Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya in Rashid Khan’s top-5 World T20 XI pick

Charismatic Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan has picked India team captain Virat Kohli and all-rounder Hardik Pandya among his top-five choices he would like to have in his World T20 XI side, even as the 23-year-old did not include himself despite having a flattering record in T20Is.

The other three Rashid Khan top-five picks are, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, South African stalwart AB de Villiers and West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard.

In his praise of Kohli, Rashid said, “(He) doesn’t really depend on the wicket, doesn’t matter whatever the wicket is, he is someone who is going to step up and perform.”

Kohli, who has 10,136 T20 runs at an average of 41.20, will go into his fourth T20 World Cup having been crowned the ‘Player of the Tournament’ at each of the past two events. No one has scored more runs in men’s T20Is than Kohli’s 3,159, and among players who have batted at least 20 times, no one has a better average than his 52.65.

Rashid said he would want both Pandya and Pollard to be in his side simply because they have the ability to chase “80-90 runs in the last 4-5 overs”.

“These two (Pandya and Pollard) will be my key (batters) who can chase 80-90 when I need them in the last four-five overs. They are the kind of batsmen who can do the job for you easily,” said Rashid.

Pandya has been a key cog in India’s T20 batting order since he first appeared for the side in 2016, though he has been laid low by a back problem and did not bowl a single delivery during the IPL Dubai leg for his franchise, Mumbai Indians.

With 2,728 T20 runs at 27.28 and 110 wickets at 27.45, a fully fit Pandya would be an asset, though the selectors are keeping a close watch on whether he’ll be able to bowl at nets before the World Cup.

On AB de Villiers, who has 9,424 runs at 37.24, Rashid said that, “(He is) a destructive batsman. Someone who can give you quick runs at any stage, any wicket, against any bowler and he can play any shot. As a captain, you will always love to have that batsman.”

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