World 20/20: Team of the Tournament

18 05 2010

With the World Cup 20/20 now having finished and the excitement of England’s win wearing off, it is time of the Compulsive Hooker to choose our team of the tournament.

1. Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka – 302 runs @ SR of 159.78*)
Alongside his team mate, Kumar Sangakarra, probably the most graceful batsmen on the planet possessing exquisite timing and surprising power for a small man. Top run scorer in the tournament and and possessor of the second highest strike rate of batsmen who have scored over 100 runs, his selection is a no-brainer.

2. Kamran Akmal (Pakistan – 180 runs @ SR of 120.80)
Perhaps a surprise selection given the amount of media coverage given to Australia and England’s opening pairs. Yet Akmal scored more runs than any of them bar Kieswetter and was one of the more consistent Pakistani players (if there is such a thing!). His runs in the semi-final against Australia were crucial and almost contributed to a surprise victory.

3. Kevin Pietersen (England – 248 runs @ SR of 137.77)
Who else quite frankly? This tournament was an emphatic way to answer KP’s critics and his batting on occasions defied belief (his destruction of Dale Steyn will live long in the memory). Shane Warne yesterday called him ‘the most destructive batsmen in world cricket’ and that’s good enough for us.

4.   Cameron White (Australia – 180 runs @ SR of 146.34)
There is a strong argument doing the rounds that White should bat at 3 or 4 and skipper the Australian side instead of Clarke. For us there seems to be little wrong with this idea as time and again White proved how good he is in this format. He didn’t necessarily score the bulk of runs as one or two others due to his late entrances, yet his strike rate and his excellent innings against Bangladesh mean he is, in our opinion, the best pick for this position.

5. Eoin Morgan (England – 183 runs @ SR of 128.87)
Morgan continues to impress in an England shirt, and with him and Hussey in this team, we would back them to chase any total down. More impressive finishers in world cricket there are not. The invention of his stroke play catches the eye, yet it is the cleverness with which he does it that is truly impressive. Invariably he chooses the right ball and unlike some other batsman known for their audaciousness, he is rarely dismissed doing it. Must play test cricket soon.

6. Michael Hussey (Australia – 188 runs @ SR of 175.70)
Who would have thought that prior to the tournament Mike Hussey would have had the highest strike rate in Australia’s team, let alone overall! This is a promotion up the order from his Australian spot at 7, yet we think he has deserved it. His performance in the semi final against Pakistan was remarkable, not just for his hitting, but for the coolness with which he did it.

7. Daniel Vettori (New Zealand – 69 runs @ SR of 109.52 & 3 wickets @ ER** of 5.68)
Whilst he only had a reasonable tournament with the bat, Vettori was brilliant once again with the ball conceding less than 6 runs an over. Rapidly proving himself to be an intelligent skipper as well, he gets our vote to lead this side.

8. Darren Sammy (West Indies – 6 wickets @ ER of 5.26)
Sammy surprised the Compulsive Hooker enormously in this tournament with his control and consistency. The best West Indian bowler by some distance he is an easy pick for this XI. Would also provide some big hitting at number 8 as he showed in a brutal innings of 30 early in the competition.

9. Graeme Swann (England – 10 wickets @ ER of 6.54)
Recognised as the premier spinner in world cricket now by no less a judge as Shane Warne, Swann bowled with tight control whilst retaining his wicket taking flight and spin. His handy batting, whilst not needed by England in the tournament would come in handy at 9 in this eleven.

10. Mitchell Johnson (Australia – 10 wickets @ ER of 6.49)
Part of what was reckoned to be the strongest seam bowling attack in the tournament, Johnson gets the nod for his excellent performances throughout, plus his ability to hit the ball along way late in the batting order. Wasn’t shown up by England in the same way Tait was in the final, hence his inclusion despite Tait’s more economical figures tournament long.

11. Hamid Hassan (Afghanistan – 4 wickets @ ER of 4.14)
And now for the bolter in the team! Hassan gets picked for being the most economical bowler in the tournament, which before you naysayers disagree saying he only played 2 matches – remember those two games were against the two powerhouses of India and South Africa. Would also provide the team with a character and someone wearing a sweatband around their head 80’s style!

12th Man: Jacques Kallis (South Africa 171 runs @ SR of 116.32 & 2 wickets @ ER of 6.40)
Able to slot in anywhere with bat and ball, he would be the ideal man for the job.

So there you have it 3 English, 3 Australia, 1 West Indian, 1 Kiwi, 1 Pakistani, 1 Afghani and 1 Sri Lankan. We would back this team to win most games although we confess to being worried about a few catches going down behind the stumps. Akmal, however, was the only gloveman other than Kieswetter to push himself into contention and he gets our vote for his greater contribution with the bat. With the bat Suresh Raina can count himself unlucky having scored the only other 100 in the tournament, however he failed when India needed him most and so we have counted that against him. In the bowlers Shaun Tait, Dirk Nannes, Stuart Broad, Harbhajan Singh and Jacques Kallis can all count themselves unlucky however we think the 5 selected would do the job.

What are your thoughts? Who would you have picked?

* SR (Strike rate) is given as number of runs scored per 100 balls.
** ER (Economy rate) is given as runs per over.

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9 responses

18 05 2010
Jake

Kallis did not have a good tournament. His bowling was decent but could only bowl just after Steyn/Morkel had taken wickets, so kept the run rate down but essentially allowed batsmen to gather themselves and take it out on Albie/Van de Merwe/whoever. His only big score when batting was against India, where his soaking up of the strike basically killed SA’s chase when they needed 190-odd.

I’d have picked Kieswetter instead of Akmal. His innings in the final was immense.

Nannes was top wicket taker. Admittedly he was upstaged more than he was worth but still gave every side he played against serious problems.

No room for Charles Langeveldt? 11 wickets in the tournament and by far the best death bowler outside of the finalists.

18 05 2010
Bradders

Hi Jake, thanks for commenting. Whilst Kallis may not have had a great tournament, he still featured high on the runs scored and economy rates so I thought that justified him for 12th man duties, appreciate what you say though against India, similar to Michael Clarke in the final. I did consider both Nannes but in the end decided that in the interests of balance Johnson offered more. Joking aside with Hamid Hassan, good as his performances were, I would probably have Langeveldt in there in a real situation. Wanted to have one minnow representative you see.

As for Kieswetter and Akmal, both have good claims and yes CK did well in the final. I picked Akmal though as he scored two fifties throughout, one of which should have seen Pakistan through to the final. Anyway, thanks for commenting.

18 05 2010
Rishabh

Surely Kieswetter is a better option than Akmal! He did score more runs (183) and was instrumental in England’s consistently good starts!

18 05 2010
Bradders

Maybe, but I confess that Akmal’s selection also coloured a little by an irrational personal dislike of CK too….

18 05 2010
lou

Either Akmal or Kieswetter have a big problem in that they are dreadful keepers. But no-one cares in this format.

18 05 2010
lou

All this rubbish about Hussey being such a ‘surprise’ is so much guff.

ODI player of the year 2005 or 06. He has being doing that sort of thing late in the order for Aus for years.

18 05 2010
Bradders

Well I don’t know – I think it is a surprise to a degree. He has been finishing games for years agreed, but rarely I think with such powerful hitting. Anyway, cheers for commenting.

19 05 2010
Jake

Thinking about it, surely a better all rounder than Vettori and Kallis in this tournament would be Angelo Mathews?

22 05 2010
Bradders

Possibly, although I would prefer to have two spinners and so Vettori gets my vote. Cheers for commenting.

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