Last year I visited Trinidad and Tobago, met Brian Lara, did a couple of SSFL matches, walked the streets of Port of Spain, had some spicy doubles and attended the biggest party in sport. And needless to say, I fell in love with the twin-island republic. It was too short a stay.

It was the first time visiting another Caribbean island, and I was even enamoured by the fact they had street lights, even on their highways. Because in Jamaica... in many instances ... the road is only lit by vehicular traffic.

My friend Mariah Ramharack, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and my co-worker, saw the funny side in seeing my starry eyes.

It is said that Paris is the city of lights. However, through the eyes of this novice wanna-be traveller, sweet, sweet T&T was all that and a bag of chips.

That trip really opened up a craving to travel more, because being Jamaican, living in Jamaica and not travelling outside of Jamaica certainly limits my scope and my view of the world.

Having said all of that... Jamaica is one heck of a country, and I'm proud that this is the country of my birth.

What Jamaica has achieved as a nation, especially in sport, is incredible. We have led the way in the Caribbean and indeed much of the world in track and field, making a massive impact at the Olympics and the World Championships. Our athletes have showcased not just our talents but our culture. And I believe Jamaica's renaissance in track and field in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics is linked with the country's renaissance in tourism since that time, with tourist arrivals increasing by over 50 per cent according to tradingeconomics.com.

We can claim to have sport's greatest-ever ambassador in Usain Bolt, and some of the greatest-ever female sprinters to grace the world in Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Merlene Ottey.

We also have some of the most notable cricketers from George Headley to Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh to Christopher Henry Gayle.

We also have the first black woman to win a global title in swimming – Alia Atkinson.

And as far as team sport is concerned, our Sunshine Girls are right up there in the world of netball while our Reggae Boyz made us so proud at the 1998 World Cup in France.

These are just the tip of a massive iceberg of representation and pride over the years which began even before our Independence in 1962 in no small part due to the aforementioned Headley as well as the likes of Arthur Wint and Herb McKenley, George Rhoden and Leslie Laing.

All of these stories were laced with adversity, which appears to be the driving force of Jamaica’s success.

It is our blessing, and for many others who have fallen by the wayside, it is our curse.

A cursory glimpse at the government’s expenditure on sport sees Jamaica spending far less than Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago spends roughly five times more than Jamaica and even the Bahamas spends twice as much as the land of wood and water. The economies dictate that this should be the status quo for now.

Our emergence in the world is powered by sheer will and determination, and pressure. And maybe that is the true story of Jamaica. Because how else would pearls be made?

Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

An aggressive batsman, with a penchant to clear the boundary with ease, he relies on hitting the ball out of the park. He is a little susceptible against spinners and often gets out to them, unable to pick which way it is going.

A dibbly-dobbly medium-pacer, he often rolls his fingers over the ball and bowls his leg cutters on a consistent basis. As a fielder, Pollard is one of the best in the world and has taken some unbelievable catches. An all-round fielder who can field at any position, he uses his long reach to good effect.

Pollard is also the second batsman to score more than 10,000 T20 runs, and the first to play more than 500 games in the format.

His experience and ability to analyze the game, in addition to his aggression made him the perfect candidate for West Indies white-ball captain. Pollard has led a West Indies resurgence in the formats.

 

Career Statistics (2006-present)

Full name: Kieron Adrian Pollard

Born: May 12, 1987 (33), Tacarigua, Trinidad

Major teams: West Indies, Adelaide Strikers, Australian Cricketers Association All-Stars, Barbados Tridents, Bravo XI, Cape Cobras, Deccan Gladiators, Dhaka Dynamites, Dhaka Gladiators, Karachi Kings, Kerala Kings, Melbourne Renegades, Multan Sultans, Mumbai Indians, PCA Masters XI, Peshawar Zalmi, Pollard XI, RR Sarwan's XI, SC Joseph's XI, Somerset, South Australia, St Lucia Stars, Stanford Superstars, Toronto Nationals, Trinbago Knight Riders, Trinidad, Trinidad & Tobago, Trinidad & Tobago XI, West Indies Under-19s, WICB President's Celebrity XI

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

 

T20I Career - West Indies (Batting)

Mat   Inns NO    Runs         HS    Ave   BF         SR    100 50         4s     6s     Ct         St

73    60    12    1123         68    23.39         849 132.27         0      4      73         66    36    0

