Six Pakistanis and five Indians in Aakash Chopra's Dream India-Pakistan XI
Chopra names his India-Pakistan XI after Akhtar's proposal to organise a series for Covid-19 relief
Aakash Chopra may have played only 10 Test matches for India, but the opening batsman will always be remembered for his dogged determination that helped Virender Sehwag cause mayhem at the other end.
Remember Sehwag's 195 at the MCG on the opening day of the 2003 Boxing Day Test? And his 309 in Multan few months later?
While Sehwag's unconventional technique and uncluttered mind gave jaw-dropping moments, Chopra's resilience at the other end was crucial as the two shared 141 runs in Melbourne and 160 runs in Multan for the opening wicket.
Chopra couldn't go on to cement his place as Sehwag's regular opening partner, but the former Delhi player is now a celebrated commentator who has 3.8 million followers on Facebook.
And on Friday -- just a day after Kapil Dev had rejected Shoaib Akhtar's proposal to organise an India-Pakistan series to raise funds for Covid-19 relief -- Chopra announced his all-time India-Pakistan ODI XI.
"These two countries have produced so many great players. If there was no partition, what a team it would have been," Chopra said.
So who are his openers?
For starters, Sehwag is not going to partner Sachin Tendulkar, though, in Chopra's Dream XI.
"I thought of Sehwag and Saeed Anwar, but I would go with Rohit Sharma," he said.
At number three, Chopra has another Indian, Virat Kohli, who according to Shane Warne, is challenging Viv Richards's status as the greatest one-day batsman of all time.
"There shouldn't be any question about the number three. Kohli has to be at three," Chopra said.
Kohli is followed by two Pakistanis who occupy the number four and five spots - Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul Haq.
"Inzamam was the real Sultan of Multan. When we were in Multan for the 2004 Test, he gave t-shirts made in his factory to the Indian players as a token of love. But Inzamam is not in this team for that. He is in because he was an absolute runaway match-winner," Chopra smiled.
MS Dhoni completes the India-dominated batting line up in Chopra's team, but it's in the bowling department that Pakistan expectedly flexed its muscles.
And Chopra has the iconic Imran Khan as the captain of his team. At number eight, Imran's great rival Kapil Dev would add more all-round power to this incredible team.
Then Chopra has the two W's -- left-arm magician Wasim Akram at number nine and the deadly toe-crusher Waqar Younis.
The lone spinner in Chopra's team is Saqlain Mushtaq.
"And I have Yuvraj Singh as my 12th man," Chopra concluded.
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