Sourav Ganguly has been in the news lately for his analysis of the effectiveness of MS Dhoni in T20 cricket and while his opinions may have attracted widespread reactions, the fact remains that the former Indian skipper seldom speaks out without any thought and that there are few in the game with a sharper tactical brain.
Hence, when the CAB president sits down to pick his fantasy XI for the ongoing league there are bound to be some pretty intense brain picking involved. After having been a hugely successful captain, Ganguly continues to captivate audiences with his sharp and blunt thoughts pertaining to the game.
Even during this season of the IPL, he has been very vocal about the composition of different teams and has also suggested different ways and means teams could go about their business. Thus, his XI which he picks has to be well-thought out and one that is bound to evoke plenty of interest.
As openers, Ganguly has picked Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir, which is an indication of his philosophy which is aggressive and yet there is a method to its madness. While Kohli has not set the stage on fire, there are few who would not want the RCB skipper in their squad.
Gambhir, on the other hand, has been in glittering form and has been slaying bowlers all over and hence his surprise should not be a surprise.
The left-right combination at the top is an ideal and both have the ability to take the attack to the bowlers and also to play for the long haul.
Australian captain Steve Smith will walk in at number 3 followed by AB de Villiers at number 4. Young Nitish Rana will bat at number 5.
The middle order looks solid as Smith has been in irresistible form lately and de Villiers simply walks into any team irrespective of the conditions.
Rana has been the find of the season so far and has forced everyone to sit up and take notice of his immense ability and promise. In 8 matches so far, he has scored 266 runs at an average of 38 and with a strike rate of 135.02. He has the strokes at his disposal to play the role of a finisher.
Rana is followed by Manish Pandey, who has been in sparkling form for the Kolkata Knight Riders this season.
The last recognised batsman in the side would be young Delhi batter, Rishabh Pant who has been brilliant right through the Domestic season and his character and on-field temperament shines out.
The seamers include Chris Morris who has been one of the best finishers in the league with the bat too. He will be given company by Bhuvneshwar Kumar who currently dons the purple cap.
The spinners in his side include Sunil Narine and Amit Mishra. Narine has been a revelation with the bat as well and this adds further depth to the batting.
The final squad:
Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir, Steven Smith, AB de Villiers, Nitish Rana, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Sunil Narine, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Chris Morris