T20 Career – Batting

Mat   Inns NO    Runs         HS    Ave   BF         SR    100 50         4s     6s     Ct         St

501 450 126         10000      104         30.86       6641         150.57     1         49    647 652         288 0

 

T20I Career- West Indies (Bowling)

Mat   Inns Balls Runs         Wkts BBI   BBM         Ave   Econ SR         4w    5w    10w

73    48    654 919         35    4/25         4/25        26.25         8.43 18.6 1         0      0

T20 Career (Bowling)

Mat   Inns Balls Runs         Wkts BBI   BBM         Ave   Econ SR         4w    5w    10w

501 322 4974         6798        279         4/15        4/15         24.36       8.20         17.8 6      0         0

 

Career Highlights

  • Made 1123 T20I runs in 73 matches at 23.40
  • Has taken 35 T20I wickets at 26.26
  • First cricketer to play in 500 T20 matches
  • 2nd most runs in T20 matches (10,000)
  • One of 2 players to reach 10,000+ T20 runs

A hard-hitting batsman and wicketkeeper, Jos Butler, is seen as a player who has everything to succeed in the shorter formats of the game.

Butler has been able to score all around the ground. This has earned him the tag of being a "360-degree" cricketer, as in he can hit the ball in any direction within the available 360-degree of the ground.

Butler got his first international call-up when he was named in the senior England squad for the Twenty20 International against the touring Indian team in September 2011. Butler made his debut as a batsman and not as a wicketkeeper.

Following the match against India, Butler retained his place in the team and went on to play against the touring West Indies side later the same season. Butler has been known mostly as a T20 specialist for England but has broken into the One-Day International and Test teams recently, with the selectors having faith he shows the necessary tools to adapt to any given format.

 

Career Statistics (2009-present)

Full name: Joseph Charles Buttler

Born: September 8, 1990 (29), Taunton, Somerset

Major teams: England, Comilla Victorians, England Development Programme Under-19s, England Lions, England Performance Programme, England Performance Programme XI, England Under-19s, Khulna Royal Bengals, Lancashire, Melbourne Renegades, Mumbai Cricket Association XI, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Somerset, Somerset 2nd XI, Sydney Thunder

Playing role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

T20I Career - England

Mat    Inns    NO    Runs    HS     Ave      BF     SR        100    50    4s     6s     Ct     St

69       61       11     1334     73*   26.68    955   139.68     0       8     114    55     25     4

T20 Career

Mat    Inns    NO    Runs    HS     Ave      BF      SR       100     50    4s     6s     Ct     St

252     231      41    5782     95*    30.43   3995   144.73    0       40    501    241   137   27

 

Career Highlights

  • Has scored 1334 T20I runs at an average of 26.68
  • Strike-rate of 139.68
  • T20I high score is 73* off 49 balls
  • 5782 T20 runs at 30.43

With the ability to bowl a sort of an in-slider with the new ball to right-handers, Imad Wasim provides Pakistan with a very handy option to start off the bowling attack, before coming back in the middle stages to strangle the run-rate with his tight nagging lines. Imad doesn't really turn the ball a lot, and so relies on accuracy and variation in pace to be successful.

The list of accolades for the wily southpaw is a long one. He was a long-term skipper for Pakistan at the age-group levels. He has also led Islamabad for a decent period of time. And when his T20I debut happened, the backdrop was historic. Cricket had returned to Pakistan after six years and Imad Wasim got a T20I cap in the second game of the series. Pakistan won that close encounter and the series 2-0.

 

Career Statistics (2015-present)

Full name: Syed Imad Wasim

Born: December 18, 1988 (31), Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales

Major teams: Pakistan, Abu Dhabi United, Barbados Tridents, Barisal Bulls, Chattogram Challengers, Comilla Victorians, FATA Region, Federal Areas Leopards, Islamabad, Islamabad Leopards, Islamabad Region, Jamaica Tallawahs, Karachi Kings, Maratha Arabians, Nottinghamshire, Pakistan Cricket Academy, Pakistan Under-19s, Punjab Badshahs, Sind

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox

 

T20I Career - Pakistan

Mat   Inns    Balls     Runs    Wkts    BBI     BBM     Ave     Econ     SR     4w   5w    10w

43      42       912       908       42       5/14    5/14     21.61   5.97      21.7     1      1       0

T20 Career

Mat   Inns    Balls     Runs    Wkts    BBI     BBM     Ave     Econ     SR     4w   5w    10w

177    171     3595     3819     153      5/14    5/14     24.96    6.37     23.4      1     1       0

 

Career Highlights

  • First Pakistani spinner to take a 5-fer in T20Is
  • Won Pakistan's T20I Player of the Year award in 2017

One of the most explosive all-rounders of the modern era, Ben Stokes's energy is infectious on the cricket field. He is extremely passionate about everything that he does.

