Lockdown Series Part 1: All time T20 XI

Welcome to the Lockdown Series where we go through the all-time and current best playing XIs. Today is Part 1 where we go through the all-time T20 XI. Disclaimer: Both International and Domestic cricket statistics will be of equal importance.

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1) Chris Gayle 

Aka Universe Boss the GOAT. This man needs no introduction. He is the Bradman of T20 Cricket, an unparalleled six-hitter, and a century-maker. A powerful hitter at the top, Gayle is a force to reckon with once he settles in. He has a jaw-dropping record of 22 100s in T20 cricket, and the next best is only 8 by Micheal Klinger! He also holds the record for most runs scored: 13296. In second place is Keiron Pollard, who is 3296 runs away from Gayle. The volume of records this man possesses speaks for why he is a must in the all-time T20 XI. 

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2) David Warner 

Yup. You heard that right. No Rohit Sharma! And here’s why. Firstly, both Warner and Rohit only play the IPL and T20I Cricket. So, only stats from the IPL and international cricket statistics will be considered. From 2014 onwards, Warner has made 837 runs (T20Is) in 25 innings at an average of 36.39 at a strike rate of about 140.

In comparison, Rohit has made 2230 (T20Is) runs in 71 innings at an average of 33.78 at a strike rate of about 141. However, the real differentiator is the IPL stats. Warner has scored 3271 runs at a scintillating average of 55.44 at a strike rate of 147. Rohit, on the other hand, has played an extra season and has only managed 2385 runs at a mere average of 31.33 at a strike rate of 131. Solely based on statistics and impact, Warner gets the nod ahead of Rohit. 

Other Contenders – Rohit Sharma, Brendon McCullum, Shane Watson

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3) Virat Kohli 

The maestro of the chase, Kohli averages a stratospheric 84.84 when batting second. The run-machine averages 50.4 (the highest) at a strike rate of 139 in T20Is. His 82* against Australia in the virtual quarter-final of WT20 2016 is probably regarded as one of the most elegant T20 innings ever to be played. He is the top scorer in both T20I format, and the IPL with 2794 and 5412 runs respectively. But, the most remarkable aspect about Kohli is his ability to finesse the ball through gaps and hare twos and possibly even threes! He’s the player you would definitely want to bank on in big pressure situation games. He had also won the man of the series award in both the 2014 and 2016 WT20 World Cup. 

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4) AB De Villiers (wk)

“I demand a DNA Test of AB De Villiers, This game is only for humans.” This is what commentator Aakash Chopra had to say about Ab De Villiers during the 2018 IPL. Often called MR 360, ABD is known for his variety of shots: scoops, reverse scoop, etc. So versatile is this man that there have been beguiling innings as an opener as well as copious stunning innings batting lower. Though his statistics – an average of 26 in t20i and 40 in the IPL at a strike rate of 150+ – are not the best, they are not a reflection of the actual abilities he possesses. Not many regard him as a finisher, but in my eyes, he is one of the most renowned finishers in the history of the game. 

Other contenders – Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik

Kieron Pollard's IPL experience at Wankhede will benefit West ...

5) Kieron Pollard – 

Well, one might have expected an iconic Indian figure at number 5. Not to be. As we enter the lower middle order, we need potent hitters who can close off the game in a grand manner. Pollard is a highly underrated player and a player for the ages when it comes to the T20 format. Averaging 30 in all T20, Pollard has scored 10000 runs – as a finisher – at a strike rate of 150 +. Talk about experience and the ability to change the course of the game, Pollard is definitely the second man you would go to. Who’s first? Yep, you guessed it. 

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6) Andre Russell – 

“Ek aadmi ithne chakke kaise maar sakta hain!” This translates to “How is it humanly possible for Andre Russell to hit so many sixes?” This was said by MS Dhoni after KKR lost to CSK at the Chepauk in IPL 2018. It was an innings for the ages as Russell toying the ball into the stands for fun. It was the year 2018 that made Russell the most feared batsman in the eyes of the bowlers. He did it all in that year: he made 12 balls 50s, rescued his team in impossible situations, and even delivered with wickets whenever needed. Ever since he has been the most destructive batsman and it’s difficult to look beyond a finisher like Andre Russell. 

Other Contenders – Glenn Maxwell, MS Dhoni, Shakib al Hasan

Bravo comes out of retirement; ready to play for WI - Rediff Cricket

7) DJ Bravo 

“Everybody know, say Bravo a champion.” Iconic lines sung by an iconic man: the one and only DJ Bravo. Put aside his brilliance through his songs and dance steps, Bravo also has envious T20 records with both the ball and the bat. 439 wickets in 436 innings and 6307 runs in 367 innings. These are some hefty numbers anybody would like to own. With the responsibility of bowling overs towards the backend and middle-phases and finishing the innings off with the bat, one cannot look beyond DJ Bravo. 

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8) Rashid Khan – 

Often referred to as the Prince Charming of the Afghanistan Cricket team, Rashid Khan, the leader of the attack, is the number 1 ranked T20I bowler. He’s the go-to bowler for all the teams – Afghanistan, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Adelaide Strikers, Guyana Amazon Warriors – he plays for. He’s known to wreak havoc on the opposition batting lineup. So far, he has taken 89 wickets in 48 matches at a scintillating average and economy of 12.62 and 6.14 respectively. Given that he is often burdened with the responsibility of bowling the difficult over, I would say his achievements are very much commendable. Also, he is the youngest player to take 100 T20 wickets and, safe to say, the most complete spinner in the modern era. 

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9) Sunil Narine 

The man who bowled a maiden over in the super over to Nicholas Pooran. Yes, it’s him. Narine has come a long way ever since. He’s now more of a destructive batsman at the top than a bowler. However, it doesn’t mean his bowling days no longer exist. He’s still the same game-changing he was 5-6 years ago. He’s still the 3rd highest wicket-taker in all the T20 format. He’s taken 379 wickets in 331 innings at an astonishing average and economy of 20 and 6.02 respectively. For someone who has played T20 for 9 years and maintained an economy

Other contenders – Imran Tahir, Shahid Afridi

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10 & 11 ) Lasith Malinga & Jasprit Bumrah

You must be wondering why the numbers 10 and 11 are together; this is because it is the pair of the teacher and the student. It is the invincible pair of Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah from Mumbai Indians. The sight of both the teacher as well as student prospering is tremendously pleasing to the eye. Probably known as the two finest T20 death bowlers, the duo has taken 390 and 182 wickets in all T20s. Malinga averages 19.69 at an economy of 7.02, while Bumrah averages 22.5 at an economy of 7 as well. With three of the outstanding death bowler in the history of T20 in my team, it feels more than complete. 

Other contenders – Sohail Tanvir, Dale Steyn 

Please feel free to post your opinions in the comments section. 

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