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T20 World Cup 2021

The current T20I world XI, according to the ICC rankings

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

Making a T20 World XI is a tough challenge, considering the number of all-rounders and the lack of specific roles for most players. We’ve taken into account the ICC rankings to come up with a current men’s T20 XI.

Our team will have the four top-ranked batters, the top wicketkeeper, the highest-ranked all-rounder, and five bowlers. The balance of the bowling attack will be dependent on the all-rounder’s skills. We’ll make sure our XI has at least three quicks and at least two spinners.

Note, all stats are updated till October 22, 2021

We had picked an XI earlier this year here, but as the rankings have changed, we figured this was the time to pick a new current T20I team, on the eve of the T20 World Cup Super 12s.

The current T20 XI, according to ICC rankings

Babar Azam – Pakistan

Batting ranking: 2
Batting rating: 819 points

The Pakistan skipper has been in prolific form in 2021, scoring 523 runs at an average of over 37 with a strike rate of 132.74, with the help of one hundred and four fifties in 14 innings. He has scored seven fifty-plus scores in the last 12 months, second only to his teammate Mohammad Rizwan, who just missed out on this team to KL Rahul. Only two Pakistan batters have scored over 300 runs in the format in the last year, including Babar, which further displays how crucial he has been for his team.

Aaron Finch – Australia

Batting ranking: 3
Batting rating: 733

The former world number one in T20Is has slipped down the rankings but still manages to hold on to a spot in the top five. He has three fifties in his last eight innings, and though his overall strike rate this year is below 130, he has been able to notch up important runs when needed.

Virat Kohli – India

Batting ranking: 4
Batting rating: 717

The India captain has been in inconsistent form in the recent past, with his last international hundred coming way back in November 2019. However, he has been in decent nick in the shortest format, averaging 73 in the last 12 months. In eight innings, Kohli has scored 365 runs at a strike rate of over 145. Only two other batters (Rizwan and Scotland’s Richie Berrington) have scored more runs at a better average than Kohli in this period.

Dawid Malan – England

Batting ranking: 1
Batting rating: 841

The all-time highest-rated player in the ICC T20I batting rankings, Malan is not in the greatest of form heading into the T20 World Cup. He has four single-digit scores in his last six innings, and his average of 36.75 in the last 12 months is in contrast to his career average of 43.19. However, his past performances ensure he continues to rule the ICC T20I rankings.

KL Rahul (WK) – India

Batting ranking: 6
Batting rating: 699

The Indian edges ahead of Rizwan as the keeper in our XI. The opener is capable of batting in the middle order as well, which is where he will bat in our team. Though Rahul had a poor outing in the series against England at the start of the year, notching up 1, 0, 0, and 14, his splendid form in 2020, where he scored 404 runs at an average of 44.88 ensures his ranking is largely unaffected.

Mohammad Nabi – Afghanistan

All-rounder ranking: 1
All-rounder rating: 285

The top-ranked all-rounder in the world in T20Is has a bowling average of 27 and a batting strike rate of 145.72. His ability to smash sixes while batting in the lower middle order (he has hit 87 fours and 83 sixes in his career thus far), along with his accuracy with the ball makes him a threat in any team.

Wanindu Hasaranga – Sri Lanka

Bowling ranking: 2
Bowling rating: 747

The Sri Lanka bowler has picked up 23 wickets in 2021 in the format, at an average of just 13. His strike rate of 10.6 is the best among the top nine wicket-takers in the world this year, and his ability to score crucial runs in the lower middle order means he adds great balance to this XI.

Tim Southee – New Zealand

Bowling ranking: 10
Bowling rating: 605

The Kiwi speedster might not be considered the most dependable bowler in the format, but he manages to hold on to his place in the top ten of the ICC T20I rankings. In 2021, Southee has picked up 12 scalps at an average of 19.50 in eight matches, with five wickets coming in the death overs. His six-hitting ability means he adds great depth to the XI.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar – India

Bowling ranking: 11
Bowling rating: 594

The Indian came back strongly in the series against England earlier this year after a prolonged absence due to injury. Kumar continued his fine run in the T20Is against Sri Lanka, where he picked up five wickets in three games. Not once has the bowler conceded more than 7.50 runs in an innings in eight T20Is in 2021.

Mustafizur Rahman – Bangladesh

Bowling ranking: 8
Bowling rating: 626

Mustafizur is the highest rated fast bowler in the ICC T20I rankings, which is evidence of his skills. The Bangladesh quick has picked up 24 wickets in 2021, including 15 on the dust bowls of Dhaka against Australia and New Zealand.

Tabraiz Shamsi – South Africa

Bowling ranking: 1
Bowling rating: 775

The left-arm wrist-spinner is the highest wicket-taker in T20Is this year, picking up 28 scalps in only 17 games at an average of just 12.85. His economy rate of 5.53 is applaudable, especially considering that he has played a majority of his games on wickets that do not help the slower bowlers.

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