In the World T20 held in India, he was at the receiving end of Carlos Brathwaite's broad willow as he was smacked for four sixes in the last over of the final at Eden Gardens. Stokes was shattered as West Indies clinched the title.

Despite the World T20 setback, Stokes' career has progressed in remarkable fashion.  A genuine seam-bowling all-rounder who has the ability to hit big shots is a priceless commodity in the T20 format. Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise when Ben Stokes fetched earth-shattering numbers at the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction. He was picked up by the Rising Pune Supergiants and in his maiden IPL season, the charismatic Englishman showed he was worth all the money.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Benjamin Andrew Stokes

Born: June 4, 1991 (29), Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Major teams: England, Canterbury, Durham, Durham 2nd XI, England Development Programme Under-19s, England Lions, England Performance Programme, England Performance Programme XI, England Under-19s, Melbourne Renegades, Rajasthan Royals, Rising Pune Supergiant

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast-medium

T20I Career - England (Batting)

Mat   Inns   NO    Runs    HS    Ave     BF     SR        100   50    4s     6s   

26        23     6      305      47*   17.94  227    134.36     0      0     25     13   

T20 Career

Mat   Inns   NO    Runs    HS      Ave      BF       SR       100    50    4s     6s    

123    113    19     2330     103*   24.78    1720   135.46     1      8     180   102    

 

T20I Career – England (Bowling)

Mat   Inns   Balls    Runs   Wkts    BBI     BBM     Ave     Econ   SR       4w    5w    10w

26       21     388      571       14     3/26     3/26     40.78   8.82    27.7      0         0      0

T20 Career (Bowling)

Mat   Inns   Balls    Runs    Wkts    BBI     BBM     Ave     Econ   SR     4w    5w    10w

123     87     1537    2156      68      4/16     4/16     31.70    8.41   22.6    1       0         0

 

Career Highlights

  • Has scored 305 T20I runs at an average of 17.94
  • Has taken 14 T20I wickets at 40.78
  • 2017 IPL Player of the tournament (316r & 12 wkts)
  • 68 T20 wkts at 31.70
  • 2330 T20 runs at 24.78

Former West Indies captain Daren Sammy has a very tangible effect on the teams he plays on. Outside of the Hero Caribbean Premier League, the team Sammy plays on, wins.

This is no accident either. Sammy has the ability to fill his teammates with self-belief and help drive them to a consistency of performance that generally results in trophies.

To add to that ability, which made him the first West Indies captain to claim two World titles since Clive Lloyd won a second World Cup in 1979.

Outside of his ability to motivate and good acumen as a captain, Sammy is also a fearsome striker of the ball and a very steady seam bowler.

Asa bowler there is not a lot of variation to Sammy’s bowling, the medium-pacer coming up at a time when a consistent line and length were the order of the day. That may speak to why his bowling in the T20 arena tailed off toward the latter part of his career.

Today, Sammy plays sparingly and when he does, he doesn’t bowl but is still good enough for dangerous cameos with the bat.

 

Career Statistics (2007-present)

Full name: Daren Julius Garvey Sammy

Born: December 20, 1983 (36), Micoud, St Lucia

Major teams: West Indies, Brampton Wolves, Glamorgan, Hobart Hurricanes, Kings XI Punjab, Northern Windward Islands, Nottinghamshire, Peshawar Zalmi, Rajshahi Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, St Lucia, St Lucia Zouks, Stanford Superstars, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Toronto Nationals, University of West Indies Vice Chancellor's XI, Windward Islands, World-XI

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

 

T20I Career – West Indies (Batting)

Mat   Inns   NO    Runs    HS    Ave      BF       SR       100  50     4s     6s    

68       52     18     587      42*   17.26    398    147.48    0      0      45     31  

T20 Career (Batting)

Mat   Inns   NO    Runs    HS     Ave      BF      SR       100    50      4s     6s    

308    259    74     3876      71*   20.95   2780   139.42     0      6      251    235   

 

T20I Career – West Indies (Bowling)

