In the latest issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly, Freddie Wilde of CricViz selected his all-star XI for the shortest format based on performances in domestic and international matches between November 15, 2017 and November 20, 2018.
1. COLIN MUNRO
Runs 1,660, run rate 9.18, 13 fifties, 1 hundred; wickets 8, economy rate 8.96, strike rate 19
No player scored more runs in the last year than Munro and he did so at a rapid run rate. The Kiwi left-hander struggled in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but was dominant for New Zealand, Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Hampshire in the T20 Blast. Munro’s scoring can be restricted by spin but he is fearsome against pace. His useful right-arm medium-pace provides a sixth bowling option if required.
2. AARON FINCH (c)
Runs 1,307, run rate 10.38, 6 fifties, 3 hundreds
Like Munro, Finch struggled in the IPL but he was utterly dominant everywhere else. A T20 international record score of 172 against Zimbabwe preceded a stunning T20 Blast campaign for Surrey where he bludgeoned 589 runs in nine innings at an average of 147.25. One of the first names on the teamsheet, Finch is also our captain having led Melbourne Renegades impressively in the BBL (Big Bash League) before taking the reins of the national team as well.
3. KL RAHUL
Runs 1,110, run rate 9.52, 9 fifties, 1 hundred
Rahul came of age in the T20 format this year, adding power and range to his hitting to elevate him from an anchor to a destructive top-order player. The Indian right-hander opened his IPL campaign with the fastest fifty in the tournament’s history, coming off just 14 balls. Rahul, who is equally severe against pace and spin, finished as the IPL’s second-highest run-scorer with 658 runs at 9.51 RPO. He also notched a 53-ball century, his second for India, against England in July.
4. AB DE VILLIERS
Runs 780, run rate 10.80, 8 fifties
He may have retired from international cricket but de Villiers remains the best T20 batsman on the planet. The veteran South African only played 18 innings but scored 780 runs at an average of more than 50 and 10.80 RPO. His quick starts and ability against pace make him perfectly suited for the middle-over phase of the innings.
5. RISHABH PANT (wk)
Runs 1,189, run rate 10.44, 2 fifties, 2 hundreds
Pant’s IPL campaign – in which he scored 684 runs at 10.41 RPO batting in the middle order in a struggling Delhi Daredevils team – ranks as one of the best individual performances in any T20 league. The 21-year-old’s talent has been evident for some time but this year’s IPL confirmed it to the world. Pant combines the power of Pollard with the range of de Villiers; this kid is the real deal.
6. SHIMRON HETMYER
Runs 498, run rate 8.73, 2 fifties, 1 hundred
Having made his Test debut at the age of 20, Hetmyer was clearly a precocious talent but he elevated himself to a T20 superstar-in-the-making this year with an exceptional CPL, scoring 448 runs in the middle order at 8.88 RPO on difficult pitches. Hetmyer, who is an exceptional player of spin, was snapped up by Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise for £470k at the IPL auction in December.
7. RIKKI CLARKE
Runs 235, run rate 10.60, 1 fifty; wickets 16, economy rate 8.34, strike rate 17
The Surrey stalwart edged out Hardik Pandya (who wasn’t as effective as Clarke) and Corey Anderson (whose bowling let him down) for the all-rounder spot. Clarke recorded superb numbers with bat and ball in the T20 Blast, providing impetus down the order with a run rate of 10.60 and taking 16 wickets at a strike rate of 17.
8. RASHID KHAN
Wickets 91, economy rate 6.33, strike rate 15; runs 296, run rate 10.57
Rashid played in the BBL, IPL, T20 Blast and Afghanistan Premier League this year and it is indicative of his impact that each of his teams reached the final of their respective tournaments. Familiarity has not dimmed the Afghan leggie’s brilliance as he continues to maintain his astonishing run-saving and wicket-taking returns. A certain selection in this team.
9. FAWAD AHMED
Wickets 34, economy rate 6.15, strike rate 15
The dominance of leg-spin in T20 cricket has breathed fresh life into Fawad Ahmed’s career as he approaches his 37th birthday. The Pakistan-born Australia international proved to be a revelation for Sydney Thunder on their spin-friendly pitch in the BBL, and also for Trinbago Knight Riders in the CPL. His success in those two leagues earned him a deal in the Pakistan Super League.
10. PAT BROWN
Wickets 31, economy rate 7.64, strike rate 10
Worcestershire’s 19-year-old sensation was instrumental in the county lifting their first T20 title. Brown’s control of his knuckle ball, coupled with a skiddy bouncer, caused major problems for batsmen who struggled to read his variations. The right-arm paceman maintained an economy rate of under 8 despite bowling primarily in the powerplay and at the death, and his strike rate of a wicket every 10 balls was exceptional. Higher honours beckon.
11. ADAM MILNE
Wickets 18, economy rate 7.34, strike rate 10
Brown’s changes of pace will be complemented by the speed of Milne, who is arguably one of the most underrated bowlers on the T20 circuit. Like Brown, the Kiwi quick bowls largely in phases when batsmen are at their most aggressive but manages to maintain the holy grail of T20 bowling of a low economy rate and a low strike rate. Milne carried Kent’s bowling attack en route to qualification for the T20 Blast quarter-finals.
To read Wisden Cricket Monthly‘s teams of the year in full, pick up a copy of the January 2019 issue