Almost 5 months after the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic across the world, cricket has started to come back into its element. A 3 match Test series was conducted successfully between England and the Windies. Yet another red-ball series is currently ongoing with the English taking on Pakistan. The Caribbean Premier League has also gone underway hosting players from India, New Zealand, Afghanistan, USA, Pakistan etc.
The Indian Premier League is set to light the stage on fire from September 19th with Dream11 (a fantasy sports platform) sponsoring this year’s edition of the tournament. Ever since the T20 format was introduced to international cricket, the game has not remained the same. The shorter format of the game which requires quick thinking skills and explosive batting has played a major role in transforming the other two formats of the game as well.
When it comes to the 20 over format, often the limelight is stolen by various revenue-generating franchise based leagues across the world. Nevertheless, the major priority of all the cricket boards remains the ICC World T20 tournament.
Over the next two years, two editions of the tournament will be conducted in India (2021) as well as Australia (2022). With various T20 leagues lined up in this year’s schedule, the selectors have their task cut out in preparing their teams for the successive tournaments.
In this article, we will discuss an unbeatable all-time T20I playing XI:
1. Rohit Sharma
The ‘Hitman’ is one of the most successful T20I players of this generation. Moderately impressive during his initial years in International cricket, Sharma’s career took a surprising turn after he was promoted to open the innings by the then Indian skipper- MS Dhoni. Ever since he started out as an opener, he has never looked back and has gone on to score a truckload of runs in International cricket.
He is the 2nd highest run-scorer in All-time T20I cricket, just 21 runs behind the leader Virat Kohli. He also has the record of most T20I hundreds to his name, with one of them sharing the record of fastest T20I hundred with South Africa’s David Miller. Sharma pipped the New Zealand opener Martin Guptill and Windies’ legend Chris Gayle because of his exemplary records in the shortest format of the game.
In 100 T20I innings, Sharma has scored 2773 runs at an average of 32.24 and a strike rate of 138.79. He has 4 hundreds and 21 half-centuries to his name.
2. Brendon McCullum (wk)
The former New Zealand captain will start the innings along with his Indian counterpart. ‘Baz’ as he is popularly addressed by his fans is known as one of the cleanest yet hardest hitters of the ball. Whenever he gets going, he has the potential to create innumerable problems for the opposition.
He was the holder of the record of highest T20I score (123) for a long time until Aaron Finch breezed past his score. During all his years for the BlackCaps, he was one of the most revered and respected cricketers. He overtook David Warner and Aaron Finch in the race for this list primarily because of his better average as well as his wicket-keeping skills.
In 70 T20I innings, McCullum has scored 2140 runs at an average of 35.67 and a strike rate of 136.22. He has 2 T20I hundreds and 13 fifties to his name as well. In this team, he will play the role of an opener-cum-wicket-keeper.
3. Virat Kohli
The Indian Skipper is arguably the best batsman in international cricket amongst the current generation. He leads the all-time run-scoring charts in T20I cricket, being 21 runs ahead of his countryman Rohit Sharma. The quality which makes him unique is his consistency across all the formats of the game.
Kohli has the ability to change gears whenever required during the game. He was awarded the Man of the Tournament award during the last two World T20s conducted in 2014 and 2016. The 31-year-old batsman is among the top 10 T20I batsmen in the world according to the latest ICC rankings.
In 76 innings, Kohli has scored 2794 runs at a stunning average of 50.8 and a strike rate of 138.25. He has not been able to score a hundred in T20I cricket as of yet but has 24 fifties to his name with the highest score of 94. In this playing XI, he will play the role of the main anchor of the innings.
4. Eoin Morgan
The current English skipper is one of the few cricketers to have represented more than one team in International cricket. Initially a middle-order batsman for Ireland, his services were taken by England whom he subsequently led to a World Cup triumph last year. Apart from his excellent leadership, he is well known for his explosive hitting in the middle order.
Morgan has the record of hitting the highest number of sixes in an ODI inning. He is also the 7th highest all-time run-scorer in T20I cricket, just behind McCullum. Ever since his exploits in the Indian Premier League, he has become a sought after batsman for almost every T20 franchise.
In 86 innings, Morgan has scored 2138 runs at an average of 30.99 and a strike rate of 137.49. He has 13 fifties to his name in the shortest format of cricket with the highest score of 91.
5. AB de Villiers
‘Mr. 360’, one of the most dynamic players in all cricket features at No.5 in this playing XI. With his wide array of unconventional shots, de Villiers is a perfect addition to the team in the middle order. One of the most elegant players in International cricket, the former cricketer is popular all across the globe for his bizarre batting style.