Mat   Inns   Balls   Runs     Wkts    BBI     BBM     Ave     Econ    SR     4w    5w    10w

68       59      916   1116        44      5/26    5/26     25.36    7.31    20.8     1       1       0

T20 Career (Bowling)

Mat   Inns   Balls     Runs    Wkts    BBI     BBM      Ave    Econ    SR     4w    5w    10w

308    217    3405      4498     159      5/26    5/26     28.28   7.92    21.4     2      1         0

 

 Career Highlights

  • 2x T20 World Cup-winning captain (2012 & 16)
  • Highest strike rate in T20 WC history (164.12)
  • 587 runs in 68 T20I matches at 17.26

Daniel Vettori is a master of drift, subtle variations in flight, speed and length. The combination makes him a fabulous T20 bowler. Add his lower-order batting to that equation and you have yourself a hell of an addition to your T20 line-up.

Easily, one of New Zealand’s greatest-ever cricketers, Vettori is considered the greatest exponent of left-arm orthodox spin since Bishen Singh Bedi.

Often bearing the brunt of being New Zealand’s sole wicket-taker except when Shane Bond would play, had the added bonus of making him very marketable as the face of the Kiwi side and soon the Indian Premier League (IPL) would come calling.

Vettori was bought for US$625,000 in the inaugural season of the IPL by the Delhi Daredevils with teammate and skipper Virender Sehwag calling him the best spinner in the world. He would go on to captain the Royal Challengers Bangalore, leading them to the 2011 final.

 

Career Statistics (2006-2015)

Full name: Daniel Luca Vettori

Born: January 27, 1979 (41), Auckland

Major teams: New Zealand, Delhi Daredevils, ICC World XI, Jamaica Tallawahs, Northern Districts, Nottinghamshire, Queensland, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Warwickshire

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox

 

T20I Career – New Zealand

Mat   Inns   Balls   Runs   Wkts   BBI      BBM    Ave     Econ    SR     4w    5w    10w

34       34     787     748       38     4/20     4/20    19.68   5.70    20.7     1        0      0

T20 Career

Mat   Inns   Balls    Runs     Wkts   BBI      BBM    Ave    Econ    SR     4w    5w    10w

143    143    3236    3424       131    4/20     4/20    26.13   6.34    24.7     1      0         0

 

Career Highlights

  • Took 38 T20I wickets at 19.68
  • Record best T20I economy rate (5.70)
  • 1 four-wicket haul in T20I
  • 131 T20 wickets captured at 26.13

Yuvraj Singh, like many of the greats, was a man ahead of his time. He was showing the world the fine art of attacking with almost reckless abandon but doing so with a kind of consistency that defies logic.

An elegant stroke maker, Yuvraj was an instant hit in One-Day Internationals, counterattacking some of the greatest bowling attacks in the world with much success.

What was more, Yuvraj seemed to relish the big occasion, saving his best efforts for the not just the big teams, but for the moments that count against those teams.

Yuvraj and a young Mahendra Singh Dhoni, over the few years following the former’s 2000 debut, set about making India’s middle-order something to be feared. The duo helping to chase down some of the biggest totals in ODI cricket.

Then came the advent of the T20 game in 2007. Yuvraj’s transition was instant.

He went to the inaugural World T20 and to date, there are very few to have matched his strokeplay during that tournament.

Yuvraj would become the first Indian to hit six sixes in an over on his way to winning the inaugural tournament.

Yuvraj’s career suffered later on after a battle with cancer made his appearances few and far in between. He never recovered the form he had shown earlier in his career but every now and then, there was a masterpiece.

 

Career Statistics (2003-2019)

Full name: Yuvraj Singh

Born: December 12, 1981 (38), Chandigarh

Major teams: India, Asia XI, Delhi Daredevils, India A, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, Pune Warriors, Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Toronto Nationals, Yorkshire

Playing role: Middle-order batsman

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox

 

T20I Career – India

Mat   Inns   NO    Runs    HS    Ave      BF      SR         100    50     4s     6s   

58       51      9      1177    77*   28.02    863    136.38      0       8      77     74   

 

T20 Career

Mat   Inns    NO    Runs     HS    Ave      BF       SR        100     50      4s     6s    

231    216     27     4857      83    25.69    3772    128.76     0       27     386    261       

 

Career Highlights

  • Amassed 1177 T20I runs in 58 matches at 28.02
  • Most T20I runs off an over (36)
  • Equal most runs off one over in any format (36)
  • Fastest T20I fifty (12 balls)
  • 4857 T20 runs at 25.69

West Indies opener Evin Lewis just missed out on a place in the final six of SportsMax’s Ultimate XI T20 Edition earlier today.

