KL Rahul, Virat Kohli or Jasprit Bumrah? Who deserves the most as we look at the current best unique T20 Playing 11.
As an individual, we might have a preference on which format of cricket we like the most, but one cannot deny the fact that T20 format is the one that is enjoyed by everyone. Ever since the format’s first T20 World Cup in 2007 and the subsequent first IPL in 2008, the format has only seen a rise in popularity.
Come to 2021, the 15 years of format has seen innumerable players making their mark in T20 Cricket. Multiple players from a single country have been absolutely fantastic, and it’s difficult to differentiate their performance. But what if we have to select the current best T20 playing 11 with only one player from one country? Wouldn’t it be exciting?
So, in this article, we would be selecting the current best T20 playing 11 with only one player per country rule. But, how would you select only 1 player when there are more than 1 potential candidates? For example, a team like India has four potential candidates in the form of KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Rohit Sharma. So, who gets an edge in the playing 11.
Well, there are two ways we would approach this problem. Firstly, the players are rated for their performance in the last three years in domestic T20s and T20Is. This would give us a better idea of how everyone has performed; thus leaving out all biases. Secondly, the team combination is given a preference given that we would be selecting 3-4 players from low-ranked teams too.
The Confirmed 4 Players
The most important part of the playing 11 is the selection of players from low-ranked countries. We have 4 players in this category from 4 countries, viz., Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Nepal. I was itching to select a player from Sri Lanka, but to be honest, as of 2021, there’s absolutely no one who has had an outstanding performance in the last 3 years.
#1: Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
Inns: 12 // Wkts: 241 // ER: 6.45 // Rating: 7.6
Talk about the best T20s bowlers, and the first name that should Ideally come to our mind is Rashid Khan. There’s absolutely no spinner in the world right now that match the performance and potential of the magician from Afghanistan.
Rashid has been the leading wicket-taker in the T20s in the last 3 years with 227 wickets from 160 innings at an economy rate of 6.5. He plays in a lot of tournaments, and in general, comes out, performing exceptionally well everywhere. Even in IPL, Rashid has been the best spinner since 2018 having taken the most number of wickets.
#2: Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal)
Inns: 107 // Wkts: 147 // ER: 6.9 // Rating: 7.1
Sandeep Lamichhane or Lasith Malinga. That was the question in deciding the third player from the low-ranked team. While Malinga is an absolute legend, he hasn’t played a lot of T20s in the last three years. Hence, Lamichhane, who has 147 wickets from 107 in this format is selected as the second spinner of the squad.
#3: Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh)
Inns: 78 // Wkts: 104 // ER: 7.8 // Rating: 6.6
Talk about Bangladesh cricket, and two players that are highly recognised in T20 format across the world are Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman. Both have been quite good in the last three years, and their selection is dependant on the combination of the team.
The other two players from low-ranked teams are both spinners, and hence Mustafizur gets preferred over Shakib. Talking about Fizz’s performance, he has taken 104 wickets from 78 innings at a good economy rate of 7.8 and consistency of 55%.
#4: Sean Williams (Zimbabwe)
Inns: 28 // Runs: 475 // Wkts: 17 // Rating: 5
Talking about the fourth associate player, Sean Williams seems to be the only other player who has performed well. Sean has taken a total of 17 wickets and has scored a total of 475 runs from 28 innings. Even though Sean Williams’s stats aren’t that lucrative, they are still the best among all all-rounders from the low-ranked teams.
Now that we have selected 4 bowlers, we are left with selecting 2 Pacers, which include a pace-bowling all-rounder and 1 proper pacer. Given that, these two players would be selected from the top-ranked teams, some preference shall be given to how good the optional player is for the respective team.
#5: Andre Russell (West Indies)
Inns: 117 // Runs: 2824 // Wkts: 120 // Rating: 5.4
Talk about the pace-bowling all-rounder, and we have one unanimous name for this category, and that is Andre Russell. The monster all-rounder from West Indies has been the most brutal batsman in T20 Cricket off late. Striking at 180, Russel has scored 2824 from 117 innings in the last three years. To complement that, he has 120 wickets to his name. These are staggering numbers for someone who bats in the lower-order, and doesn’t bowl the full quota of overs always.
