King of T20 Cricket
Introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2003, the T20 format of the game has gone on to gain immense popularity in a short period of time. After the success of the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, several T20 leagues came into being around the world and have become a huge hit with the audience. Some cricketers went on to ace the format better than the others with their 360 degree batting and mysterious bowling. But who is the King of T20 Cricket?
The answer to the King of T20 cricket is Chris Gayle. To be bluntly put, there isn’t a single batsman close to Chris Gayle when it comes to T20 cricket. The self-proclaimed Universe Boss has broken most records in T20 cricket and there is little doubt that he is the undisputed leader of T20 cricket history.
Here are a few more batsmen who can be termed as the King of T20 cricket.
Chris Gayle – West Indies
King of T20 cricket, Bradman of T20 cricket, revolutionary of T20 cricket. Fans have kept several names for Chris Gayle, known as the best T20 player in the world. The destructive Jamaican opener has several T20 records under his belt – first cricketer to hit 1000 sixes, the only player to score more than 14000 runs, the first player to win two orange caps in the IPL, player to have the highest individual score (175*) and the player with most centuries and most runs in T20 cricket. Although Gayle’s destructive form has waned in the last couple of years, he still continues to frighten bowlers. He is undoubtedly the greatest batsman to play the T20 game of cricket.
In T20s, Gayle has 14276 runs at an average and strike rate of 36.79 and 145.71. In T20 internationals, the West Indies cricketer has 1854 runs in 70 innings at an average of almost 30 and a strike rate of 139.18. He also holds the record for most fifties in consecutive T20I innings – four.
Captain of the West Indies at the 2009 World T20, Gayle, at 42, is now gearing up for the 2021 edition of the tournament and will be looking to lit up the fag end of his career with a few more sixes.
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Rohit Sharma – India
Rohit Sharma, who is all to play his seventh T20 World Cup, is one of the best white-ball players from India. His ability to clear the boundaries with ease has earned him the nickname ‘Hitman.’
He is the third-highest run-scorer in T20Is with 2864 runs, only behind Virat Kohli and Martin Guptill. He has the second most fifties (26) after Kohli, second-most sixes (133) after Guptill, seventh most sixes in an innings (10) and fifth-most runs from boundaries in an innings (108). The longevity of his T20I career is also what makes him stand out. Since his debut in 2007, Rohit has played 113 T20Is, which is the third-most after Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik (116) and Mohammed Hafeez (113).
The frontrunner to India’s T20I captaincy post after Virat Kohli’s exit, Rohit has also been a batting powerhouse in the IPL with Mumbai Indians, where he is the third-highest run-scorer of all time. With captain Kohli’s performance being off-colour in the recent past, a lot will depend on vice-captain Rohit if India is to win their second T20 World Cup title.
Jasprit Bumrah – India
Jasprit Bumrah made head turns with his unorthodox bowling action in domestic cricket, which in no time propelled him into the IPL, which changed his life. After impressing in the T20 tournament and in matches played by India A, Bumrah made his T20 international debut in 2016 against Australia in Adelaide.
Bumrah holds the T20I record for most maidens in an innings (2) and in a career (7), second-most wickets in a calendar year (28) and most wickets taken bowled (24).
The unusual release point of Bumrah’s deliveries is what makes him stand out and difficult to pick. He has 59 wickets in 50 T20Is at an economy of 6.66 and has also been among the top bowlers in the IPL with 130 wickets in 106 games. The 28-year-old will spearhead India’s pace attack at the 2021 World Cup in the UAE.
Babar Azam – Pakistan
One of the best players in Pakistan across formats, Babar Azam, will be among those to watch out for the T20 World Cup 2021. A mainstay of his team’s batting line-up, the right-handed batter averages 46.89 in 61 T20Is and has a strike rate of 130.64. Babar recently surpassed Gayle and Virat Kohli to become the fastest batter to complete 7,000 runs in T20s, before which he surpassed Kohli to become the fastest to 2000 T20I runs.
What has particularly helped Pakistan cricket is that Babar’s opening partner Mohammad Rizwan is an equally fine T20 player. Rizwan has seven 50s and a century in 14 T20I innings this year and was also the second- highest run-getter in PSL 2021. Babar and Rizwan have enjoyed batting together and have shared quite a few match-winning partnerships. The two have three 100+ partnerships in T20I cricket.
Coming back to Babar, who scored 122 in 59 balls against South Africa earlier this year, he has been Pakistan’s most dependable batter since his debut in 2016 and in five years has established himself as one of the Kings of T20 cricket.
Rashid Khan – Afghanistan
Among the bowlers who have reminded everyone that T20 is not just a batter’s game is Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan. The cornerstone of Afghanistan cricket, the 23-year-old has 95 wickets in 51 T20Is at a stingy economy rate of 6.21. He is only five wickets away from a century of wickets in T20Is.
What is special about Rashid is that is he not only a wicket-taking bowler, but also an economical bowler. While his bowling strike rate of 12.1 is the best by any player T20Is, his economy rate of 6.21 is the fifth-best in the format.
The youngest ever T20I captain, Rashid, has taken most of his wickets through LBW. He is the second-fastest bowler to 50 T20I wickets and most notably, he took four wickets in four balls against Ireland in 2019.
Rashid is no mug with the bat, either. While we have not seen him bat too frequently in international cricket, Rashid is seen as an all-rounder in T20 leagues around the globe. In the IPL, especially, he has finished off a few games for the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
In six years of playing professional cricket, Rashid has played for more than 20 teams and has made a name for himself in almost all the leagues around the world. What will particularly help him at the T20 World Cup is his plenty of experience playing on the UAE pitches.
Conclusion of King of T20 cricket
It is pertinent to note that the above-mentioned players are not the only ones currently ruling the shortest format of the fame. Among other important names to mention are Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Kane Williamson, Shaheen Afridi, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammed Rizwan and Liam Livingstone. Virat Kohli is undoubtedly the king of test cricket and ODI cricket, but when it comes to T20 matches, he still has a lot to prove. The other batsmen who were very close to making this list are Bredon McCullum, the former New Zealand international, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni.
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