SportsMax, ahead of the start of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), has been taking a look at what an all-time T20 team would look like.

In doing so, as the sports broadcasting powerhouse has done with its Ultimate XI Football, Test and ODI cricket teams, the SportsMax Zone has enlisted the help of a panel of experts, as well as a voting public to help with the decision-making.

Fans, called Fanalysts have a 30% weighted vote on who makes SportsMax’s Ultimate XI T20 team, with the SportsMax Zone having another 30% of the vote. The panel of experts’ vote will count for 40% of the overall votes.

Fanlysts can vote by clicking here or going to SportsMax.tv and just clicking on the Ultimate XI tab at the top of the screen.

SportsMax.tv has also built a list of profiles where Fanalysts can go to have a look at the careers of the players who have made the SportsMax Ultimate XI shortlist just in case you want to learn a little more about the players before making your choice. To take a look at those players click here.

Today, a panel of Kerry Scott, former cricketer, Chris Taylor, cricket umpire, commentator and expert, along with Sachin Ramsubhag, cricket commentator, had the unenviable task of whittling down a list of 13 potential openers to a final six for discussion on Friday, where a final pairing will be picked.

The 13 shortlisted for all-time best T20 openers were Indians, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan; New Zealanders, Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum; Australians, Aaron Finch, David Warner, and Shane Watson; South African, Quinton de Kock; Sri Lankan, Tillakaratne Dilshan, as well as West Indians, Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, and Lendl Simmons.

The team were certain there were places for Sharma, Finch, Warner, Gayle, and McCullum.

However, difficulty arose when it came time to choose one from Lewis, Guptill and Rahul.

Guptill was the first to go with Scott and Ramsubhag overruling Taylor to go with Rahul over Lewis.

Meaning the final six for discussion are Gayle, Sharma, Rahul, Finch, Warner, and McCullum.  

One of New Zealand’s most consistent big hitters, Colin Munro is also much sought-after in all the T20 Leagues around the world.

But Munro wasn’t always a mainstay in the New Zealand team and had been in and out of the limited overs setup from his debut in 2012 until 2015 when he was the heaviest scorer in the Georgie Pie Super Smash. In the tournament, Munro would smash 366 runs at a strike rate of 175.

From then on, Munro was a fixture in the New Zealand top order, locking down the number three spot at the 2016 T20 World Cup.

A year later, Munro became just the fourth player to score multiple T20I centuries after Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, and Evin Lewis.

Munro, with three T20I centuries, stands on his own as an opener in the shortest format of the game.

He also topped the batting charts in the Hero Caribbean Premier League back in 2018 with a mammoth 567 runs for the eventual champions, the Trinbago Knight Riders. No player has ever scored more in a season. Munro has been a mainstay with the Trinbago Knight Riders since 2016 and has been retained for the Knight Riders for the 2020 season which begins in a few days.

 

Career Statistics (2010-present)

Full name: Colin Munro

Born: March 11, 1987 (33), Durban

Major teams: New Zealand, Auckland, Balkh Legends, Brampton Wolves, Delhi Capitals, Delhi Daredevils, Hampshire, Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, New Zealand A, New Zealand Under-19s, New Zealand XI, North Island, North West Dragons, Sydney Sixers, Trinbago Knight Riders, Worcestershire, Worcestershire 2nd XI

Playing role: Opening batsman

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium-fast

 

T20I Career – New Zealand

Mat   Inns   NO     Runs    HS     Ave     BF      SR       100    50     4s     6s    

65       62      7      1724     109*  31.34   1102  156.44     3      11    132    107        

T20 Career

Mat   Inns   NO    Runs     HS     Ave      BF       SR       100    50    4s     6s   

262    246    29     6308      109*  29.06    4359   144.71    4      37    524    341       

 

Career Highlights

  • 1724 T20I runs at an average of 31.34
  • 1st player to score three centuries in T20I cricket.
  • New Zealand Men's T20 Player of the Year 2019
  • 3rd fastest T20I fifty of all time (14 balls)
  • 3rd most T20I sixes (107)
  • 4th best strike rate in T20Is (156.44)
  • 6308 T20 runs at 29.06

Wahab Riaz’s arrival in all formats of the game was signalled by a One-Day International spell in the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup.

