Though he was not playing, yet Sanjay Manjrekar was a key part of the Cricket World Cup 2019. He sparked perhaps the tournament’s biggest off-field controversy when he called Ravindra Jadeja a “bits and pieces” cricketer only to be slammed back by the spinner all-rounder.
Jadeja lashed at the former India batsman saying he has had enough of the latter’s “verbal diarrhoea” and the episode earned Manjrekar a massive backlash from the fans. Even the issue had an impact on Manjrekar’s relation with former England captain Michael Vaughan who the Indian had blocked for teasing him with the ‘bits and pieces’ tweet.
Though the World Cup got over last Sunday, Manjrekar is yet not over with it. The 53-year-old has now come up with his own World Cup XI like many others and conceded that it was not an easy task to do. Speaking on ESPNcricinfo, Manjrekar picked three Indians, two Englishmen, Australians and New Zealanders and one Pakistani and Bangladeshi in his XI.
He picked both Rohit Sharma and India captain Virat Kohli who failed to make a lot of World Cup XIs this time perhaps because of his under-achievement with the bat while Kane Williamson was preferred by Manjrekar as the skipper of his team.
Manjrekar picked Jason Roy and Rohit as his openers
He picked Jason Roy and Rohit as the openers. Both had a great World Cup with Roy particularly playing a big role towards the business end and Rohit hitting five centuries. At No.3, Manjrekar picked Bangladesh left-arm all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan who had a special World Cup with the bat and also picked up 11 wickets. He was a sensation at No.3 for his country in this tournament and amassed over 600 runs with two hundreds.
Kohli next came in at No.4. He scored 443 runs in this World Cup to end up as the second-highest scorer for India after Rohit (648) but could not make a single hundred. He still made five consecutive fifties and averaged over 55. At No.5, Williamson came in who also succeeded with his bat in this World Cup with 578 runs and picking the man of the series award.
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At No.6, Manjrekar went for Australia wicket-keeper Alex Carey who played some impressive and gutsy knocks to collect 375 runs and effected 20 dismissals. The former India batsman then surprised all by opting for Kiwi spinner Mitchell Santner at No.7. Santner though got only six wickets but bowled at an impressive average of below five. Manjrekar particularly praised the left-arm spinner for his show against India in the semi-finals.
Manjrekar chose tournament topper Mitchell Starc (27 scalps), Jofra Archer, Pakistan sensation Shaheen Afridi and the consistent Jasprit Bumrah as the four seamers in the side.
Sanjay Manjrekar’s World Cup XI:
Rohit Sharma, Jason Roy, Shakib Al Hasan, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Alex Carey, Mitchell Santner, Mitchell Starc, Jasprit Bumrah, Jofra Archer, Shaheen Afridi.
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