Twenty20 is the latest version of cricket and hard hitting batting is the main attraction of this shortest version. Naturally, cricket fans expect boundaries and over-boundaries coming in a flurry. So, the batsmen with attacking intent are in great demand when it comes to twenty20 cricket. Now, ahead of the ICC Twenty20 world cup 2009, which kicks off from 5 June, 2009, I have decided to make a list of top ten twenty20 batsmen who are currently available in international arena. So, I did not include the retired stars like Mathew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist in the list.
While choosing the players, I gave preference to their ability of big hitting. Well, I also considered their twenty20 international record, specially their average and strike rate, but I did not solely rely only on their record. Before going through the list, I would like to say that this is the list based on my own opinion and you do not need to agree with me. You may have your own opinion and I would appreciate if you feel free to share your ideas with me in the comment section. So, let us go through the list:
Sanath Jayasuria (
(M: 11, Runs: 341, Av: 34.10, SR: 154.29)
If hard-hitting is the archetype of twenty20 cricket, then Sanath Jayasuria is the epitome of hard-hitting batting style. I can still remember the 1996 world cup in the sub-continent where a young Jayasuria revolutionized the batting style of ODI cricket. His powerful hitting ability around the wicket is rarely seen in world cricket and the most important thing is that he has the prowess to change the situation single-handedly thanks to his devastating hard-hitting batting.
Twenty20 is perhaps the perfect platform for Sanath Jayasuria who is one of the very few batsmen who have 10,000 runs in ODI format of the game. He is currently placed in the 8th position of all time highest scorers of twenty20 format. Jayasuria first dazzled in twenty20 format during 2007 World Twenty20 in
Yuvraj Singh (
(M: 10, Runs: 262, Av: 32.75, SR: 164.77)
I know many of you would consider Yuvraj Singh as the no. 1 batsman of twenty20 format at this moment, considering his devastating batting display during twenty20 world cup in 2007 in
Yes, you are very right, but the reason for which I rank him second in this list is related to his match winning ability.
Chris Gayle (
(M: 7, Runs: 261, Av: 37.28, SR: 161.11)
The West Indies captain is the only batsman who has century in twenty20 international which he scored during twenty20 world cup in 2007 against
The left-handed opener has been a prolific hitter of the ball in world cricket and it seems that twenty20 format is just the perfect place for Chris Gayle to stimulate his big hitting ability.
(M: 15, Runs: 422, Av: 52.75, SR: 122.67)
Jayasuria, Yuvraj and Gayle all were already big stars in world cricket, even before the inception of twenty20 format. However, Misbah-ul-Haq is one of those very few batsmen who achieved the star status through his batting prowess in twenty20 form of the game. Misbah-ul-Haq first broke into lime light during the ICC twenty20 world cup in 2007 where he was the third highest run-getter with 2218 runs from 7 games at an average of 54.50 with a striker of 139.74.
Misbah-ul-Haq is overall the second highest run scorer of twenty20 international with 422 runs with 3 half centuries from 15 games. His success in twenty20 form earned him a recall to both ODI and test format of the game. In 2008, he was also given the vice captaincy of
Brendon McCullum (
(M: 21, Runs: 582, Av: 34.23, SR: 125.43)
Brendon McCullum is the only wicketkeeper-batsman in this list and you can consider him as one of the best wicketkeepers in twenty20 cricket. The
As an opener, McCullum is always a threat for any opposition and he has the ability to destroy any bowling side in his day. I can remember his devastating unbeaten 158 for his IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders against Bangalore Royal Challengers during IPL 2008, and so far, his 158 not out has remained the highest individual score in twenty20 format (including both international and domestic matches). McCullum may not have a great record in test and ODI, but he has already gone very close to become a legend of twenty20 cricket.
(M: 12, Runs: 364, Av: 36.40, SR: 127.27)
Graeme Smith is another twenty20 batsman who can tear apart any bowling side while playing at the top. The
Stylish, aggressive, left handed opener, Smith is ranked 6th in the list of all time highest run scorers with 364 runs. He may not have hit many 6s in twenty20 international, but the opener has second highest 52 boundaries in twenty20international. Though Graeme Smith did not have a very good tournament in the inaugural world twenty20 at home ground, you can not question his power hitting ability either. To me, Smith is one of the best batsmen in twenty20 format of the game.
Andrew Symonds (
(M: 14, Runs: 337, Av: 48.14, SR: 169.34)
Andrew Symonds is undoubtedly one of the greatest big hitters of all time. Though he did not have good time on and off the pitch over the last one year, the Australian has already been one of the most successful batsmen of twenty20 format in international cricket. Symonds is currently the ninth highest run-getter in twenty20 cricket with a remarkable average of 48.14. His twentry20 record in domestic circuit is also very impressive as he has more than 900 runs at a strike rate of near 50 with 2 hundreds and 5 fifties.
A devastating middle order batsman, Andrew Symonds appeared as a savoir of
Kevin Pietersen (
(M: 15, Runs: 375, Av: 26.78, SR: 144.23)
I guess, there will be many who would not like to see Kevin Pietersen at the no. 8 position of the list. To be honest, I consider Pietersen as a great batsman, but as of now, his twenty20 record directs me to accommodate Pietersen at no. 8 position. No doubt, the South African born English batsman features an attractive package of batting prowess which includes power, style, aggressiveness, lethal execution of bad deliveries and the ability of playing shots around the wicket. When Pietersen is in the wicket, I guess, there is no bowler who can just relax and afford to feel any kind of complacency.
Since he started playing for
Jacob Oram (
(M: 13, Runs: 293, Av: 36.62, SR: 156.68)
Actually, I was really confused with myself whether I should include
Hard hitting and aggressiveness come to Jacob Oram so naturally that
Virender Sehwag (
(M: 12, Runs: 223, Av: 20.27, SR: 144.80)
To be honest, I was in a complete dilemma when I choose Virender Sehwag for the tenth position of the list. I had to encounter with some hard questions before deciding to place Sehwag in the last position of the list. First of all, I just could not imagine that how can I make a list of top ten twenty20 batsmen without Virender Sehwag. Sehwag has become a synonym of hard hitting batting in world cricket and he is such a naturally gifted big hitter that he could not even resist his power batting intent in test cricket.
However, the problem is that Sehwag has an average of 20.27 with a strike of 144.80 in his twenty20 international record spanning 12 games. I must say that there are a number of hard hitters who have better average with better strike rate than Sehwag in twenty20 cricket. Then why did I include Virender Sehwag in the list? Well, first of all he is a complete match winner who can single handedly change the overall situation of a match with his destructive batting display.
Secondly, Sehwag may not have been pretty much consistent in twenty20 format of cricket, but whenever he plays big innings, it gets counted and makes a difference between the two teams. Third and the foremost point that made me include Virender Sehwag in the list is his unique approach towards aggressive batting. Sehwag never feels any hesitation while playing shots and does not think much about the situation of the game. To him, a bad delivery must be executed for a boundary or over-boundary; no matter whether he is batting on 95 or 20. In fact, I initially thought Sehwag should be placed in the top 3 of the list, but I changed my mind, given his not-an-extraordinary average in twenty20 cricket.
Here, I am giving names of some other big hitters who could have made it to the list:
Justine Kemp (South Africa), David Warner (Australia), David Hussey (Australia), Ricky Ponting (Australia), Gautam Gambhir (India), Shoaib Malik (Pakistan), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India), Suresh Raina (India), Paul Collingwood (England), Andrew Flintoff (England), Roos Taylor (New Zealand), Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa), Jean Paul Duminy (South Africa) and Shahid Afridi (Pakistan).