Wicket-keeper batsmen AB De Villiers and MS Dhoni were the best of their time in international cricket and continue to be highly regarded as inspirational icons for budding budding cricketers. Both players ruled the cricket field with their power hitting and signature shots. To cricket experts, De Villiers was Mr. 360 for his sensational ability to punch into corners off the ground and Dhoni was the pioneer of helicopter shooting and a ‘finisher’ who single-handedly won India many matches. South Africa’s De Villiers and India’s Dhoni also captivated the spectators with their legendary skills in the Indian Premier League. While the former has retired from all forms of cricket, Dhoni is still active in the IPL.
Ahead of the IPL 2023 season, former stars of the game – Chris Gayle, Suresh Raina, Scott Styris, Parthiv Patel, Robin Uthappa and Anil Kumble – deliberated hard over a two-part episode – ‘Legends Lounge’ on JioCinema to get an all – time IPL XII. During the discussion before that, the group chose stars Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle as openers. Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma were chosen as the No. 3 and No. 4 respectively.
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As for the No. 5 and No. 6, De Villiers and MS Dhoni were the preferred selections of most in the group. But legendary Indian spinner Kumble surprised everyone and chose Dhoni over De Villiers for the No.5 slot. He actually didn’t choose Mr.360 at all, preferring Kieron Pollard from the West Indies at number 6.
“It is very difficult to get AB de Villiers into my team because MS Dhoni comes in as captain and wicketkeeper at five and Pollard at six. I would look at the impact the specific player has had at No. 6 in terms of winning matches from difficult positions and of course, titles is something I was looking at as well, at No. 6,” said Kumble.
Concurrent with Kumble’s pick, Patel selected Dhoni at number 5, but went ahead with Windies’ power-hitter Andre Russel at number 6. However, after much deliberation, the group decided that De Villiers and Dhoni would be the best match.
At number 7, the group chose all-rounder Hardik Pandya, while West Indies mystery spinner Sunil Narine made the cut at number 8. Yuzvendra Chahal from India was chosen as the second spinner at number 9. Jasprit Bumrah and Sri Lanka legend Lasith Malinga were the consensus picks for No. 10 and No. 11, respectively.