After doing the 21st century ODI XIs, here comes the all-time T20I XI edition.
First up, Australia. When selecting the XIs, I went by the players’ T20 internationals (T20I) performances rather than their performances in franchise T20 cricket/T20 domestics.
1. David Warner
T20I stats – 2207 runs, 31.52 average, one hundred
A powerful left-hander, David Warner is one of the few men I had pencilled in this XI without giving it a second thought. Before making his first-class debut, Warner made a name for himself in T20 internationals after scoring a spectacular 89 on debut against South Africa. Becoming the third Australian after Shane Watson and Glenn Maxwell to score a hundred in every format late last year, Warner is Australia’s leading T20I run-scorer.
2. Aaron Finch (captain)
T20I stats – 1989 runs, 38.25 average, two hundreds
Is there anyone in Australian cricket who is as powerful and consistent with the bat as Aaron Finch? Whether it’s against pace or spin, Finch will most likely deposit the ball over cow corner for six. One of the finest T20 cricketers in the world, Finch has an outstanding record in T20 internationals – with both of his centuries being 150-plus scores. Currently the captain of the Australian T20I side, I couldn’t think of anyone else to lead this XI.
3. Shane Watson
T20I stats – 1462 runs, 29.24 average, one hundred, 48 wickets, 24.72 average, 7.65 economy
I wanted to have Watson opening the batting, but there’s no way Warner or Finch gets demoted down the order. Thus, Watson comes in at first drop. Just like Warner and Finch, Watson can clear the ropes with ease when batting. When given the ball, Watson has given Australia many breakthroughs in crucial stages. I can consider myself lucky that I was at the SCG the day he smashed 124 against India.
4. Glenn Maxwell
T20I stats – 1576 runs, 35.02 average, three hundreds 26 wickets, 27.07 average, 7.48 economy
Glenn Maxwell is the best Australian T20 cricketer to date. With the bat, Maxwell can play shots all over the ground and keeps the scoreboard ticking at a rapid pace. His off-spinners are more than handy to tie up an end and create pressure. When fielding, Maxwell has a rocket of an arm that opposition batsmen wouldn’t dare to challenge. If anyone has the complete package to be the most successful Australian T20 player, it’s Maxwell.
5. Cameron White
T20I stats – 984 runs, 32.8 average, five fifties
“The Bear” may have underachieved in ODI and Test cricket, but Cameron White had a successful T20 career for Australia. An aggressive middle-order batsman, White was an underrated gem coming in tough situations a few times. His ability to adapt according to match situations was second to none, and his final T20 innings would prove that, scoring 41 off 31 not out in a tense two-wicket win against South Africa at ANZ Stadium.
6. Michael Hussey
T20I stats – 721 runs, 37.94 average, four fifties
A fine middle-order batsman, Hussey is my finisher in the XI. For all the talks of how he was an accumulator, Hussey’s strike rate in T20 internationals is 136.29. One of the best accumulators in T20 cricket, Hussey delivered for Australia most times in the middle order. After all, who can forget his magical 60 off 24 against Pakistan in the 2010 T20 World Cup semi-final? When under pressure, call on Michael Hussey to deliver.
7. Brad Haddin (wicketkeeper)
T20I stats – 402 runs, 17.47 average, zero fifties, 17 catches, six stumpings
The keeper spot was a tough choice to pick, so I went ahead with Brad Haddin. Down the order, he can make use of the limited balls to take advantage with the bat and his keeping will ensure catches and stumpings aren’t missed behind the stumps.
8. Mitchell Johnson
T20I stats – 38 wickets, 20.97 average, 7.28 economy
A phenomenal bowler, Johnson will best be known for the 2013-14 Ashes and his exploits in the series. But his T20 numbers for Australia are excellent. Johnson’s bowling average only went above 25 once for Australia, and his economy never went higher than 7.3. His use of the crease and bowling at full tilt would see the Queenslander pick up the third highest tally of wickets for Australia in T20 internationals.
9. Mitchell Starc
T20I stats – 43 wickets, 18.65 average, 6.91 economy
One of the deadliest white-ball bowlers of all times, there’s absolutely no reason why Mitch Starc cannot be in this XI. Australia’s best T20I bowler to date? Absolutely.
10. Adam Zampa
T20I stats – 33 wickets, 19.03 average, 6.12 economy
Overtaking Cameron Boyce for a spot in the 2016 T20 World Cup, Adam Zampa has emerged to become Australia’s best T20 spinner of all time. With subtle variations and changes of pace, the New South Welshman has been a tough bowler to take advantage of. Come the T20 World Cup in Australia, Zampa’s performances with the ball could determine Australia’s fate in the tournament.
11. Dirk Nannes
T20I stats – 28 wickets, 16.39 average, 7.52 economy
After turning out for the Netherlands in the 2009 T20 World Cup, Nannes played 15 T20 internationals for Australia. He picked up 27 wickets for the Aussies in that time at a bowling average of 14.92. Bowling close to 150 kilometres per hour, Nannes’ left-armers proved to be difficult for the opposition as his thunderbolts helped Australia reach the 2010 T20 World Cup final. It is a shame he didn’t play more T20 internationals, but Dirk Nannes sure did make a severe impact in his short stint.