International Cricket

Exclusive: The Most Unique T20-I Team of the 2010 Decade

Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum to open as we find the most unique T20 International team of the 2010 decade featuring one player per country.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on all outdoor activities for us. All major sporting events such as IPL, Wimbledon, NBA, La Liga, etc. have either been cancelled or postponed. While the live action of all sporting events may have stopped, it has not stopped the writer within me.

As I was revisiting some of the old classic knocks and spells, a thought prompted in my mind to build a team that would contain 11 players from 11 countries. It is no doubt difficult to select 11 unique players in the team as many countries have many superb players, but the mere idea of having 11 unique players gives us chance to focus on those players whom you would have usually ignored. 

In the last article, we looked at the most unique ODI Team of the 2010 Decade, and in this article, we will focus on the most unique T20 International Team of the 2010 decade containing one player from each country. So, without wasting much into the time, let’s straight get into it. 

Confirmed 5:

Brendon McCullum (New Zealand) –  Wicket-keeper Opener

Inns: 40 || Runs: 1327 || Avg: 39 || SR: 144.7

In the last decade, very few wicket-keepers have made an impact in the International circuit. The likes of Jos Buttler, AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni, etc., have all been decent, but it is the aggressive Brendon Mccullum, who leads the pack with some stunning performance.

In the 40 matches Mccullum has played, he scored 1327 runs at an average of 39, a strike rate of 144.7, and consistency of 45%, which is better than any other wicket-keeper out there. He managed to score 2 centuries, and 8 fifties in the last decade, thus making him a default wicket-keeper opener choice.

Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) – All-rounder

Runs: 1328 || SR: 125.6 || Wkts: 79 || ER: 6.8

Bangladesh’s best player, and probably the best all-rounder of the decade, Shakib Al Hasan is another default choice in the team. He has been instrumental for Bangladesh with his all-round abilities. He is the third-highest wicket-taker in T20Is in the 2010 decade, and has amassed almost 1400 runs with his superb batting.

Kevin O’Brien (Ireland) – All-rounder

Runs: 1409 || SR: 135.6 || Wkts: 54 || ER: 7.6

When we have to select 11 unique players in a team, it is always the 11th player, that we have a lot of confusion as there are 10 strong teams, and the 11th player has to be selected from the associates or emerging teams. This is when I just couldn’t ignore the performance of Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien. Over 1400 runs at a good strike rate, and over 50 wickets at a good economy rate, Kevin O’Brien is the second all-rounder in the team. 

Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) – Spinner

Inns: 45 || Wkts: 84 || Avg: 12.5 || ER: 6.2

The world number 1 T20 spinner, and Afghanistan’s best T20 player, Rashid Khan is another default selection who cannot be ignored. The Afghan Wizard has been the highest wicket-taker in the last decade with 84 scalps from 45 outings. He has achieved this at an incredible consistency of 91%.  Moreover, his average of 12.5 is the lowest among players with 30 wickets or more. He also has five 4+ wicket hauls; the most among all the players.

Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka) – Pacer

Inns: 59 || Wkts: 82 || Avg: 19 || ER: 7.2

Probably the best pacer of the 2010 decade, Lasith Malinga from Sri Lanka is another default choice as the team’s leading pacer. The Sri Lankan is the leading wicket-taker among pacers in the 2010 decade with 82 scalps from 59 games at a superb average of 19, and an economy rate of 7.2. 

His recent breath-taking spell of 5-6 against New Zealand is still fresh in the minds, and is probably the best spell of the decade. According to one of the best betting comparison sites in India, the odds on New Zealand to win this game were extremely low, but the G.O.A.T managed to do the unbelievable with this spell. 

Now that we have seen the confirmed 5, let’s revisit the options that we have from each of the remaining 6 countries, and see who all makes the cut for our playing 11. 

Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, and Mitchell Starc

England: Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan and Chris Jordan 

India: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah

West Indies: Sunil Narine and Chris Gayle

Pakistan: Babar Azam and Saeed Ajmal

South Africa: Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, and Imran Tahir

Second Pacer: 

Jasprit Bumrah (India) – Pacer

Inns: 42 || Wkts: 51 || Avg: 20.2 || ER: 6.7

When we look at the second pace option, we have only Chris Jordan, Mitchell Starc, and Jasprit Bumrah to look at. But, Bumrah outshines both of them with superb consistency, economy rate, and average. Bumrah has 51 wickets from 41 outings at a superb consistency of 71%, an average of 20.2, and an economy rate of 6.7. Moreover, Bumrah’s multi-utility makes him a preferred choice.

So, given the lack of good options, a tough choice had to be taken, and Team India’s two top batsmen, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma had to be left out to have a good pace department. Apologies to all Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma fans for this. 

Second Spinner: 

Imran Tahir (South Africa) – Spinner

Inns: 38 || Wkts: 63 || Avg: 15 || ER: 6.7

South Africa have Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, and Imran Tahir as the best T20I players of the 2010 decade, but neither Amla, nor du Plessis, nor de Villiers has had as good an impact Imran Tahir has had, and it would be criminal to select any of these batsmen for Tahir, who has been the second-best spinner of the decade with 63 scalps from just 38 games at a superb average of 15.

Second Opener and Middle-order:

With Imran Tahir selected as the team’s second spinner, Sunil Narine and Saeed Ajmal get automatically eliminated, and that leaves us with Chris Gayle as the team’s second opener, and the player to represent from West Indies.

While there are many good openers than Chris Gayle in the last decade, it is the country’s lack of giving individual superstars in the International format, that made us select Gayle, who has 1173 runs from 42 games at an average of 30, and a good strike rate of 140.8.

Meanwhile, the likes of Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo haven’t had much of an impact in the International format as compared to the T20 format. So, with Gayle selected as the second opener, David Warner, Aaron Finch, and Alex Hales get eliminated, and that leaves us with Babar Azam, Eoin Morgan, and Glenn Maxwell as the team’s designated middle-order.

Babar has been Pakistan’s best batsman in the T20Is last decade with 1405 runs at an average of over 50. Morgan has around 1900 runs under his belt, and is England’s best middle-order player. Maxwell is the team’s finisher, and he has stats way better than anyone in the T20I including AB de Villiers, Jos Buttler or MS Dhoni. 

So, that’s the team we have selected. It was a hard call to leave out of some of the superstars, but for a good balance, we had to do it. Here’s the complete playing 11. 

Most Unique T20 International Team of the 2010 Decade involving one player from each country:

Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum (WK),  Babar Azam, Eoin Morgan (C), Shakib Al Hasan, Glenn Maxwell, Kevin O’Brien, Rashid Khan, Imran Tahir, Lasith Malinga & Jasprit Bumrah.

Thanks for reading! Which players should have been a part of this unique T20 International Team of the 2010 decade? Please, let us know in the comments.

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