It is not uncommon for fans to come up with their own All Time Best world XIs in both Tests and ODIs. With T20 being the recent addition to the game of glorious uncertainties, choosing an all time best T20 XI may be a strenuous task due to the preponderant number of specialist T2o players, who gain world wide attention from their buccaneering game play.
But what about players who played cricket in the pre T20 era who could have been ideal T20 bashers? If we could concoct a XI with players who could have been ne pus ultras of T20 cricket, but played no T20 cricket, what would the lineup look like? Here is my XI.
Here I have considered only the players who have played no T20 matchesat any level.
An aggressive left handed batsman from New Zealand, Mark Greatbatch was one of the very first pinch hitters in ODI cricket, who made maximum use of the field restrictions in the early overs. In the 1992 world cup, after being left out of the side for the first two matches, Greatbatch played as an opener in New Zealand’s third game in place of the injured John Wright and scored a 60 ball 68 runs which included two sixes. His successful approach, contrived him to continue his merry ways against bowling which played a pivotal role in New Zealand’s incredible performances in the 1992 world cup. He finished his world cup campaign with 334 runs at an average of 44.71. His pinch hitting is ideal for T20 matches and he can be a thorn in the flesh for any bowling line up. His quality in fielding was impeccable, and hence makes him an ideal T20 player.
Another attacking left handed stroke maker, Saeed Anwar ended his career with a whopping strike rate of 80.67. His 194 against India in Chennai was the highest ODI score, until it was broken by Sachin Tendulkar in 2010. He gave Pakistan, many lightning quick starts, playing shots laced with silk. Some body who didn’t rely solely on brutal force to score quick runs, Saeed Anwar with limited footwork drove and cut bowlers offering him width, a trait of a modern T20 player. He along with Greatbatch can give bowlers many sleepless nights.
Sir Don Bradman
Which better number three to chose than the great Sir Don Bradman? Although the greatest virtuoso with the bat retired from cricket before the birth of shorter formats, it would not be difficult to envisage Bradman sabotaging bowling attacks in flat roads in the shorter formats of the game. With nimble feet, an unorthodox grip, slightly open stance and his penchant for horizontal bat shots, Bradman would have been an even fiercer batsman than Chris Gayle in T20s. He was the first one to reach a century in the first session of a match and went on to score a triple hundred within just three sessions. His record of 300 on a single day still stands today, even in an era where batting is ridiculously easy in comparison to Bradman’s era. His aggressive and creative captaincy, that once saw him invert the batting line up would be opportune for T20 crikcet, hence he leads the XI.
Sir Vivian Richards
The last batsman bowlers of the 80s would have wanted to bowl at would have without doubt been Sir Viv Richards. Bowlers’ heartbeat beat quickened as Richards strutted into the cricket field swinging his bat. The calypso man from the Caribbean had an ODI average of 47 and a strike rate of 90.20. He had wrists made of steel which he used to flick balls out of the ground. He would plant his front foot in front and send balls searing into the stands. He hooked balls murderously without wearing a helmet. He was easily the most destructive batsman of all-time, and having him in the XI would definitely send tingles across many bowlers’ spines.
Sir Garfield Sobers
Arguably the best all rounder the game has ever seen, Garfield Sobers can full fill the need for an all rounder in the T20 setup. Born with an extra finger on each hand and an extra human talent, Garfield Sobers was one of the few batsmen to have hit six sixes in an over. In a format that requires a lot of versatility, Sobers can provide many faces to a bowling attack with his ability to bowl left arm fast medium, slow orthodox and Chinaman. In T20s Gary Sobers could employ his ability to bowl Chinaman and slow left arm together with his medium pace bowling to hoodwink batsmen.
Aravinda De Silva
The need of an attacking batsman with the ability to bowl spin sees Aravinda De Silva into the team. He wasn’t the most orthodox batsman, but with his supreme hand eye coordination and rock strong wrists , Silva can run away with the game in no time as he showed against India in the 1996 Semi Final with his 47 ball 66 runs which completely shifted the momentum towards Sri Lanka. With his flamboyant stroke making Aravinda can easily fill stadiums. Add to that, his canny off spin which can be more than useful on helpful tracks as he showed against the Australians in the 1996 World Cup finals. The sixes he flicked off Brett Lee in the 2003 World Cup are still picture perfect in the memories of his fans who cherished his breath taking stroke-plays.
Alec Stewart is the numer uno wicket keeping batsman T20 needs. His aggressive batting with the panache and dominance he exhibited, was rare among wicket keepers of the bygone era. He was an opening batsman by trade and was capable of pulling the balls with dominance and driving the ball with flamboyance. His spillproof wicket keeping skills would allow almost no byes.
With an ODI strike rate of 95.07, Kapil Dev is the the ideal ball basher T20 needs. He is the greatest all rounder India has ever produced. His pin point accuracy with the ball and his ability to swing the ball both ways would have made him an ideal bowler to ball during the crunch moments of a T20 game. With his all round ability he can make a T20 side more versatile and flexible. His batting, even though was not consistent could turn out to be devastating. His innings of 175 off 126 balls against Zimbabwe to salvage a collapsing Indian batting in the 1983 World Cup is one of a kind.
His slingy action and extreme pace can be an ideal suite in the T20 arena. With his fearsome bowling and his hankering to send batsmen to hospital, Jeff Thompson can give the X factor to a bowling side. Not to forget the yorkers which he bowled at quixotic pace that would have been tailor made for death overs.
Merv Hughes was an Australian Right Arm fast bowler who has a test hat trick.In a format that stipulates variations from bowlers, Hughes pace variations would make him a valuable asset. His mustache and his penchant for antics may make him the ultimate fans’ man. His accuracy and the wonderful bouncer which he possessed could be used as surprise elements in upsetting the rhythm of the batsmen.
Jack Iverson can provide the mystery element T20 requires. He was the pioneer of spinning the ball by flicking the ball with the middle finger. With his unusual grip he had the ability to bowl off breaks, leg breaks and googlies. Although he played only 5 Tests, in his 34 first class matches he has picked up 157 wickets at an average of 19.22