The Legendary team for the T20 World Cup
We’re all excited about the upcoming T20 World Cup. Of course there will be a few players great who won’t be playing it, like Mark Boucher and Brett Lee, who recently retired from all forms of cricket for their respective countries; and Kevin Pietersen, who may not play cricket at all until his issues with the ECB are resolved. So I have taken a list of players who I think will have an important part to play in this World Cup, and put them together in this team. Here they are:
Chris Gayle: This hard-hitter from the Carribbean had just come back from a dismal World Cup, only to be kicked out of the squad by the WICB. That’s when things turned around. The Royal Challengers Bangalore had lost fast bowler Dirk Nannes to an injury and and desparetely needed a replacement. So they called upon Chris to help them. And he did. He walked out to bat against the team that had decided not to retain him, with 170-odd runs to chase. And he took it out on Gautam Gambhir’s knights. He smashed about every bowler out of the park, and hit Shakb Al Hassan for a boundary to bring up his maiden IPL hundred. Then he came out with another ton again, this time against Adam Gilchrists’ KXIP. He then took 3 wickets with his off-spin to grind the boys from Mohali to dust. Riding on his fabulous performances, RCB made it to the finals, but lost by 58 runs. Then he repeated the performance again in 2012, but failed to take his team to the semis. He then at last, received a call-up from the Windies, and began smashing runs for them in all 3 formats of the game. So he will want to repeat his IPL performances in the WC T20.
Jacques Kallis: When opening the innings with Chris Gayle, there are several things that you must have, like a cool head, so that you don’t get carried away by Chris hitting sixes at the other end, the ability to last throughout the innings, but not score too slowly, and the ability to be able to defend Chris from certain bowlers who may threaten him. Jacques Kallis has each and every one of these characteristics. In addition to which he can bowl a 4-over spell with minimal difficulty. So if you want someone who can do each and every one of these things, and do them well, they don’t come much better than Kallis. As you can see, all-rounders of Kallis’ value are very rare, not because they can’t bat and bowl as well as he can, but because of his ability to adapt to the situation. He can either anchor the innings from one end and let the other person go berserk, or he can pull out some beautiful strokes and take matters into his own hands. More than this he can change mode very quickly, making him a valuable asset for any team he plays for. And opening the innings with Chris Gayle, it will take a lot to keep him down. I feel he will have a very big role to play in this WC T20, so let’s watch and wait.
Gautam Gambhir: After an opening pair of Gayle and Kallis, most teams will feel that some amount of pressure has been lifted off their shoulders by getting rid of any one of them. How very mistaken they would be. Gautam Gambhir walking in to bat can never be a good omen for the bowling side. Not because he can smash out of the park at will, though. You see, like Kallis, it’s Gauti’s ability to shift gears based on the situation is what makes him such a dangerous player. If he feels that his partner is doing a good job, he will be content with rotating strike and hitting the occasional boundary to stay at a strike rate of 105 or so. However, if he feels his partner is struggling, he will take matters into his own hands and bring out an array of shots and destroy the opposition. Again, like Kallis, Gauti can shift gears very quickly, and that makes him a very valuable asset for India. And after Gauti’s superb run in IPL 5, he will be a subject of keen observation in the WC T20. He is also a skilled captain, who lead KKR to their first ever IPL victory. Still, we have named him only vice captain of our legendary squad. Who the captain is, you’ll see in a while.
