The shortest format of the game has seen a revolution in the past decade. With time, the evolution of new T20 leagues across the world has changed the dynamic of the format. The emphasis on power-hitting has been one of the major aspects in T20Is, but it has also redefined the role of bowlers.
T20Is, naturally, have also seen major changes in such a scenario. International cricket has always been the survival of the fittest. In T20Is, it is more so.
As another decade comes to an end, we take a look at eleven players who stood out in the shortest format of the game. Here is our T20I XI of the decade:
Rohit Sharma (India)
The Indian batsman is arguably one of the best six-hitters in modern-day cricket. His shot-making is almost effortless, and when on song, Rohit is one of the most delightful batsmen to watch. In the past decade, the Indian vice-captain has amassed 2392 runs in 90 matches at a brilliant strike-rate of 140.12.
Rohit has hit the most sixes in the shortest format in this decade (112). More than that, however, when in form, the Indian opener is capable of single-handedly changing the course of the game.
The Mumbai batsman has also hit most number of centuries (4) in T20Is in this decade.
Matches: 90; Innings: 84; Runs: 2392; Average: 32.32; S/R: 140.12
Martin Guptill (New Zealand)
There had been quite a tussle for the second opening spot between Martin Guptill and David Warner, but the former made it into the XI on the basis of his consistency for the Kiwis. In his prime, Guptill’s aggressive batting – along with his consistent scoring made him a key part of New Zealand’s batting lineup.
In 71 T20Is he played in this decade, Guptill scored 2197 runs at a strike-rate of 136.29. He is the only player alongside Rohit Sharma and Colin Munro to hit more than 100 sixes in the shortest format during this time.
While Rohit prefers to build his innings, Guptill can take charge from ball one – which makes the duo a dangerous opening combination.
Matches: 71; Innings: 69; Runs: 2197; Average: 34.87; S/R: 136.29
Virat Kohli (India)
The Indian captain – unarguably the most complete player in modern-day cricket, tops the chart for the highest run-getters in T20Is in this decade. In 75 matches, Virat has scored 2633 runs at a staggering average of 52.66. Among active cricketers, he is the only batsman to maintain an average of over 50 in the shortest format.
He also played one of the most memorable T20I innings in 2016 against Australia during the T20 World Cup. Virat almost single-handedly took India to the semifinal of the tournament as he remained unbeaten on 82 off 51 deliveries in a 161-run chase.
The Indian captain will lead the side in his first T20 World Cup as captain in 2020 in Australia.
Matches: 75; Innings: 70; Runs: 2633; Average: 52.66; S/R: 138.07
JP Duminy (South Africa)
South Africa’s JP Duminy may have not gained significant limelight during his career, but he was central to the Proteas’ batting line-up in the shortest format. Duminy had the ability to steer the innings, as well as take charge when the situation demanded.
He played 63 T20Is for South Africa in this decade, scoring at an impressive average of 43.38. He scored 1562 runs for the Proteas.
No South African batsman has more runs for the side in T20Is than Duminy.
Matches: 63; Innings: 57; Runs: 1562; Average: 43.38; S/R: 126.78
Glenn Maxwell (Australia)
The ‘Big Show’ has been Australia’s best power-hitter in this decade. Maxwell has been one of the hottest properties in franchise cricket, and there’s a valid reason. The Aussie batsman has a staggering strike rate of 160 in 61 T20Is.
In addition, he has an impressive average of 35.02 in the shortest format of the game, scoring 1576 runs.
Maxwell’s unorthodox style of play makes him a difficult batsman to bowl to, which gives him a defining edge in T20Is.
Matches: 61; Innings: 54; Runs: 1576; Average: 35.02; S/R: 160.00
Jos Buttler (wk/b) (England)
At number seven, the English wicketkeeper has the credentials to wreak havoc and play the role of a finisher. Buttler has scored 1152 runs in 46 T20I innings at a strike-rate of 140.14 in this decade.
Buttler faced a stiff competition for his place in the side with India’s legendary wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni. However, Dhoni’s performances in the shortest format have seen a gradual decline over the period of this decade – even as he’s the second-highest scorer among wicketkeepers. Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad remains at the top, but most of his runs have come against associate sides.
Matches: 50; Innings: 46; Runs: 1152; Average: 29.53; S/R: 140.14; Catches: 22; Stumpings: 4
Darren Sammy (c) (West Indies)
The Windies all-rounder led his side to twin-World Cup victories in the shortest format in 2012 and 2016. Sammy also placed a crucial role – both, with the bat and the ball. In the former, the former Windies captain performed as a pinch-hitter. In the latter, he used himself as a part-timer who could provide breakthroughs and break partnerships.
In the final of the WT20 2012, he steered Windies to a competitive total (137/6) with a 15-ball 26 cameo, and also took two wickets in two overs, conceding only six runs.
Batting: Matches: 59; Innings: 47; Runs: 558; Average: 18.00; S/R: 152.04;
Bowling: Innings: 49; Wickets: 34; BBI: 5/26; Economy Rate: 7.57
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
The Afghanistan bowler is arguably the most lethal leg-spinner in the T20I format. Rashid Khan is one of the hottest names in franchise cricket, and his performances in leagues throughout the world reflect at the international level.
Rashid is the highest wicket-taker in T20Is in this decade. He has taken 84 wickets between 2010 and 2019, out of which 64 have come against Test-playing nations. He has taken these 64 wickets in only 34 matches at a staggering economy rate of 6.16. In addition, he has two five-wicket hauls and three four-wicket hauls against these countries.
Matches: 45; Innings: 45; Wickets: 84; BBI: 5/3; Economy Rate: 6.15
Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)
Some call him the ‘toe-crusher’, the others call him ‘Slinga’. The Sri Lankan captain in the shortest format will be leaving a lasting legacy once he hangs his boots. Malinga, the second-highest wicket-taker in this decade, is the first bowler in T20Is to take 100 wickets.
In 59 matches, Malinga has taken 82 wickets at an economy rate of 7.15.
Matches: 59; Innings: 59; Wickets: 82; BBI: 5/6; Economy Rate: 7:15
Mohammad Amir (Pakistan)
The Pakistan pacer has been key to the side’s success in T20Is over the past two years. Amir has taken 50 wickets in 38 T20Is over the past decade, conceding at a nominal economy rate of 6.86.
Amir is the first name on the team sheet for Pakistan in the limited-overs.
Matches: 38; Innings: 38; Wickets: 50; BBI: 4/13; Economy Rate: 6.86
Jasprit Bumrah (India)
Bumrah has emerged as one of the most lethal bowlers – especially in the limited-overs format. The Indian pacer, with his toe-crushing yorkers at the death, has been troubling the batsmen all over the world in international as well as franchise cricket.
Bumrah has taken 51 wickets in 42 games in this decade at an economy rate of 6.71.
Matches: 42; Innings: 42; Wickets: 51; BBI: 3/11; Economy Rate: 6.71