Aakash Chopra

One of the many openers tried by India to balance out the charisma of one Virender Sehwag at the other end, Aakash Chopra was a classical opener: the bait batsman sent into play out the new ball, and dead-bat the shine off it to make life easier for the emperors of batting in the middle-order.

A knee injury kept him out of the side at the end of the 2002/03 season, but Chopra impressed everyone in the brief 2-Test home affair against New Zealand and was picked for the historic tour of Australia in 2003/04 – India’s final frontier. A series remembered more for Dravid’s heroics and Sehwag’s pyrotechnics, Aakash Chopra played the unsung hero of the tour which saw India come as close as they ever have to a Test series win in Australia. Chopra failed to get past 50 in 8 innings, but therein lies the importance of assessing top-order players qualitatively in a world that demands statistics. His primary function was to see off the new ball and build a solid platform worked well with Sehwag, helping him whack the leather off it at the other end, and therefore he was a vital cog in India’s retention of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia in 2003/04.

Unfortunately, the lack of big scores and aggressive shots to back his solid technique, and his apparently one-dimensional game, meant that India would look at more aggressive options such as Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif going forward, and Aakash Chopra became a chronic fringe player in the Indian dressing room. He was made the scapegoat after an unimpressive performance in the home series against Australia, and Gautam Gambhir was picked in his stead. Chopra continued to work on his game, and three years since, he was picked for India’s A tour of South Africa where he scored an unbeaten double century.

Chopra continued his blistering run of form with 783 runs in the 2007/08 Ranji season and Delhi won the title as well, but it was a time when India’s focus was youth, and they had a stable opening combination in Sehwag and Gambhir. Given that, even 310 runs in the Duleep Trophy, and helping North Zone to victory could not redeem Chopra’s international career. The stoic opener finally called it quits and was signed by the Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural IPL of 2008. After failing to perform with the bat in a youth-dominated league, Chopra figured that this wasn’t his cup of tea, and retired from all forms of cricket. He is now a well-known critic, commentator and author as he continues to spread his knowledge of the game.

Source by : https://www.cricbuzz.com/profiles/257/aakash-chopra

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