2021 T20I Team of The Year
In many ways, 2021 was not a normal year. It was another bustling year for cricket though, witnessing the inaugural World Test Championship Final and a T20 Word Cup. A opportunity to crown the best team in the purest format made the latter somewhat insignificant. The entire schedule felt rushed in the first place, with the multi-nation competition beginning mere days after the IPL Final.
The T20I format is still relatively new, but in many ways has developed into its own entity. It is not uncommon for a player to give up the red-ball game in favor of the money and fame that comes with globe-trotting. It must be forgotten, however, that T20s are also the vessel in charge of reaching cricket to a wider audience. All 105 members of the ICC have been granted T20I status and as such, there is a lot of it being played.
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2021 saw 332 games being played. In the World Cup that took place, Australia emerged victorious after lying dormant in the format for years. There were some mind boggling performances and countless records broken. The result? This team was incredibly hard to pick. But as it is said, ‘The hardest choices require the strongest wills’. Players were judged on the basis of their performances in this year alone. As a result, players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma don’t make it. With another T20 World Cup in 2022, these will be the players to keep an eye on.
That being said, here is the T20I team of 2021.
Opener – Mohammad Rizwan
Innings – 26 | Runs – 1326 | Batting Avg – 73.66 | SR – 134.89 | HS – 104*
Pakistani keeper Mohammad Rizwan had the most prolific year in T20I history. He started the year with a bang, scoring 104* against the South Africans at Lahore. He contributed to his team’s success throughout the year, scoring 12 fifties to go with his hundred. Along with Babar Azam, he formed an impenetrable partnership at the top of the order. Rizwan has learnt to pace his innings wonderfully, often settling in during the powerplay and then going berserk at the end. His 79* against India was a perfect example, leading Pakistan to their first victory against their arch-rivals in the T20 World Cup. As solid as he is behind the stumps, his keeping is not required in this team.
Opener – Jos Buttler (C) (WK)
Innings – 14 | Runs – 589 | Batting Avg – 65.44 | SR – 143.30 | HS – 101*
The destructive English opener has also been named as captain of this side. What worked in his favor was his incredible Strike rate and ability to clear the fence. He has the ability to take the game away from the opposition in the powerplay with his wide range of shots all around the wicket. Though it is hard on Babar Azam, Buttler’s contributions were just too immense to ignore. He showed his adaptability in the World Cup with contrasting innings against Australia and Sri Lanka. On a difficult pitch against the island nation, he brought up his fifty off 45 balls, before finishing with 101* from 67. He has led England in 13 whit-ball game so far, winning 8 of them. He is also the designated wicket-keeper. Here are the top cricket betting sites. Do check it here.
Number 3 – Mitchell Marsh
Innings – 20 | Runs – 627 | Batting Avg – 36.88 | SR – 129.81 | HS – 77* | Wickets – 8| Bowling Avg – 18.37 | Economy – 7.35 | Best – 3/24
2021 was a dream year for Marsh. In the absence of several regular players, he was promoted to number 3 on tours of West Indies and Bangladesh. His exemplary performances meant that he retained the position even when the regular players returned. He was one of Australia’s only successful batsmen on those difficult batting pitches. He made runs in conditions where other struggled to get the ball off the square. His crowning moment undoubtedly came in the World Cup Finals, where his 77* off 50 gave Australia their first title in the format. If required, Marsh can also indulge in a bit of part-time medium pace.
Number 4 – Aiden Markram
Innings – 16 | Runs – 570 | Batting Avg – 43.84 | SR – 148.82 | HS – 70
It was hard to look past Aiden Markram for the number four position. After being a Test specialist early on in his career, 2021 was the year which saw him take his T20I game to the next level. He impressed in nearly every series he played, topping off his year with a good World cup campaign. He scored 162 runs from five games at 54.00 including two fifties. One look at his strike rate will tell you how much he has developed his white ball game. He is also a clever off-spinner who can sneak in a couple of overs during the powerplay. Markram will have to keep up this form if South Africa are to have a chance at the next World Cup.
Number 5 – David Miller
Innings – 15 | Runs – 377 | Batting Avg – 47.12 | SR – 149.60 | HS – 85*
After a few quiet years, Miller showed signs of returning to his usual, destructive self. In many matches, he gave the innings a little push towards the end. While his average is boosted up by him often remaining not-out, his presence at the end ensures that the team scores that extra 10-15 runs. Both his fifties came in valiant, single handed knocks, His 85* against Sri Lanka came in an innings where the next highest score was 27. The fact that he is left-handed means that he also breaks up the rut of right-handers in the top order which provides balance to the batting lineup. He can be used as a floater to give the innings some much needed momentum.
