‘Very difficult to pick him’

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Former India spin wizard Anil Kumble made a rather bold call as he decided to leave AB de Villiers out of his all-time Indian Premier League (IPL) XI. Kumble further explained excluding de Villiers as he included 2011 World Cup-winning captain and four-time IPL winner MS Dhoni ahead of the South Africa legend.

Both Dhoni and de Villiers established themselves as lethal hitters of the cricket ball during their playing careers with trademark shots associated with their names. While de Villiers is widely regarded as ‘Mr. 360’ for his sensational ability to score runs to all corners of the ground, Dhoni, on the other hand, was the pioneer of the ‘helicopter shot’ and a match-finisher. 

Chris Gayle, Suresh Raina, Scott Styris, Parthiv Patel, Robin Uthappa, and Anil Kumble during a two-part episode – ‘Legends Lounge’ on JioCinema had to select an all-time IPL XI. During the segment, Kumble expressed that it would be ‘difficult’ to pick the former Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) star over the CSK skipper.

“It is very difficult to get AB de Villiers in my team because MS Dhoni comes in at five as captain and wicket keeper and (Kieron) Pollard at six. I would look at the impact the particular player has had at No. 6 in terms of winning matches from difficult positions and of course, titles is something that I looked at as well, at No. 6,” said Kumble.

It is worth noting that de Villiers is the sixth-highest run-scorer in the history of the cash-rich league. In 184 outings and 170 innings, the swashbuckling right-hander amassed 5,162 runs at an average of 39.71 with his highest score being 133 runs in a single innings. In any case, the South African great’s contributions to the sport have never gone unnoticed and he is among the players regarded as one of the best by many fans and members of the cricketing fraternity.

The all-time IPL XI chosen by the legends: Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Hardik Pandya, Sunil Narine, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga.

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