Kumar was more tough in attitude and can double up as a part-time opener if the need arises to change strategy for the heck of it, say like Gilchrist needs rest after a strenuous stint behind the stumps.
10) Munaf Patel: After two marathon sessions of IPL, the analyst can safely say that every dot ball has the potential to create more pressure than Symonds’ sledging or the fall of a wicket. Hence miserly bowlers have their own place.
11) Ashish Nehra: This may be unfair to RP Singh, the highest wicket-taker, but along with Munaf, Nehra fits the bill for a balance of economy and wickets.
Substitutes: Herschelle Gibbs (batsman), MS Dhoni (wk, captain), Irfan Pathan (all-rounder), Muralitharan (spinner), Dirk Nannes (fast bowler)
PS: The old guard has banished another myth that the T20 format is for the young legs. So here is a Oldies XI 😉 with a criteria of 30+ age and no limit on foreigners:
Adam Gilchrist (Capt, wk), Mathew Hayden, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Symonds, Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Brad Hodge, Shane Warne, Muthiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Glenn McGrath