Bowling against an Australian top order inclusive of Shane Watson and Michael Clarke, Wahab delivered at real pace, his 150 km/h bouncers and yorkers getting the batsmen in trouble.

“One of the fastest spells I have seen in a long tim,” said Clarke after the 2015 World Cup game.

Wahab’s pace and wicket-taking ability has made him a hit in the T20 leagues around the world. He was a platinum selection for Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League, leading the team in number of wickets for the last few years. He has also had stints in the Afghanistan Premier League, the Global T20 Canada, the Mzansi Super League and in the Bangladesh Premier League.

 

Career Statistics (2008-present)

Full name: Wahab Riaz

Born: June 28, 1985 (35), Lahore, Punjab

Major teams: Pakistan, Barbados Tridents, Brampton Wolves, Cape Town Blitz, Central Punjab (Pakistan), City Nazim XI, Comilla Victorians, Derbyshire, Dhaka Dynamites, Dhaka Platoon, Essex, Essex 2nd XI, Hyderabad (Pakistan), Hyderabad Hawks, Hyderabad Region, Imtiaz Ahmed's XI, Kandahar Knights, Karachi Kings, Karachi Port Trust, Kent, Kowloon Cantons, Lahore, Lahore Eagles, Lahore Lions, Lahore Ravi, Lahore Region Whites, Lahore Shalimar, National Bank of Pakistan, North West Frontier Province-Baluchistan, Northern Warriors, Pakistan A, Pakistan All Star XI, Pakistan Blues, Pakistan Chief Ministers XI, Pakistan Cricket Academy, Pakistan Cricket Board Patron's XI, Pakistan Greens, Pakistan Under-17s, Pakistan Under-19s, Peshawar Zalmi, Punjab (Pakistan), Punjab Badshahs, Rangpur Riders, Surrey, Water and Power Development Authority

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Left-arm fast

 

T20I Career – Pakistan

Mat   Inns   Balls   Runs   Wkts   BBI     BBM     Ave    Econ    SR     4w    5w    10w

31       30     609     813       30     3/18    3/18     27.10   8.00   20.3     0        0       0

T20 Career

Mat   Inns    Balls    Runs    Wkts    BBI   BBM     Ave     Econ    SR     4w    5w    10w

252    248     5347     6379     296     5/8     5/8      21.55    7.15   18.0     0        2      0

 

Career Highlights

  • 9th most wickets in T20 cricket (296)
  • 296 T20 wickets at 21.55
  • 30 T20I wickets from 31 matches at 27.10

It is ludicrous to think that Australia’s Mitchell Starc may have been a wicketkeeper had a coach not seen him as a young teen and demanded he put down the gloves and start running in to bowl fast.

Since that day at 14 years old, opposition batsmen have been ruing the foresight of the coach.

Just six years later, Starc was in the Australia squad to India, but he never did well until he was dropped and went to England to play for Yorkshire. There he learned to properly swing the ball.

Starc returned to the Australia side an improved bowler. He was also much quicker than the 135 km/h with which he first rose to the international level, pommelling batsmen with swinging yorkers at 150 km/h plus.

After establishing himself as the Australian spearhead in all forms of the game, Starc finally took the plunge into the Twenty20 leagues, joining the Indian Premier League (IPL), in 2014.

While he did well, he always prioritized international cricket over the T20 leagues. Still, he proved devastating in the Big Bash, leading all wicket-takers in the competition’s inaugural season.

Starc is already considered one of Australia’s greatest fast bowlers.

 

Career Statistics (2009-present)

Full name: Mitchell Aaron Starc

Born: January 30, 1990 (30), Baulkham Hills, Sydney, New South Wales

Major teams: Australia, Australia A, Australia Under-19s, New South Wales, New South Wales Second XI, New South Wales Under-17s, New South Wales Under-19s, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sydney Sixers, Western Suburbs, Yorkshire

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Left-arm fast

 

T20I Career – Australia

Mat   Inns    Balls   Runs    Wkts     BBI     BBM    Ave    Econ   SR     4w    5w    10w

31        31      696      802        43       3/11     3/11    18.65   6.91    16.1     0       0       0

T20 Career

Mat   Inns   Balls     Runs     Wkts    BBI      BBM     Ave     Econ     SR      4w    5w    10w

94        93    2055     2451      140      4/15     4/15     17.50   7.15     14.6       1      0         0

 

Career Highlights

  • Secured 43 T20I wickets in 31 matches at 18.65
  • 15 T20 WC wickets in 10 matches
  • 140 T20 wickets captured at 17.50

When Pakistan were previously in England for a Test series, Babar Azam saw a promising start cut short by a bad break.  