In the Indian Premier League, de Villiers has been a regular player for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The former South African captain has the record of fastest 50, 100 and 150 in International One-Day cricket. ABD surpassed players like Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson and Babar Azam to feature in this list primarily because of his game-changing abilities.
In 75 T20I innings, de Villiers has scored 1672 runs at an average of 26.12 and a strike rate of 135.17. He has 10 fifties to his name with the highest score of 79.
6. JP Duminy
ABD’s South African team-mate JP Duminy is the next addition to this team of all-time best T20I players. A finisher of sorts, Duminy can also handle the pressure well and carry the innings in case the top order collapses. The left-handed Proteas batsman is a talented player who featured regularly for his national team during his career.
One of the most reliable batsmen, Duminy has been exceptional in limited-overs formats of the game. An occasional off-spinner as well, he has the ability to get important breakthroughs. He pipped the Pakistan veteran, Shoaib Malik, for this spot because of much better average and consistency.
In 75 innings, Duminy has scored 1934 runs at an average of 38.68 and a strike rate of 126.24. He has 11 half-centuries to his name with the highest score of 96. He also has 21 wickets to his name with the best bowling figures of 3-18.
7. Shakib Al Hasan
The former Bangladesh skipper will play the role of the primary all-rounder of the team. The left-handed batsman has been one of the most consistent players in the whole decade. He was the 3rd highest run-scorer in last year’s World Cup after Rohit Sharma and David Warner.
He has been an integral part of both Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL. His contributions to the team with the bat as well as the ball are extremely valuable. With his left-arm spin, he can weave a web around the batsmen and ensnare them with his guile.
In 76 matches, Shakib has scored 1567 runs at an average of 23.74 and a strike rate of 123.87. He has 9 fifties to his name with a highest score of 84. He is also the 3rd highest all-time wicket-taker in T20I history with 92 scalps including 3 four-wicket hauls and one 5-wicket haul.
8. Shahid Afridi
The former Pakistan skipper and all-rounder Shahid Afridi is one of the most interesting yet controversial cricketers. Although a bit inconsistent with the bat, he can completely turn around the game when on song. Also, his deadly leg-break can cripple the opposition to its feet.
Afridi held the record of the fasted ODI ton for 17 years after which it was broken by Corey Anderson and further by AB de Villiers. He can hit sixes at will and can also bowl economically, taking wickets at regular intervals. He is the 2nd highest wicket-taker of all-time in T20I cricket.
In 91 T20I innings, Afridi has scored 1416 runs at an average of 17.92 but an astonishing strike rate of 150. In the bowling department, he has scalped 98 wickets at an average of 24.45 with a miserly economy of 6.63. He also has 3 four-wicket hauls to his name.
9. Lasith Malinga
A furry hairstyle and toe-crushing yorkers are the trademarks of the Sri Lankan legend. The pacer from the Island nation will be spearheading the pace attack of this playing XI. A capable leader along with a fiery pacer, he can easily take up responsibility at crucial junctures.
Malinga is the highest wicket-taker in all T20I cricket. His slinging action makes him a great threat in shorter formats of the game. During his peak years, Malinga was the most threatening bowler amongst all of his contemporaries.
In 83 matches, Malinga has scalped 107 wickets at an average of 20.79 and an economy of 7.42. He has one 4-wicket haul and a couple of 5-wicket hauls to his name with the best bowling figures of 5/6.
10. Dale Steyn
One of the most accurate yet deadly pacers of his time, Dale Steyn makes an appearance in the list on the back of his consistent performances. A man with the impeccable line, length, accuracy and pace, Steyn is a potent weapon for any team. If not his fiery speed, his control over the ball often causes problems for the batsmen.
The former South African pacer has featured regularly for his team across all the formats. In IPL, he has performed incredibly well for Deccan Chargers as well as Sunrisers Hyderabad.
In 47 matches, Steyn has picked up 64 wickets at an average of 18.36 and a miserly economy of 6.95. He has two 4-wicket hauls to his name with the best bowling figures of 4/9.
11. Umar Gul
The tall and lanky pacer from Pakistan is the last man to feature on this playing XI. Even though he played the shortest format only for a limited time, Gul made a huge impact in the initial years of T20I cricket. His intimidating height coupled with his pace is an effective counter to aggressive batsmen.
He was the highest wicket-taker in the 2007 edition of World T20 as well as in Pakistan’s titular triumph in 2009 taking 13 wickets in 7 matches in both editions. He is a perfect complement to the duo of Malinga and Steyn who are also accomplished T20I bowlers.
In 60 matches, Gul has scalped 85 wickets with an average of 16.96 and an economy of 7.19. He has 4 four-wicket hauls and 2 five-wicket hauls to his name with the best bowling figures of 5-6.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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