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Friday, May 08, 2009

Top Ten Batsmen of Twenty20 Cricket

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 (Sri Lanka)


(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 South Africa where the Sri Lankan veteran amassed 159 runs from 5 matches at an average of 39.75 with a striker rate of 152.88. Moreover, Sanath Jayasuria was the third highest run scorer in IPL 2008, the inaugural tournament of IPL, with 514 runs. Sanath Jayasuria’s hard-hitting batting prowess has remained untouched by his age.


Yuvraj Singh (India)


(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 South Africa. Yuvraj Singh hit six 6s in a Stuart Broad over during a super eight match of world twenty20 2007, becoming the first ever batsmen to do so in twenty20 format. You might say that there are some other batsmen who have better twenty20 record than Yuvraj Singh.


Yes, you are very right, but the reason for which I rank him second in this list is related to his match winning ability. India’s triumph in the inaugural twenty20 competition was mainly because of two match winning knock from Yuvraj Singh. First, he helped India to reach the semi final, playing a brilliant innings against England and then his career best 70 against Australia in the semi final progressed India to the final. Alike Jayasuria, Yuvraj Singh also has the ability to turn the situation in his team’s favor anytime and the kind of threat he poses whenever he is around the wicket is rarely seen in twenty20 format. With a strike rate of 194.73, Yuvraj Singh scored 148 runs from 6 games in world twenty20 2007. Under his guidance, Kings XI Punjab, one of the eight IPL franchises, reached the semi final of IPL 2008. Considering all these achievements, can you say that Yuvraj Singh does not deserve the second place in this list?


Chris Gayle (West Indies)


(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 South Africa. His 57-ball 117 adorned with seven 4s and ten 6s. To be honest, I did not hesitate to place him in the third place, considering his dominating ability over the opposition bowlers anywhere in the world. When someone has an average of 37.28 and strike rate of 161.11 as well as 1 century and 2 half centuries in just 7 matches, you can not question Gayle’s class, power and prowess of devastating batting in the shortest version of the game.



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.



Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan)


(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 Pakistan team and a good central contract. The quality of remaining posed under pressure is instrumental behind Misbah-ul-Haq’s success in twenty20 format of cricket. His cool-headed batting helped Pakistan win a number of games in the inaugural twenty20 world cup in South Africa where Pakistan reached the final before losing to India. So, I think, Misbah-ul-Haq is one of the best twenty20 batsmen currently available in the world.



Brendon McCullum (New Zealand)


(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 New Zealand batsman is also the highest run scorer of twenty20 format of the game and the only batsman who has more than 500 runs in twenty20 cricket. McCullum is also the most experienced twenty20 cricketer with 21 matches in this format. The 27-year-old hit record 55 boundaries and 23 over-boundaries in twenty20 international.



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.



Graeme Smith (South Africa)


(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 South Africa captain has already led his side to become the biggest threat to Australia’s long-standing dominance in ODI and test cricket. Opener Smith has been one of the very few batsmen in world cricket to become successful in all three formats of the game. The youngest ever South African captain has already proven his skill, talent and style in world cricket.



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 (Australia)


(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 Australia on a number of occasions with his bat. Moreover, his handy off-break or medium fast bowling sometimes brought Australia crucial breakthroughs. The destructive intent and power are perhaps the two most attractive features of Andrew Symonds’ batting. So, I think, Andrew Symonds deserves to be among the best batsmen of twent20 cricket.

Kevin Pietersen (England)


(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 England, he has been the symbol of hard-hitting batting, and the 28-year-old has already been one of the most fearsome batsmen to the opposition bowlers. Because of his hard-hitting batting prowess, Pietersen was signed by IPL franchise Bangalore Royal Challengers for a whopping US$1.55 million, and thus, becoming the highest paid player of IPL 2009 along with England team mate Andrew Flintoff. So, the way Kevin Pietersen is going, he could be one of the greatest ever twenty20 batsmen by the time he will retire from cricket.



Jacob Oram (New Zealand)


(M: 13, Runs: 293, Av: 36.62, SR: 156.68)


Actually, I was really confused with myself whether I should include New Zealand all rounder Jacob Oram in the list of top ten batsmen of twenty20 cricket. At last, I decided to include him, having seen his excellent batting average and striker rate in twenty20 international. With an average of more than 36 and a striker rate of more than 150, and 293 runs from 13 games, I felt, Oram deserves a place among the top ten batsmen of the shortest version of cricket.



Hard hitting and aggressiveness come to Jacob Oram so naturally that New Zealand can afford to play him only as a batsman in ODI and twenty20 format. Even if you do not count his very effective handy medium pace, you can not just rule out an excellent hard hitter like Jacob Oram. His 24 boundaries and 17 over-boundaries prove that he hit almost 2 boundaries and more than 1 over-boundary in each of his twenty20 appearance for New Zealand. So, now I have not doubt that I did not make any mistake by placing Jacob Oram in the list of top ten twenty20 batsmen.



Virender Sehwag (India)


(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).

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:07 AM

    ALL TIME BEST BATSMAN IS SURESH RAINA

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think chris gayle is the best t20 batsman as he have a average of 40 in t20 cricket. He has the highest score of 175 in t20 that also proved that he is the best t20 cricketer.

    ReplyDelete

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