The batsman made a half-century in the opening game at Lord’s in May 2018, but his involvement in the series was painfully cut short when struck on the left arm by a Ben Stokes short ball.  

Forced to retire hurt with 68 to his name, Babar did not appear again during the tour. A fracture ended his contribution as the tourists triumphed at the home of cricket, while he had to watch on as his side were crushed in the second Test at Headingley. 

At that stage of his career, Babar was viewed as a limited-overs specialist still making his way in the Test arena. With an average under 25 prior to playing England, he was – at the age of 23 – a player with obvious potential working out how to play the game of patience.

Just over two years on, he returns to England having enhanced his reputation to such an extent that the so-called 'Fab Four' - Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson - have company. It is unclear who identifies as the cricketing versions of Paul, John, Ringo and George, but Babar is not like the fifth Beatle – his identity is clear.

Start a discussion with cricket fans over who should be considered the lead act in the group and you are opening a cricketing can of worms. It is a topic that, understandably, stirs up national pride, but also heated discussions about the weight of importance given to each format. 

What is not up for debate, however, is that Babar deserves to be in the conversation. His white-ball numbers are outstanding – he averages over 50 in Twenty20 and one-dayers for Pakistan – yet his Test statistics in recent times provide additional evidence for those keen to argue his case.  

Indeed, his average of 75.9 across his 12 Test knocks since the start of 2019 is the best rate of any batsman to have 10 or more innings during that period. Better than Kohli, despite the India captain piling on the runs at home against South Africa, including a career-best 254 not out. Better even than Smith, whose Ashes heroics last year were so crucial in helping Australia retain the urn on English soil.  

He also sits above the same pairing when it comes to contributing for his team, providing an astonishing 22 per cent of Pakistan’s total Test runs over the period. There is clearly substance to the style now, a determined streak to go with the eye-catching technique.  

Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, tipped Babar to become one of the best in the world at the start of the year; he was a little late to get on board a bandwagon that now offers standing room only. 

"I think he is right up there already," Azhar Ali, Pakistan's Test skipper, said on the eve of the series opener with England at Old Trafford. 

"His performances have improved massively in Test matches over the last year or so. Firstly, he was performing really well in white-ball cricket and people thought he was only a white-ball player, but he took on that challenge and played with a lot of freedom and flair.” 

Babar's career totals do not stand up to the sheer volume scored by Kohli, Root, Smith and Williamson - at least not yet. Still, since 2018, he sits above the quartet in terms of Test average (65.5) and strike-rate (63.2 runs per 100 deliveries).

That stretch includes a memorable maiden hundred on home soil. While rain ruined the spectacle of the first Test played in Pakistan for over a decade, Babar brightened up the final day against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi with an unbeaten 102 that delighted the crowd who had patiently waited to see their team return.  

Scores of 60 not out, 100 and 143 followed in the remainder of a truncated series, all from a player who did not reach three figures until his 17th Test. 

Prior to that breakthrough innings against New Zealand in November 2018, Babar had managed an unspectacular 822 runs at 30.4. Since then, though, there have been four more three-figure scores in 10 games, plus a 97 in a losing cause against Australia in Adelaide when no colleagues were willing to stick around in support. 

Pakistan are likely to lean on him heavily again in England, particularly as they come up against a team brimming with fast-bowling options and fresh off a 2-1 series victory over West Indies. 

Babar's development - including a highly productive Cricket World Cup campaign last year on English soil, as well as finishing top run-scorer in the T20 Blast while playing for Somerset - suggests he will relish the challenge.

The head-to-head battle with Root will be one of the main storylines, too. England's captain has much on his plate in the coming weeks, including fathoming out a way to nullify the brilliant Babar, who has stylishly climbed his way into the top tier of international batsmen.

Bridesmaids through the 2000s and the 2010s when the ICC World events came along, Sri Lanka had made it to two World Cup finals and two World T20 finals since Lasith Malinga debuted, losing on all four occasions.

The World T20 of 2014 started with a crisis in leadership. With a host of former skippers in the side, but all of them reluctant to lead, Malinga happened upon leadership towards the end of the league stages when the management decided to drop their original skipper, Dinesh Chandimal.

