After naming my all time best Test Team and ODI team, encouraged by your responses, I am attempting my all time best T20 team.
The advantage is that everyone has seen all the T20 players in action over last few years – so no need to choose between Hobbs and Gavaskar, Chappell and Ponting, Sobers and Kallis, Richards and Sachin and so on.
For the openers, I’ve narrowed it down to Brendon McCullum, Adam Gilchrist, Quentin de Kock, Kumar Sangakkara, Chris Gayle, Virendra Sehwag, Hashim Amla, Aaron Finch, David Warner, Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Shane Watson.
For me, Chris Gayle is a must. He may start slowly, but then he accelerates like a Formula 1 Champion. He has so many T20 records that a separate article would be required to list them all.
To mention a few, he hits a 6 every eighth ball. He has the most 50s in T20s, the most sixs, most runs, highest score, fastest 50, only player to have 2 World T20 tons and so on. Some of these records he has equalled, many he owns. He is an automatic choice for me.
Who will partner Gayle? It can be a wicketkeeper batsman or an allrounder to improve the balance. Hence regretfully, pure batsmen like Finch, Warner, Roy, Hales and Amla miss out. Among keepers, I shortlist the list further to Brendon and among allrounders to Watson.
After consideration, I go in for McCullum, as he has the most 50s in T20 along with Gayle and he is at his destructive best while opening. Watson will be discussed when we come to allrounders. If I select him, he will present an opening choice once in a while.
The middle order contenders are Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steve Smith, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Mike Hussey, Kane Williamson, AB de Villiers, David Miller, Faf du Plessis, Mahela Jayawardhene, Dilshan, Brad Hodge, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni.
Oof, very long list that. After going through each and every name once again, I feel it will be a monumental exercise trying to dissect the strengths and relative strengths of each of these maestros. There may not be any conclusion.
Hence, on my gut feeling and perception I will go in for Virat Kohli, and Kevin Pietersen at 3 and 4. Do you agree?
For 5, 6 and 7 let me have a look at some all-rounders and whether they can fit in, allowing me the luxury of dispensing with a batsman at 5, if their batting is good enough.
Yuvraj Singh, Shane Watson, James Faulkner, Glenn Maxwell, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Ben Stokes, Corey Anderson, Shahid Afridi, JP Duminy, Angelo Matthews, Shakib, Andrew Symonds are the terrific allrounders who can be thought of.
At 5, I will go in with Yuvraj Singh who has the ability to take away the match from opposition with his big hitting. Can we forget the six sixes off Stuart Broad? Yuvi’s 50 off 12 balls is matched only by Gayle. His ability to bowl a couple of overs of left arm spin if required gets him in.
At 6 I will go in with Glen Maxwell, who is a devastating bat and can change the complexion of any match within a few balls. He is a must for me. Yuvi and Glen are my batting allrounders at 5 and 6.
At 7 and 8 I will have to choose 2 out of Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard. They will couple power hitting with bowling medium pace. Shane Watson just edges out Kieron Pollard for his better consistency. Bravo makes it due to his death bowling.
Watson at 7 is of course too low and therefore Yuvi, Maxwell and Watson will be sent in from 5 to 7 depending on situation. Bravo will be at 8, once again too low but that reflects the batting strength of my team.
Brendon McCullum, Adam Gilchrist, Kumar Sangakkara, MS Dhoni, Jos Butler, Quentin de Kock are the choices. However since I have already selected McCullum as the opener, he will do the job and the other stalwarts have to regretfully sit out.
Sunil Narine, Saeed Ajmal, Ravi Ashwin, Samuel Badree, Shane Warne, Shahid Afridi are the choices. While the first five are super and Shane Warne is in both my Test team and ODI team as well, for the spinners slot I will go in for Shahid Afridi.
Interestingly he has the most Man of the Match awards in T20 Internationals with 11, followed by Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and Shane Watson with nine each. (Mohd Shahzad of Afghanistan too has nine, the most for any Associate nation).
Sunil Narine narrowly misses out to Boom Boom.
Two quick bowlers slots are left. The names of Dirk Nannes, Ashis Nehra, Trent Boult, Dale Steyn, Mitchell Johnson, Umar Gul and Mushtafizur come to mind.
However for pace, accuracy, variety, slower balls and yorkers Mitchell Starc and Lasith Malinga make my team.
So the team will be Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Virat Kohli, Kevin Pietersen, Yuvraj Singh, Shane Watson, Glen Maxwell, Dwayne Bravo, Shahid Afridi, Lasith Malinga , Mitchell Starc.
The captain will be Virat Kohli.
Do you agree with my Team? What is your all time T20 team ?