Aakash Chopra rates current Test opening pairs, his top pick is a surprise

Tags: India, Aakash Chopra

Published on: Jul 31, 2020

Former India opener turned analyst Aakash Chopra recently discussed about the best opening pairs in Test cricket currently. Opening is considered one of the most challenging jobs in Test cricket. Over the years, Hayden-Langer, Smith-Gibbs and Sehwag-Gambhir have been highly successful openers for their respective countries.

Speaking of the current lot, Chopra sprang a surprise by picking New Zealand's unheralded duo of Tom Latham and Tom Blundell as the best openers in the Test format.

“They are good because they average 47.14. And they have scored a lot of runs at home, with the New Zealand conditions being tough. Latham averages 52.9 and Blundell 41.3.

“Blundell also had a very good tour to Australia. We can call this pair fairly decent. Tom Latham has scored runs in India as well while Blundell didn’t come here,” Chopra said while speaking on his Youtube channel.

Commenting on the Indian pair of Mayank Agarwal and Rohit Sharma, Chopra added that they have done a very good job. However, since they have just started playing together, it will be too early to term them the best.

“It is a new partnership and it is growing. They have done a good job in the limited opportunities. They have an average of almost 70 together with Rohit averaging 73.6 and Mayank 57.3. These are fairly good numbers.

“But what goes against them is that they have not played together outside India. When we went to New Zealand, Mayank had Prithvi Shaw as the partner as Rohit was not there, and before that Rohit was not being made to open. Mayank was fairly decent but we have not seen Rohit as an opener overseas,” Chopra explained.

The 42-year-old is highly impressed with the partnership of the Aussie pair of Joe Burns and David Warner. “They have actually done a decent job. They have a partnership average of 65.4 with Warner averaging 55.1 and Burns 41.8. So, it’s not too bad at all. But are they the best at the moment? Warner coming to India - no way. Burns when he comes, we will see.

“I personally feel that they are doing good but Warner didn’t have a good Ashes as well. In challenging conditions, you find Warner slightly wanting and Joe Burns is still too young. Till some time back, Marcus Harris was opening for them,” Chopra further added.

The former opener, who briefly made an impression as a dogged batsman, was scathing in his assessment of the South African pair of Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram.

“They have been opening for a long time. Elgar even scored quite a few runs in one match in India. They have an average partnership of 12.53, which you can say is absolutely ridiculous, with a highest partnership of 56. Markram has an individual average of 25.6 while Elgar’s is 29.3. Obviously, when their individual averages are less, the partnership average would also be low,” Chopra added.

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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