The Caribbean Premier League has a reputation for being one of the most entertaining T20 tournaments across the globe. It has provided a platform for many rising cricketers to show their prowess and continues to provide quality cricketers who then dominate the T20 leagues held in different parts of the World or the limited-overs cricket while playing for their respective nations.
The eighth edition of the CPL will be taking off from August 18 amidst the global COVID-19 outbreak and will continue till September 10 with all the matches now set to take place at Trinidad and Tobago.
It has been seven years since the start of Caribbean Premier League and in each edition there have been few players who have managed to rack up top-notch performances with their batting, bowling or wicket-keeping potency.
So taking into consideration the best of the best, here’s the list of cricketers who make it to the All-Time CPL XI.
Top-Order: Chris Gayle, Lendl Simmons, and Nicholas Pooran
Cometh T20 cricket and the first name that pops up in mind is of the Six Machine also known as the Universe Boss – Christopher Henry Gayle.
The left-handed batsman is the highest run-getter in CPL history with a tally of 2354 runs in 73 Innings. He averages 39.23 and has notched 4 centuries and 13 half-centuries at a strike rate of 133.44
His partner in crime would be Lendl Simmons who has been a part of five franchises in CPL history. Simmons, is the second highest run scorer in the Caribbean T20 tournament with 2080 runs and averaging 33.01 in 69 innings to date. He hasn’t yet a century unlike Chris Gayle but boasts of 16 half centuries under his belt.
It was tough to miss out left hander Colin Munro as he too finds himself among the finest batsmen in CPL in the matches he has played so far, but then, what better than the left-hand right-hand combination offered by Gayle-Simmons, two of the most lethal openers in T20 cricket.
Nicholas Pooran would be an ideal pick for the No 3 spot in CPL XI. His reputation as a wicket-keeper batsman has grown immensely over the last few years. Batting at such a pivotal position, Pooran has struck 1026 runs at a jaw dropping strike rate of 154.16. He does very well against the pacers and can change the momentum of the match in a span of few deliveries.
Talking about his wicket-keeping skills, he has affected 48 dismissals comprising 40 catches and 8 stumpings. Just 24-year-old, one can easily state that the future is shining bright for the Trinidadian cricketer as a WK-batsman in the shortest format of the game.
Middle-Order: Shoaib Malik, Kieron Pollard, Andrew Russell
Now this is the most interesting section of CPL XI. One glance at this middle-order and the opposition bowlers would have shivers down the spine.
At No 4, one of Pakistan’s greatest batsmen in T20 cricket finds his place. Averaging just under 40 and over 1700 runs, Shoaib Malik has been an asset for his franchises.
Following him at No 5 and 6 are perhaps the most feared cricketers in not just CPL, but in franchise cricket played all over the World.
Kieron Pollard, who is currently the skipper of Trinbago Knight Riders, has been a great success both as a big-hitting batsman and a medium pacer. With the bat, Pollard averages 35.89 and enjoys a strike rate of 148.56. He has cannoned a total of 106 sixes in CPL, and second only to Chris Gayle who tops the chart with 162 sixes.
Bowling wise, he has been impressive as he averages 21.68, with 47 wickets and two 4 four-fers.
Not to mention, Pollard is one of the best fielders in the shortest format who can pull stunning catches at crunch moments and shift the odds in his team’s favor.
Now at No 6 arrives Andre Russell who can single-handedly win matches for his team at his will. Be it spinner or a pacer, one is bound to face the wrath of Dre Russ, with sixes across the park becoming a common phenomena.
With a strike rate of 181.20 and a couple centuries and as many half-centuries, one can imagine the amount of carnage the Caribbean Muscle can unleash when set. Even as a bowler, he has been effective on many occasions grabbing 55 wickets in 51 appearances.
Lower Middle-Order: Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine
If you think you’re done with the lethality then wait for Dwayne Bravo. A bowling all-rounder known for choking the opposition batsmen with yorkers and cutters, or smash the bowlers with berserking batting display Bravo can be a nightmare in death overs.
He has been instrumental in Trinidad and Tobago franchise’ success since the inaugural edition of CPL with title wins in 2017 (then Trinidad and Tobago Red Steels) and in 2018 and 2019 editions (Trinbago Knight Riders).
The 37-year-old is currently topping the bowling charts with 97 wickets in 69 appearances making him the highest wicket-taker in the Caribbean T20 tournament.
Spin Wizard Sunil Narine would be among the valuable picks for any Caribbean franchise. What’s astonishing, there hasn’t been a bowler other than Sunil Narine to bowl a maiden super over in any T20 contest.
An economy of 5.52, an average of 21.40, and a tally of 72 wickets speaks volume of his success in CPL. He could get those blistering starts in the first six overs which furthermore cements his spot in CPL XI.
Bowlers: Sheldon Cottrell, Sohail Tanvir, and Krishmar Santokie
Among the pacers, the trio of Sohail Tanvir, Sheldon Cottrell and Krishmar Santokie find themselves comfortably in the all-time CPL unit.
Sheldon Cottrell’s inswinging deliveries have been a terrifying sight for the batsmen. Meanwhile, it is the bowling variations offered by his fellow left-armer Sohail Tanvir that has been the core reason behind him cracking up numbers in CPL.
Cottrell has been splendid with his bowling prowess and averages a splendid 19.33 with 69 scalpings. While he is seated at the fifth spot in wicket-taking tally, Tanvir occupies a spot below with 63 wickets, and most notably his figures of 5/3 against Barbados Tridents.
Krishmar Santokie will spearhead the bowling attack of the All-Time CPL XI. The pacer stands tall compared to his colleagues as he occupies the second spot in the list of highest wicket-takers with 85 wickets and an average shade under 20.
All Time Caribbean Premier League XI
Chris Gayle, Colin Munro, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Shoaib Malik, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo (c), Sunil Narine, Sheldon Cottrell, Sohail Tanvir, Krishmar Santokie.
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