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Which does not mean that the XI is picked based blindly on the top ranked players, but it is also subject to filling in the batting slots they fill and other relevant points.

We can go on and go on but let us quickly get down to the XI before we get into beating around the bush and realize IPL season 2 is upon us.

Opening Batsmen

Shaun Marsh (567.11, Rank 1) and
Jayasuriya (393.76, Rank 3)

There is no questioning what Shaun Marsh is doing in the XI, but a valid question would be why Jayasuriya precedes Gambhir (at 405.98, the number 2 batsmen in the IPL). It is a tough call and can certainly be debated, but broadly the reasons are that to partner a fairly steady and consistent Marsh, the explosive and 11-sixes-in-an-innings Jayasuriya may be a better option than Gambhir, who is an aggressive batsman but surely can't match Jayasuriya when it comes to exploring outer space.

The Middle Order

Sangakkara (380.70, Rank 5)
Raina (255.44, Rank 13)
Sharma (345.79, Rank 7)
Watson (352.33, Rank 6)
Yousuf Pathan (328.97, Rank 9)

It is a toss up between Sanga and Gilly (Rank 4, 385), with the only factor swinging it in the Lankan's favour is the position in the batting order. Watson, Pathan and Sharma pretty much pick themselves given their ranks and points, and given that there can probably be no better number 6/7 than Yousuf, whose big-hitting is an all-season asset.

Raina is the one player who is not in the top 10 batsmen and still makes it to the XI. This is primarily because the batsmen he skips over include Sehwag, Dhawan (both openers, with shifting Dhawan down the order not working too well for Delhi), Hussey and McCullum (both having played too few games to be fully judged. Hussey has enough international pedigree to over-ride that but, well, he is kinda boring, so.....)

The Bowling

Warne (37.11, Rank 6)
Tanvir (43, Rank 1)
Mishra (41.20, Rank 2)
Gul (40.22, Rank 3)

Warne isn't in the top five but picks himself as a captain, and adds tremendous charisma to the side. The alternative from the top 5 would be Fernando, and the most entertaining thing he has done is bumble the run-outs against Rajasthan in a valiant attempt to set up a bowl-out for the pleasure of the audience, which sadly backfired on Mumbai. Besides it would make the attack too pace-oriented, with Watson also in the side.

The rest of the three bowlers are the top 3 bowlers anyway. There is a case for Mahroof (38.58, Rank 5) to be picked over Gul, since Gul has only played 6 matches while Mahroof has maintained his standards over 10 games, and he can also bat. So that is a position open to debate.

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