And boy, did he prosper. Bowling yorkers at the death at will to stifle the Indians, he ensured that the trophy finally came home - leading Sri Lanka to one of its finest moments on the cricketing field. It made him only the second captain of his country after Arjuna Ranatunga to lift an ICC world title. But long before that Malinga had been blessed with an action that defied the longevity he had. A whippy almost side-arm way of delivering, Malinga defied all logic and proved accurate despite convention suggesting he would struggle with it.

With that whip came swing and pace. Of course, performances like the one in that final were almost inevitable given the work that Malinga put into perfecting his craft even with his strange delivery action.

 

Career Statistics (2004-present)

Full name: Separamadu Lasith Malinga

Born: August 28, 1983 (36), Galle

Major teams: Sri Lanka, Basnahira, BCCSL Academy XI, Galle Cricket Club, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jamaica Tallawahs, Kandy, Kent, Khulna Titans, Maratha Arabians, Melbourne Stars, Montreal Tigers, Mumbai Indians, Nondescripts Cricket Club, Palace Diamonds, Rangpur Riders, Ruhuna, Ruhuna Reds, Ruhuna Royals, Southern Express, Southern Province, Sri Lanka A, Sri Lanka Board XI, Sri Lanka Cricket XI, Sri Lanka Emerging Team, Sri Lanka Masters, Sri Lanka Schools XI, St Lucia Zouks

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

T20I Career - Sri Lanka

Mat      Inns      Balls     Runs     Wkts     BBI   BBM     Ave        Econ      SR    4w   5w 10w

84          83        1799     2225       107       5/6    5/6      20.79       7.42      16.8    1     2     0

 

T20 Career

Mat      Inns      Balls     Runs     Wkts    BBI   BBM     Ave       Econ     SR     4w  5w  10w

295       289       6508     7680        390      6/7     6/7     19.69     7.08      16.6    10    5     0

 

Career Highlights

  • Most T20I wickets 107, (84 matches at 20.79)
  • 1st bowler to take 100 T20I scalps
  • 2nd most T20 wickets (390 at 19.69)
  • T20 WC champion 2014 (captain)
  • Most T20I hat-tricks (2)
  • Most wickets in IPL history (170)

IPL purple cap winner for most wickets (28) in 2011

He has been an asset for the Bangladesh team for a long time. In the bowling department, Shakib al Hasan possesses accuracy and consistency. Meanwhile, on the batting front, Shakib al Hasan has aggression and a variety of strokes in his arsenal.

He made his international debut in 2006 for the ODI and T20 teams in 2006. A year later, he was drafted into the Test team for the very first time.

In 2009, he ascended to the role of Bangladesh skipper and to date, remains the captain of the Test and T20 team.

Shakib began his tryst with the IPL in 2011. From that year to 2017, he played for the Kolkata Knight Riders. Then, in 2018 he joined the Sunrisers Hyderabad and now has stuck with them for another year.

He has not exactly contributed much with the willow, with his personal best being an unbeaten 66. However, he can boast of two half-centuries and a strike rate of 127.28.

 

Career Statistics (2006-present)

Full name: Shakib Al Hasan

Born: March 24, 1987 (33), Magura, Jessore

Major teams: Bangladesh, Adelaide Strikers, Bangladesh A, Bangladesh Cricket Board XI, Barbados Tridents, Brampton Wolves, Dhaka Gladiators, Jamaica Tallawahs, Karachi Kings, Khulna Division, Kolkata Knight Riders, Peshawar Zalmi, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Worcestershire

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox

 

T20I Career - Bangladesh

Mat      Inns      Balls     Runs     Wkts    BBI     BBM     Ave       Econ     SR    4w   5w   10w

76          75        1667     1894         92     5/20     5/20    20.58       6.81    18.1    3      1       0

 

T20 Career

Mat      Inns      Balls     Runs     Wkts      BBI   BBM      Ave       Econ     SR     4w   5w    10w

308       302       6487     7459        354       6/6     6/6       21.07      6.89     18.3    8       4       0

 

Career Highlights

  • 3rd most T20I scalps, 92 in 76 matches at 20.58
  • Most wickets for Bangladesh in T20 WC (30 at 19.53)
  • 3 T20I four-wicket hauls, 1 five-wicket haul
  • 5th most T20 wickets (354 at 21.07)
  • 1st to be ranked 'No.1 all-rounder' in all three formats
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