Not Virat Kohli or David Warner! Suresh Raina picks ex-DC skipper as opener of all-time IPL XI - WATCH

March 21,2023

The 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League is set to start in just a little more than a couple of weeks' time. The opening match of IPL 2023 will be played on March 31 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad between the defending champion Gujarat Titans and the four-time champion Chennai Super Kings. This year’s edition of the IPL will be the 16th season of the world’s richest franchise cricket league, and in the last 15 years, many legendary players from all around the globe have featured in the IPL and made a big name for themselves. While the likes of Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Chris Gayle, and Ab de Villiers made the IPL the brand it is today, players like Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Andre Russell, and Sunil Narine became household names because of their superb performances in it over all these years.

The upcoming season of IPL promises to be an even bigger spectacle than what we have seen to date. And ahead of the start of the 16th edition, many former Indian players like Suresh Raina, Robin Uthappa, Parthiv Patel, Pragyan Ojha, RP Singh, and Aakash Chopra came together to pick the two opening batters of the IPL’s all-time playing XI. While over all these years, many star opening batters have featured in the IPL and made big names for themselves by scoring hundreds of runs, but when Raina was asked to pick his two opening batters, he snubbed Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, and Rohit Sharma, who are among the top-four leading run getters in the IPL and openers as well, and instead picked a former Delhi Capitals skipper as the opening batter alongside Chris Gayle.

The second opening that Raina picked along with Gayle was none other than former Indian opener Virender Sehwag, who led the Delhi Capitals (formerly the Delhi Daredevils) in multiple seasons. According to Raina, who is fifth on the all-time list of leading run scorers, he picked Gayle and Sehwag because of the impact they create in the first six overs.

"Mere liye Chris Gayle aur Viru paa. Kyuki jo impact hota hai naa, David Warner ne acha kiya, pr mujhe lagta hai ki jo domination chahiye hoti hai naa powerplay mein, vo Chris Gayle aur Virender Sehwag se acha aur koi nahi kar skta. Over the years, humne dekha hai ki Chris Gayle kab se khel raha hai, aur Viru paa jaise attacking itne saal khele hai. 6 overs mein agar run banana hai to inse best batsman nahi hai koi IPL mein (For me, Chris Gayle, and Virender Sehwag. David Warner has done well, but for the impact that is needed in the IPL, I don’t think anybody can do it better than Gayle and Sehwag. Over the years we have seen how they have performed, and if you want to make runs in the first six overs, then there’s no one better than these two)," Raina said on Jio Cinema.

Ojha, who was also part of the discussion, retained Sehwag as his opener, but instead of Gayle, he picked Warner, whereas Uthapaa and Parthiv picked Kohli over Sehwag as Gayle’s partner.