#6: Jofra Archer (England)
Inns: 90 // Wkts: 121 // ER: 7.6 // Rating: 6.8
Jofra Archer or Jasprit Bumrah. That was the main question while selecting the leading pacer of the squad. Basically, if we selected Jasprit Bumrah, we would miss out on KL Rahul, and if we selected Jofra Archer, we would miss out on Jos Buttler. So, ultimately, I had to select from the combo of KL Rahul & Jofra Archer or Jos Buttler & Jasprit Bumrah.
Well, this was definitely not an easy choice, but KL Rahul has been the best T20 batsman in the last three years, and thus Jofra Archer’s selection becomes easier, who himself hasn’t been bad. Jofra has taken a total of 121 wickets from 90 innings in the last three years at a good economy rate of 7.6. Moreover, he is one bowler who can bowl in any situation of the game.
Now that we have selected the bottom 6, let’s focus on the top 5 players with openers, to begin with. We are now left with players from 5 countries, i.e India, South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand, and Australia. Talking about openers from these 5 countries, and two names that make a unanimous appearance are KL Rahul and David Warner.
#7: KL Rahul (India)
Inns: 83 // Runs: 3350 // SR: 139.6 // Rating: 8.5
Probably the best opener in the last three years, KL Rahul has been consistent as well as aggressive at the top. In the 83 innings he has played, KL Rahul has scored 3350 runs at a superb average of 47.8 and a good strike rate of 139.5. Not a single opener has stats comparable to that of KL Rahul, and thus he beats the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as the current best T20 Indian batsman.
#8: David Warner (Australia)
Inns: 74 // Runs: 2549 // SR: 132.4 // Rating: 7.1
Talking about the second opener, David Warner, who has been Australia’s best T20 player in the last three years, gets an edge. Even after serving a ban in 2018, Warner made a strong comeback in 2019, and has since then scored 2549 runs from 74 innings at a good average of 42 and a decent strike rate of 132.4. However, 2021 hasn’t been the year to remember for the South Paw, and he would want to make amends for that.
#9: Babar Azam (Pakistan)
Inns: 95 // Runs: 3823 // SR: 131.2 // Rating: 8.1
Talk about Pakistan, and you just cannot miss taking Babar Azam’s name. Even though Babar doesn’t play in IPL, he has been the leading run-scorer in the T20s in the last three years with 3823 runs from 95 innings at a superb average of 46.2 and a decent strike rate of 132.1. Babar isn’t a ferocious striker of the ball, but relies more on timing. He has also been a consistent performer in this format with a consistency rating of 54%.
#10: Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
Inns: 78 // Runs: 2360 // SR: 135.8 // Rating: 6.1
Kane’s name might surprise you perceptively. But don’t be deceived by his image as a T20 batsman. Williamson has been an underrated batsman in this format in the last three years. He finished as the Orange Cap holder in IPL 2018, and has overall scored a good 2360 runs from 78 innings at an average of 40 and a good strike rate of 135.8. His consistency has been good at 40%; the best among all Kiwi batsmen.
#11: AB de Villiers (South Africa)
Inns: 90 // Runs: 3147 // SR: 159.7 // Rating: 7.7
The last player on the list is Abraham Benjamin de Villiers. AB is like that timeless river that keeps on flowing with the same intensity without any hurdles. He has been absolutely fantastic in the last three years with 3147 runs from 90 innings at a stunning average of 46.2 and a brilliant strike rate of 159.7. Be it consistency or belligerence; Abd has had it all.
So, that completes the current best unique T20 playing 11 with one player per country rule. Some honourable names that miss out from the playing 11 due to max 1 player rule are Jasprit Bumrah, Colin Munro, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, and Shakib Al Hasan.
The Current Best T20 Playing 11 – One Player Per Country
KL Rahul (WK), David Warner (C), Babar Azam, Kane Williamson, AB de Villiers, Andre Russell, Sean Williams, Rashid Khan, Jofra Archer, Sandeep Lamichhane & Mustafizur Rahman
Thanks for reading! What according to you is the current best T20 playing 11? Please email your thoughts to email@example.com.
Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics.
Cricket to him is like what ‘Football is to Lionel Messi’, ‘Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar’, ‘Dancing is to Michael Jackson’, and what ‘Acting is to Clint Eastwood’.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.