The all-time T20I XI

1. Chris Gayle

The self-acclaimed Universe Boss has merited the tag in T20. He is the Bradman of the format, an unparalleled six-hitter and century-maker. And in T20 old age, he has even adapted his all-or-nothing approach and become a swifter starter.

Did you know? Gayle is the first player to score a century in T20I international cricket – his 117 against South Africa in the inaugural World T20 game in 2007 – and the only man to score two centuries in the World T20.

STATS
1589 runs at 145.37 SR from 53 matches (Ave 34.54); Best: 117; 2 hundreds, 13 fifties

2. Rohit Sharma

An opener who makes his runs at high speed, yet often in a classical manner, Rohit has honed his six-hitting ability since he made his debut in the first World T20. His output has become more consistent, too: only Virat Kohli, among those who have played only the major T20I teams, has more runs in the format since the start of 2014.

Did you know? No one has got to a T20I century in fewer than the 11.2 overs Rohit needed against Sri Lanka in 2017. That came up in only 35 balls – a joint record, with David Miller.

STATS
1647 runs at 135.11 SR from 71 matches (Ave 31.67); Best: 118; 2 hundreds, 12 fifties

3. Virat Kohli

The maestro of the chase, Kohli averages a stratospheric 84.84 when batting second. His 72 not out against South Africa in the 2014 World T20 semi-final contained only three dot balls; in the 2016 tournament, his epic 82 not out against Australia turned a fraught run chase into a waltz. No player in the world has been consistently able to score at comfortably over a run a ball while eschewing discernible risk – and that is a testament to Kohli’s ability to finesse the ball through gaps and hare twos.

Did you know? Kohli is the fastest man to 1000 runs in T20I cricket; it took him just 27 innings.

STATS
1956 runs at 137.84 SR (Ave 52.86) from 55 matches; Best 90*; 18 fifties

4. AB de Villiers

South Africa have often seemed unsure where best to use de Villiers – such is his prowess batting anywhere in the top six. There have been beguiling innings as an opener – a brutal 71 from 29 balls against England in 2016ensured South Africa cruised to their target of 172 with over five overs to spare – and copious stunning innings batting lower. Also against England in the 2014 World T20, de Villiers smote 69 not out from 28 balls; against Afghanistan in the 2016 edition, he needed only 29 balls to hit 64, which included pummelling Rashid Khan for 29 in a single over.

Did you know? Not just a magnificent batsman, de Villiers has also taken a record number of T20I catches; he is the joint holder of the record for most catches by a fielder.

STATS
Batting: 1672 runs at 135.16 SR (Ave 26.12) from 78 matches; Best 79*; 10 fifties
Keeping: 21 catches, 7 stumpings

5. Brendon McCullum

His 158 not out on the first ever night of the IPL is among the most iconic innings in the format’s history. He was as explosive in the international game – being the first to hit two centuries, including a brazen 116 not out against Australia in Christchurch, in which he repeatedly went down on one knee to scoop Shaun Tait.

Did you know? McCullum was the first player to both 1000 and 2000 T20I runs. When he retired from T20I cricket, no one had a higher tally.

STATS
Batting: 2140 runs at 136.21 SR (Ave 35.66) from 71 matches; Best 123; 2 hundreds, 13 fifties
br Keeping: 24 catches, 8 stumpings

6. MS Dhoni (captain)

The man who made India fall in love with T20 cricket when he brilliantly led the national team to victory in the inaugural World T20 in 2007. An expert finisher and a charismatic leader, who revelled in taking run chases to the wire – and then delivering just when needed.

Did you know? He’s the leading run-getter as captain, with 1112 runs in 72 games. And no one has captained in more games, or victories.

STATS
Batting: 1364 runs at 125.02 SR (Ave 36.86) from 86 matches; Best 56; 2 fifties

Keeping: 47 catches, 29 stumpings

7. Shahid Afridi

When T20 was created, perhaps no cricketer already playing seemed so naturally suited to the format. Belligerent with the bat from his first ball, and a menace with his quick, accurate legspin – his stronger suit – Afridi combined the two to lead Pakistan to the 2009 World T20 title, when he was Man of the Match in both the semi-finals and final.

Did you know? Afridi’s haul of 11 Man-of-the-Match awards in T20Is are the most by any player.

STATS
Bowling: 97 wickets at 6.61 Econ from 98 matches; Best: 4 for 11; 3 four-fors
Batting: 1405 runs at 150.75 SR (Ave 18.01); Best 54*; 4 fifties

8. Dwayne Bravo

An integral part of the only team to have won the World T20 crown twice, Bravo has an effervescence naturally suited to the format. His single, “Champion”, had become a cult favourite; with his crafty death bowling, which combines slower balls with a surprise bounce, and versatile batting – able to either hit sixes with alacrity or rebuild – he has proved a champion on the pitch too.

Did you know? No one is a better determinant of how well West Indies perform: Bravo has picked up 45 wickets in T20Is wins at 17.66 apiece – but in defeats he has just five wickets at an average of 130.20.

STATS
Bowling: 52 wickets at 8.46 Econ from 66 matches; Best 4 for 28; 2 four-fors
Batting: 1142 runs at 116.41 SR (Ave 24.29); Best 66*; 4 fifties

9. Rashid Khan

The biggest beneficiary of the democratisation of cricket by T20. No type of bowling is more coveted in the format than legspin – and no one bowls it better than Rashid, who combines relentless accuracy with unusual pace for a legspinner (he is consistently over 60mph) and a brilliant, indecipherable googly.

Did you know? The youngest and only teenager to reach the No. 1 ICC ranking in any format – which he has achieved in both T20Is and ODIs. No one has taken more T20I wickets since the start of 2016.

STATS
Bowling: 42 wickets at 5.91 Econ from 27 matches; Best 5 for 3; 1 five-for

10. Umar Gul

Able to spear yorkers in with rare precision, Gul was so supreme bowling at the death that he would often only be brought on around the 13th or 14th over,  and entrusted to bowl his full allocation all the way through. A measure of how difficult it was for batsmen to attack him at the death is that he dismissed 19 batsmen in T20I cricket for ducks – a record.

Did you know? Gul was the first bowler to take a five-wicket haul, when he took 5 for 6 against New Zealand in the World T20 in 2009. He recorded identical figures against South Africa in 2013.

STATS
Bowling: 85 wickets at 7.19 Econ from 60 matches; Best 5 for 6; 2 five-fors, 4 four-fors

11. Lasith Malinga

Combining a unique, slingy action with 90mph pace and a shrewd cricketing brain, Malinga was often unreadable at the death. While his yorker was his iconic delivery, he mixed it up with slower balls and bouncers, and his trajectory ensured that even his full tosses were less expensive than the average such delivery for many pace bowlers at the death.

Did you know? Malinga is the leading wicket-taker in the final four overs of T20Is, with 53 of his 90 wickets coming at the death

STATS
Bowling: 90 wickets at 7.36 Econ from 68 matches; Best 5 for 31; 1 five-for, 1 four-for

All statistics are up to December 31, 2017

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