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Opinion

India's all-time T20 XI

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Roar Guru
30th July, 2020
1

India has produced plenty of white-ball stars.

Following the revolution of T20 cricket that is the IPL, solid performances in the premier T20 tournament has seen the upcoming generation turn into Indian T20 specialists. Although they haven’t won the T20 World Cup since 2007, Indian fans can be hopeful of a second trophy at the 2021 T20 World Cup.

1. KL Rahul
T20 stats: 1461 runs, 45.65 average, 146.1 strike rate, two hundreds

A freak of a talent, very few people would disagree when I say KL Rahul is one of the best T20 openers going around. At the top of the order with field restrictions in place, Rahul would go all guns blazing with the bat, and his stroke-making makes him a classy batsman to watch. Come T20 World Cup time in 2021 Rahul has to be opening, otherwise India can kiss their chances of lifting the trophy goodbye.

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2. Rohit Sharma
Stats: 2773 runs, 32.62 average, 138.78 strike rate, four hundreds

One of the few Mumbai batsmen in white-ball cricket for whom the hype has been justified, there are no questions regarding Sharma’s selection. While he has had his troubles early on, Sharma is almost unstoppable when set. In Virat Kohli’s absence Sharma led India to a T20 tri-series win in 2018 over Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

3. Virat Kohli
Stats: 2794 runs, 50.8 average, 138.24 strike rate, 24 fifties

What makes Kohli a modern-day great is his consistency in all formats. To average over 50 in all formats takes countless hours of hard work and dedication. Under pressure Kohli has delivered for India in the shortest format, almost single-handedly taking India to the 2014 T20 World Cup final and 2016 T20 World Cup semi-final. All Kohli does is play proper cricketing shots and score runs regardless of the situation.

Virat Kohli.

Virat Kohli (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

4. Yuvraj Singh
Stats: 1177 runs, 28.08 average, 136.8 strike rate, eight fifties; 28 wickets, 17.82 average, 7.06 economy

Words won’t suffice what Yuvraj Singh has achieved in his cricketing career on and off the field. A man who still holds the record for the fastest T20 fifty (12 balls), Yuvraj was a matchwinner for India. With the bat he smashed sixes for fun, and his left-arm spinners gave MS Dhoni and co crucial breakthroughs. It was tough to leave out Suresh Raina, but Yuvi just ekes out Raina at No. 4.

5. MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper)
Stats: 1617 runs, 37.6 average, 126.13 strike rate, two fifties; 57 catches, 34 stumpings

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Despite the strike rate not being as high as it should be, Dhoni was still a solid T20 player for India. In the middle order Dhoni has had to rescue the top-order failures at times and has won games for India in run chases. Captaining India to the 2007 T20 World Cup trophy, was there every any question on who’d be leading this XI?

MS Dhoni plays a shot

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

6. Dinesh Karthik
Stats: 399 runs, 33.25 average, 143.25 strike rate, zero fifties

My finisher is none other than Dinesh Karthik. In run chases, DK has the uncanny ability to stay until the job is done and has pulled off chases fans would think India would’ve lost at the death. With the ability to play shots all over the ground, Karthik’s T20 career is far from over.

7. Hardik Pandya
Stats: 310 runs, 16.31 average, 147.61 strike rate, zero fifties; 38 wickets, 25.68 average, 8.35 economy

Easily the most powerful hitter of the cricket ball in Indian cricket, Hardik Pandya is my second finisher. Although he can be susceptible to the short ball at times, Pandya’s hitting ranges have broadened lately and, when fit, he’ll be almost unstoppable down the order. A handy seam bowler, Pandya is a wicket-taker in the middle overs and his athleticism makes him one of the best Indian fielders currently.

8. Ravichandran Ashwin
Stats: 52 wickets, 22.94 average, 6.97 economy

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One of the finest cricketers to hail from Tamil Nadu, Ravi Ashwin has been a fine player for India in the shortest format. Given the ball in the powerplay and middle overs, Ashwin delivered most times for India. To date no off spinner in Indian cricket has used as many variations as Ashwin has in T20 internationals.

9. Kuldeep Yadav
Stats: 39 wickets, 13.76 average, 7.11 economy

In a tight tussle between Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, the Uttar Pradesh wrist spinner ekes out Chahal. With a bowling average under 15 and a bag full of tricks up his sleeve, Kuldeep Yadav has been a successful T20 bowler for India. Only 25, Kuldeep Yadav has years ahead of him to deceive batsmen with his wrong uns and flippers.

10. Ashish Nehra
Stats: 34 wickets, 22.29 average, 7.73 economy

Following a strong set of performances in the 2014 and 2015 IPL, Ashish Nehra found himself recalled into the Indian T20 side in his mid-30s. Jagging the ball late into right-handers, Nehra played a crucial role for India en route to the 2016 T20 World Cup semi-finals before the West Indies defeated the Indians in Mumbai.

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11. Jasprit Bumrah
Stats: 59 wickets, 20.25 average, 6.66 economy

Easily the best white-ball bowler India has produced, Jasprit Bumrah makes the XI. Whatever stage of a game Bumrah is given the ball in, he’ll deliver for the Indians, especially under pressure.