Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has named his World Cup playing XI and there are a number of surprising picks in his side. While Virat Kohli is the only Indian in the team, there is no place for Sachin Tendulkar or MS Dhoni.
There is little doubt over the inclusion of Virat Kohli in Afridi's XI as he is perhaps the greatest ODI batsman in recent times. But there is bound to be a great deal of surprise over the exclusion of Tendulkar and Dhoni. Sachin, who has featured in six editions of the quadrennial event, has scored 2278 runs in 44 innings at an average of 56.95 with 16 half-centuries and six centuries. He has been the leading run-scorer in 1999 and 2003 and was one of the the key men behind India's surge in 2011 also.
Afridi's World Cup playing XI:
Saeed Anwar, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Virat Kohli, Inzamam ul-Haq, Jacques Kallis, Wasim Akram, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain Mushtaq
Dhoni, on the other hand, has won everything possible as India's captain, and is arguably the greatest finisher in ODI cricket. He led India to triumphs in 2011 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy and in 2007 World T20. After struggling for a while, Mahi has regained his form in the recent past and remains one of the key members of this Indian side.
India captain Virat Kohli has reiterated that he still thinks Dhoni remains invaluable to the side and will be critical to India's hopes in the upcoming World Cup.
"He (MS Dhoni) is one person who knows the game inside out, who understands the game from ball 1 to ball 300 on the field," Kohli told India Today in an interview last month.
"I won't say it is a luxury to have him but I am fortunate to have a mind like that from behind the stumps. At the end of the day, I want to be involved in strategy with the team management with Mahi bhai and Rohit (Sharma)," the skipper further added.
Afridi also spoke about Pakistan's World Cup squad and said that personally, he would miss Mohammad Amir because of his suitability to English conditions and Wahab Riaz due to his pace. However, he did express the hope that Pakistan goes all the way and wins the trophy.