Number 6 – Liam Livingstone
Innings – 8 | Runs – 236 | Batting Avg – 33.71 | SR – 177.74 |HS – 103 | Wickets – 8 | Bowling Avg – 19.75 | Economy – 6.32 | Best – 2/15
Livingstone has been a T20 revelation in 2021. His big hitting has captured the minds of fans and brought a new dynamism into England’s batting lineup. Though their strong team meant that he didn’t get many opportunities with the bat, he made use of those he did get. His stile rate is the highest among any top-order batsmen from the top ten T20I nations. The highlight of his year came during Pakistan’s tour of England, where he scored 101 off 43 balls (England’s fastest T20I hundred). However, the lack of support from his teammates meant that Livingstone’s knock was in vain. He is one of the few players who can bowl off-spin and leg-spin, making him a wicket-taking option on helpful pitches.
Number 7 – Wanindu Hasaranga
Innings -20 | Wickets – 36 | Bowling Avg – 11.63 | Economy – 5.44 | Best – 4/9 | Runs – 196 | Batting Avg – 14.00 | SR – 120.98 | HS – 71
The wily Sri Lankan spinner made headlines this year for his performances in the shortest format. His 36 wickets is the joint highest by any bowler in a calendar year. He announced himself on the International scene and picked up an IPL contract with RCB too. Not only did he pick up wickets regularly, but also did so at less than a run-a-ball. he had a dream run in the T20 world cup too, finishing as the highest wicket taker with 16 scalps. His best performance came against England, where he picked up 3/21 and scored 34 off 21. He has been Sri Lanka’s biggest positive in a year where they have had mixed results. In Hasaranga, they have found someone who provides that X-factor with bat and ball.
Number 8 – Dwaine Pretorius
Innings – 10 | Wickets – 16 | Bowling Avg – 12.75 | Economy – 7.11 | Best – 5/17
Perhaps the most surprising name on this list is 32-year old pacer Dwaine Pretorius. A large portion of the credit for his performances must go to the way South Africa have used him. Pretorius was used almost exclusively at the death this year, only bowling out his quota once. His clever slower balls and accurate yorkers makes him difficult to score off at the death. He picked up 5/17 against Pakistan to Lahore early in the year, making him only the third South African to have a T20I fifer to him name. All his matches have been away from home, including spinner friendly tracks in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He slots in at number 8 because of his ability to tonk the ball, which he has proved in the past. Cricket prediction for today’s match.
Number 9 – Trent Boult
Innings – 15 | Wickets -23 | Bowling Avg – 18.04 | Economy – 7.07 | Best – 3/17
Kiwi southpaw Trent Boult performed consistently all year without ever picking up the big hauls. His ability to swing the ball into the right handers from over the wicket continues to trouble batters far and wide. Partnering with Tim Southee, the duo made the new ball talk and also did considerably well at the death. In 18 overs at the death this year, Boult only went at an economy rate of 6.88. He was also the pick of New Zealand’s bowlers in the World cup with 13 wickets. In the Finals, his valiant spell of 2/8 from four overs was not enough to secure victory for the Blackcaps. He capped off the year with another good tour to India.
Number 10 – Josh Hazlewood
Innings -15 | Wickets – 23 | Bowling Avg – 16.34 | Economy – 6.87 | Best – 4/39
Before 2021, Josh Hazlewood had played only nine T20Is across seven years. Australia preferred to manage his workload by allowing him to focus on Test match cricket. His success showed the world that good, old fashioned line and length bowling could find success if you have the required skills. He came into the World Cup on the back of an impressive IPL campaign with the Chennai Super Kings and made an impact straight away with 2/19 in his fist game. He saved his best performance for the biggest stage of all, stifling New Zealand with a brilliant spell of 3/16 while the rest of the attack went at nearly 10 an over.
Number 11 – Tabraiz Shamsi
Innings – 22 | Wickets – 36 | Bowling Avg – 13.36 | Economy – 5.72 | Best – 4/25
After Imran Tahir was overlooked in SA’s T20I squad, they needed Shamsi to fill his big boots. He did that duly, equaling Hasaranga for most wickets in a calendar year. His accurate left arm leg-spin, coupled with a well-disguised googly made him very hard to score against. In trying to do so, batsmen lost their wickets more often than not. His best performance came against Pakistan in Lahore, where he took 4/25 in four overs. Shamsi has also made a name for himself through his on-field antics and his creative celebrations after a wicket. Along with his Sri Lankan counterpart, he will form a potent spin duo.
12th Man – Babar Azam
Innings – 26 | Runs – 939 | Batting Avg – 37.56 | SR – 127.58 | Best – 122
Babar Azam is extremely unlucky to miss out on being in the playing eleven. His relatively low strike rate was what counted against him in the end. That does not deter the fact that he had an absolutely magnificent year with the bat. His partnership with Rizwan at the top was one of International cricket’s highlights this year. He also finished at the top of the run charts in the World Cup with 303 runs at 60.60. 9 fifties to go with his one hundred speaks volumes of the consistency he’s shown. His 122 against South Africa helped Pakistan chase down 204. Under his captaincy, Pakistan recorded the most T20I wins in a calendar year and made the Semi-Finals of the World Cup, only narrowly missing out on a spot in the Finals.