Virat Kohli: Virat, Virat Virat. It’s hard to keep him out of anything these days. Be it Tests in Australia, or ODIs in Sri Lanka, or T20s in South Africa. It’s just impossible to leave him out of the frame. With solid and elegant batting techniques, he can score lots of runs freely in all 3 formats pretty well. And outside batting, his medium pace is somewhat reliable to go through 1 or 2 overs quickly (even if it does yield 28 runs in an over once in a while:P ). Beyond that, he also produces magic in the field. He can turn 4s into 2s, 2s into 1s, 1s into run outs, and 6s into catches. He’s that good a fielder. He also showed remarkable maturity as a captain when he led RCB in IPL 5, making good calls at the toss, and rotating his bowlers wisely. He has also been named vice-captain of the Indian side, which is a good thing in many ways, but I still feel that has a few more years to go before he can lead the Indian side. Though he had a below average IPL, he came out with some superb shots in the one-off T20 vs Sri Lanka. And in addition to all this he is on top of the list of ‘Malinga Maulers’ in ODI cricket. And even though he doesn’t get his preferred number 3 spot in our legendary squad, but he will definitely get it in the Indian side as Gauti now has to open because Sachin Tendulkar no longer plays T20 cricket for India, and if he gets going, it’s only a matter of whether India get 220 or 230.
AB de Villiers: AB de Villiers, as you’ve probably read in my post on him, you’ll know what a legend he is. So I won’t go into detail on that. Why I selected him? 65% because of his natural ability to dominate with the bat, and 30% because of his fabulous fielding, and 5% because of the certain amount of insurance he provides, like saving 20 runs in the field, or hit 50 runs of 20 balls, or stay till the very end and score 81 of 53 balls, etc. The most important part: his batting ability. Now if your team is 3 down early and your chasing a total like 160 on an average pitch, then you need someone to drop anchor and stay till the end. AB can do that. If your 3 down and your chasing 195 and need 60 on 5 overs, AB can do that. So basically speaking, there’s almost no situation in which this man can’t come in and make a difference. Also he has a large array of shots, which even include more unorthodox ones, like the reverse sweep, and the paddle scoop. So this is why he’s such a difficult player to bowl to, or to set a field to. Then we move on to the fielding. AB won’t get much of a chance to field for RSA because of Mark Boucher’s untimely retirement, and won’t be able to in any format unless RSA decides to give a call-up to someone like Davy Jacobs, or Morne van Wyke, who are both skilled with the gloves and awesome with the bat. However, AB will get to field in out legendary squad because of our captain. So with other awesome fielders like Virat Kohli, Dale Steyn, Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga in his side, I’m sure that at least 50 runs can be saved in the field. So I’m really looking forward to seeing him play in the WC T20.
M.S Dhoni: So finally we know why Gauti isn’t captain. So now we know why AB isn’t keeping. It’s because of M.S Dhoni!!!!!So who would make AB de Villiers keeper when Dhoni’s there? Who would ask Gautam Gambhir to lead the side when M.S Dhoni is here? MSD, or ‘captain cool‘ as we know him, can do all those things, without so much as a drop of sweat dropping from his head. Though his records in Test and ODI cricket are not consistent, he is a powerful with the bat and can strike sixers at will when batting. However it’s none of these things that makes MSD so special. You want a hard hitter who can keep? Go for Brendon McCullum and he can do the job just as well. No. It’s neither his hard hitting, nor his keeping which makes MSD so special. It’s his cool captaincy skills; his ability to stay cool and keep a cool head in the face of defeat, and snatch victory from it’s nose. He’s that awesome. His claim to fame was when all of India’s senior players, including Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid opted out of the WC T20 2007, because they wanted to take a break before the 2008 IPL, which was coming soon. So MSD was awarded captaincy. And he did it well. He took India to a series win, and soon became permanent captain. And his captaincy will be something without which getting into the semis won’t be so easy.
Kieron Pollard: Remember what I said in the post I made on what you need to play a T20? Well, if you did, then you’ll see that I said that you must have an all-rounder to balance your side around. Pollard is superb for that job, because he’s one of those rare talents, who can bowl almost as well as he can bat. With him, Jacques Kallis (batting all-rounder) and Daniel Vettori (bowling all-rounder), balancing the lineup, the team can afford to use many pure batsmen, who can’t bowl, and still remain balanced. With their top-order highly fortified, any team would be happy to take 5 wickets quickly. Unfortunately, that would only mean that Pollard would have to come out a little earlier than planned. It wouldn’t change the power with which he hit. The main reason I’ve slotted him in at number 7 and not number 6 is that he has a bit of a problem playing spin. So coming in at number 7, after all the spinners are done bowling, he can sink his teeth into the opposition’s fast bowlers or medium pacers. Other than this, though he provides the option of a 5th bowler as well, and is good at taking the pace off the ball and will be useful on slower tracks. More than this, though, is his fielding. He is a stunning fielder, and because of his height he can turn 6s into catches or 2s. Despite all this, KP has been slightly inconsistent; but if he comes in form than he will be a force to be reckoned with in the WC T20 2012.
