Ahead of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021, mercurial Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell picked his top five players in the shortest format of the game.
Asked to pick five players who he would have in his T20 World XI, Maxwell went for choices that would cover all the bases on the cricket field and could give a tough contest to any five-a-side T20 team in the world. Choosing a tricky spinner, two destructive all-rounders, an all-time great wicket-keeper batter and a rapid pacer, the Australian made sure that his team wasn't short of quality in any department.
Here we take a look at Maxwell's picks and what makes them such formidable players:
1. Rashid Khan
Considered by many to be the premier spinner in T20 cricket, Rashid Khan, was unsurprisingly Maxwell's primary pick in his T20 side.
At the young age of 23, Rashid Khan has already achieved a number of feats in his career, across all three formats of the game. The batters still find it as hard as ever, to pick his clever variations, often leaving them bamboozled.
Despite his age, Rashid has already become somewhat of a veteran in T20 cricket, playing for a number of franchises around the world and impressing everywhere. He has already 281 matches, picking up a staggering 388 wickets at an average of 17.54 and a strike-rate of 16.60. He has also been a handy batter, scoring 1288 runs along with being a terrific fielder.
At the international level, Rashid has scalped 95 wickets in only 51 matches at a spellbinding average of 12.63 with a strike-rate of 12.10, with best bowling figures of 5/3.
In the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup in the UAE, Rashid will pose a major threat to the batters, especially with the conditions expected to be conducive to spin bowling.
2. Andre Russell
"Someone who'll add anything to any T20 side," Maxwell said, speaking about his next pick. Considered one of the most, if not the most destructive all-rounder in the shortest format of the game, Andre Russell can do it all.
Devastating with the bat, deadly with the ball and electric in the field, Russell has been a vital part of the highly successful West Indies T20 set-up. In his T20 career, Russell has played 382 games, scoring 6405 runs at a strike-rate of 169.66. He has also scalped up 340 wickets with best figures of 5/15.
In the international arena, Russell has played 62 games, scoring 716 runs and scalping 36 wickets.
Often troubled by injuries, West Indies will hope that he is fit and firing during the T20 World Cup, as they aim to clinch their third title.
3. Ben Stokes
Combative by nature, it is Ben Stokes' fierce competitiveness that has driven him to great heights in his international career and seen him write some glorious chapters in the history of English cricket. It's then of no surprise that he makes it as Maxwell's third pick in his T20 side.
Having played 148 T20 matches, Stokes has scored 2865 runs at an average of 24.91 and a strike-rate of 135.07. An out and out all-rounder, he has also picked up 86 wickets at 31.03 apiece.
For England, Stokes has played 34 T20Is, scoring 442 runs and scalping 28 wickets. On top of his quality with the bat and the ball, Stokes has also garnered widespread acclaim for his efforts on the field.
Numbers though, simply don't do justice to the talismanic abilities of the all-rounder and his presence in the English dressing room. Currently on a break from cricket, he will be a big absence for England during the tournament, as they gun for their second crown.
4. Adam Gilchrist
A game-changer in each and every sense of imagination, Adam Gilchrist is widely regarded as one of the greatest wicketkeeper-batter in the history of the game and a player who revolutionized the position.
Unerring with the gloves and smashing with the bat, watching Gilchrist in full flow was a ride will of thrill. Though international T20 cricket was very much in its infancy towards the end of Gilchrist's career, he still made an impact. Playing 13 matches, he scored 272 runs, striking at 141.66.
In his overall T20 career, Gilchrist played 102 games, scoring 2622 runs at a strike-rate of 140.28 with three centuries.
In Maxwell's very own words while picking him in his side, the all-rounder described him as "one of my favourite players to watch."
5. Shaun Tait
Perhaps the most surprising pick, Shaun Tait on his day was exhilarating to watch with his electric pace. Speaking on his selection, Maxwell said: "Having played against him, I know how quick he was. Even at the back end of his career, he was bowling absolute rockets. I think he'd certainly strike fear into any batter at the other end."
Despite being often beset by injuries, Tait regularly clocked up speeds of over 150 km/ph and had a searing yorker at his disposal. He played 171 T20 matches in his career picking up 218 wickets at an excellent average of 22.41 apiece.
For Australia, he played 21 T20 internationals with 28 wickets in his kitty at an average of 21.03. Though some people might be left surprised with this pick, watching Shaun Tait charging at the batters during his pomp was certainly a sight to behold.
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