Virat Kohli and Babar Azam are often talked about in the discussions of the best batsman in the T20I format. The duo is known for their consistency with the bat and ability to score runs without any unorthodox shots.
The averages of 50.8 and 50.72 by Virat and Babar respectively are the highest in T20I cricket among the players who have scored over 500 runs. However, without any qualifications, there are quite a few players who have a higher batting average than both these star Asian batsmen.
Here we look at all the non-active players who have a T20I batting average more than both Virat Kohli and Babar:
(Note: Justin Kemp has a T20I batting average of 50.75 which is higher than Babar’s 50.72 but lower than Kohli’s 50.8. Hence, he is not included in this list.)
5. Hiren Varaiya – 51.00
Hiren Varaiya, born in Mumbai, represented Kenya national team between 2006 and 2018 across all formats. The left-arm spinner had quite brilliant numbers in any given format but wasn’t known for his batting. He featured in 25 T20Is for Kenya where he picked 18 wickets at an economy rate of 5.96.
Only Daniel Vettori (5.70) bowled more balls in Men’s T20I cricket at a better economy than Varaiya. The Mumbai-born got to bat in 12 innings where he aggregated 51 runs at an average of 51.
Hiren Varaiya remained unbeaten in 11 of the 12 innings he batted across his 25-match T20I career. The only time he was dismissed in this format was in his last T20I appearance where he scored only two runs. In his penultimate match, he scored an unbeaten 18; his only double-digit score in T20Is. Varaiya remained unbeaten in each of his first 11 T20I innings which is the longest streak without being dismissed for any player in Men’s T20Is.
4. Matthew Hayden – 51.33
The T20I Cricket came quite late for Matthew Hayden to show his dominance as the Australian opener’s efforts in Twenty20 format were restricted to the Indian Premier League. Hayden featured in the first three editions of the IPL for the Chennai Super Kings where he scored 1107 runs across 32 innings. He scored those runs at an average of 36.90 and a strike rate of 137.5.
The left-hander struck eight fifties in his 32-match IPL career and even won the Orange Cap during the 2009 edition hosted by South Africa where he aggregated 572 runs. However, Matthew Hayden got to play only nine matches during his T20I career out of which six games were played during the inaugural edition of the World T20 in 2007. Hayden retired at the start of 2009 but played his last T20I in 2007 only.
The T20I format wasn’t as regular as it has been in the past decade during Hayden’s time. The hefty batsman scored 308 runs at an average of 51.33 and a strike rate of 143.92. During the WT20 alone, Hayden scored 265 runs at 88.33 average with help of four fifties to end as the leading run-getter of the tournament. Only Virat Kohli (2014) has managed to score as many as four fifties in a single edition of T20 World Cup after Hayden.
3. Usman Limbada – 53.00
Usman Limbada was often in and out of the Canada team during the early 2010s. Limbada, who was specialist middle-order batsman, failed to achieve consistency which is why he was never cemented his spot in the Canada team. He played a total of 18 International matches for Canada between 2010 and 2014 – 11 ODIs and seven T20Is.
Limbada played three T20Is in 2010 during the Associate’s tournaments in 2010 but never got a chance to bat. Later, he was part of the 2014 WT20 Qualifier and the lead-up tournaments in 2013 hosted by UAE. Usman featured in four matches with T20I status during that period but got to bat in only three matches; all against Kenya.
He scored 16* and 21* at quick pace batting at No.7 and crawled to 16 off 19 balls before being run-out while batting at No.3. It turned out to be his last appearance in the T20I format. In total, Usman Limbada scored 53 runs across the three matches and was only dismissed once. Usman last played for Canada in 2017 across any format and it seems unlikely he will play a T20I again.
2. Marcus Trescothick – 55.33
Marcus Trescothick was easily England’s greatest batsman in limited-overs cricket until the mid-2010s. The opening batsman was quite consistent and also aggressive at the same time. He last played an international match in 2006, at the age of 30 itself as his career came to an end abruptly due to anxiety. Thus, the left-hander couldn’t play much T20I cricket as the format began only a year before his last international appearance.
However, he was a regular feature in England’s domestic T20 competition which he played until 2015. Trescothick scored 2365 runs from 89 T20 games at an impressive strike rate of 150.60 and also struck a 13-ball fifty. The left-handed batsman featured in a total of three T20I matches; all of them at home.
He made his debut in 2005 against Australia ahead of the home Ashes which was also England’s maiden T20I game. Trescothick scored a 37-ball 41 as England ended up winning the game by a 100-run margin.
Marcus Trescothick later played two T20Is in 2006 – against Sri Lanka and Pakistan respectively. He scored 72 from 58 balls against the Lankans but the home side lost the game by mere two runs. Marcus later scored a 36-ball 53 against the Pakistan team but it also ended up on the losing side. In total, Trescothick scored 166 runs in the three innings at an average of 55.33 that too at a strike rate of 126.71.
1. Travis Dowlin – 68.00
Travis Dowlin is remembered by the cricketing fraternity as the MS Dhoni’s lone victim with the ball. The Indian wicketkeeper rolled his arm during the 2009 Champions Trophy game against West Indies and got Dowlin bowled. The reason for it was his International career wasn’t a significant one. Travis played six Tests, 11 ODIs and two T20Is between 2009 and 2010.
He made his International debut in 2009 almost after 12 years of his professional debut as the regular players of the West Indies went on strike due to a dispute over contracts. Travis Dowlin made his T20I debut in the 2009 Basseterre T20I against Bangladesh. He scored an unbeaten 37 from 37 balls while chasing a target of 119. His knock helped the West Indies to register a 5-wicket victory.
Dowlin’s second and last T20I was during the 2009-10 Australian tour at the SCG. Opening the batting, he scored 31 off 32 balls amidst a top-order failure as the visitors lost the game by 8 wickets. Thus, Travis Dowlin’s T20I came to an end with 68 runs in two innings which came at an average of 68 only. Dowlin, who is now a 43-year-old, last appeared in any format back in 2010-11 season. He was roped into the WICB selection panel in the 2016-17 season.
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