Daniel Vettori: The main reason I selected Danny for this awesome team is mainly because he’s economic, with the ball, and awesome with the bat. So you see, the problem he had while playing for RCB was that none of his other bowlers were actually doing the same, hence not pressurizing the batsmen. It was only on a few occasions that their bowling clicked as one, and those were most of the games that they won. However, now on the legendary squad, Vettori has Dale Steyn, Sunil Narine, and Lasith Malinga bowling from the other end, so all he has to do is keep things tight from one end. Like I said in the beginning, the reason I selected Danny was not only because of his economic spin. If I want economic spin why should I go for Vettori? I might as well go for Ravichandran Ashwin or Praghyan Ojha if I want spin. No. The true reason I selected Vettori is because of his batting prowess. His batting skill is amazing for a bowler of his style. You see, it’s very difficult to be such a good bowler and bat so well at the same time. And Vettori’s batting style is rather unorthodox, not very unlike that of AB de Villiers. He likes to go for the reverse sweeps and the paddle shots. The one thing he has that de Villiers doesn’t, though, is that he will start hitting you right from ball 1. You see, not unlike all-rounders like Irfan Pathan or Johan Botha, Vettori’s favoured batting position is at number 7-8, and when he comes in (if he does); it will be at the hit-out or get-out phase, so Vettori will sink his teeth into you if your not careful. And he’s coming out of retirement to play the WC T20 2012, and will be a player to look out for.
Dale Steyn: Dale Steyn is easily the World’s deadliest Test bowler, but it doesn’t stop there. Steyn is a brilliant T20 bowler, and combines pace with accuracy to get wickets, as well as economy. You see, it’s not easy to walk in and take figures of 4-1-8-3 when you’re defending 130-odd. Dale Steyn did it. He walked in, took a brilliant 1 handed caught and bowled to sent back T.Suman, knocked over Richard Levi in his second over, and came back in the 19th over to knock over Dinesh Karthik. And thanks to these heroics that MI needed 18 in the last over to win, and they did it, docking Daniel Christian for 21 runs in that over. So Steynie has been included into our legendary side, and will have the best T20 backup in the world. So look out everybody, the Steyn engine’s here!!! And it doesn’t end here. He’s a fantastic fielder, and can easily save 15 runs in the field by himself, and along with his team mates Kohli, de Villiers, Pollard and Malinga, I think they can win matches in the field. So Steynie will be very interesting to watch as he brings out an arsenal of bouncers and yorkers and bug almost any batsman. So all the best Steynie, we’ll see you in the WC T20 2012.
Lasith Malinga: One of the World’s most successful T20 bowlers. With his screaming yorkers and out-of the-blue short balls, he can easily torment any batsman. Some of the many batsmen he’s snared with his yorkers are David Warner, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Roelof van der Merwe, Sourav Ganguly, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jaywardene, Brendon McCullum, Shane Watson, and M.S Dhoni. And this is a formidable list, because every one of these players can give you hell as a bowler, in one way or another. And in addition to the deadly yorker released from the slinga from over the wicket, he can bowl the slower ball, the inswinger, and many more. And I must say, doing all that with a slinging action is very hard, but Malinga makes it look easy. Like some of the best ODI/T20 bowlers in the World, Malinga has retired from tests. In ODIs, he’s very effective, but it somewhat is diluted as he has to bowl a 10-over spell. In T20s, however, he only has to bowl a 4-over spell, so his effect is more concentrated. So Slinga Malinga, we’ll be seeing you soon, in the WCT20 2012.
Sunil Narine: Ahh…. the mystery bowler…Sunil Narine was a relatively unknown West Indian bowler, until he gave a good show in the CLT20 2011. Then the Kolkata Knight Riders picked him up for a rather expensive sum of $700,000. He came to play the IPL with a shroud of expectation and critique surrounding him. He had come for the IPL at the cost of a possible Test debut, which earned him a lot of criticism. However his show in the IPL was like a message to the critiques saying: “eat this, losers”. He took 24 wickets, and bagged almost every award a bowler in IPL can dream of getting: He had Sachin Tendulkar bowled, took a 5 wicket haul and earned an overall average of 13.50 and did all this at an economy rate of 5.47. So the only things he didn’t do were get the Purple Cap and get Chris Gayle out. Other than that he was known as the ‘mystery bowler’, and was almost unplayable. It was only in the finals in which Narine took a drubbing from Suresh Raina. Other than that he snared many dangerous batsmen, such as Shaun Marsh, Adam Gilchrist, and Mayank Agarwal. He was then called up for the New Zealand and England tours, and in the ODIs he was bowling at 2 an over, which is admirable for any format. So Narine’s performance this WC T20 will greatly influence the West Indies claim for the cup.
So If a team should be able to play a tournament, there should be a few back-up players, just in case. So here are the ‘legendary subs’:
Dwayne Bravo: The second Kieron Pollard. He can do everything Pollard can do, and do it almost just as well. Bravo is one of those few people who can bat, and bowl just as well. He can run through overs with the ball, and be a devastating finisher with the bat. His all-round shows were one of the many highlights of CSK’s IPL 5 campaign. And he’s no slob in the field either. Once he took a stunning catch, which caused the commentator to exclaim: “What is he made of?! Bravo!” Unfortunately, I think he’s been underrated slightly, but it doesn’t affect his performances one bit. And other than all this, Bravo completes the T&T trio of Pollard, Narine and himself. And this is a formidable trio to have in a single T20 side. So Bravo will be looking to fire this WC T20, and will be brilliant to watch. So all the best, Bravo!!
Shane Watson: A very strong all-rounder. One of the world’s best , in my not-so humble opinion 🙂 With a pair of powerful forearms,Watson can bludgeon sixes out of the blue with a flick of his forearms. He is very similar to Kallis in many aspects, like his ability with both bat and ball, but unlike Kallis he is a little bit more of a hit-out-or-get-out batsman. With the ball, he can easily bowl a 4-over spell, and get a bit of swing as well. He was not available for the Rajasthan Royals for the first part of IPL, but returned in the end with some powerful all-rounded cameos, which unfortunately were not enough to take the Royals to the semis. My reason for selecting Watson for a sub, and not placing him directly into the playing XI, was because of the mere fact that Kallis’ ability to anchor the innings is needed a bit more that Watson’s six-hitting abilities when opening with Chris Gayle. However, should Kallis or Gayle get injured, Watson would be the first choice of a replacement. So “Watto”will be keenly watched in the WC T2o, and if he can pull out an all-round show, then the Australia side will be a formidable fighting force.
Shaun Tait: If you think facing Malinga is dangerous,wear a suit of armor when facing Tait. Why? Well his teammates fondly call him the ‘wild thing’ because of his wild bowling action. Need I say more? And because of his weird slinging action, he bowls a lot of wides and no-balls. And more than that it’s a pain in the back. Despite all this Tait can produce a ferocious yorker and a powerful bouncer that can hit you on the head. The reason I picked him for this XI? Well, Tait’s a T20 specialist (No, I’m serious, he’s retired from ODI’s and Tests). And because of that his effect will be very concentrated. And if you need anyone to replace someone like Lasith Malinga or Dale Steyn, who better than Shaun Tait? With his unplayable yorker and lethal bouncer, he can reduce a side to ashes. So I’ll be really surprised if Tait isn’t picked for the Australian playing XI for the WC T20. So see you there, “Wild Thing.” 🙂