While we see the Test and ODI teams of the decade far too often, the T20I team is a difficult one to pick, particularly since it's easy to confuse between franchise cricket and International T20s. Here we identify the T20I team of the decade.
There are about five contenders for the openers of the decade in the shortest format of the game - Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Aaron Finch, and Rohit Sharma. The Indian opener, who has managed to rack up four T20I hundreds, averages 33.36 and strikes at 141.35 makes the list for his ability to convert his starts to those massive scores.
Guptill, whose strike rate and century count is below that of Colin Munro, makes it to the list on the basis of an exceptional average of 36.75 combined with a 140-plus strike rate. Both openers have over a 2000 runs in the decade. Chris Gayle comes to mind as an able replacement for Guptill, but it must be remembered that a lot of Gayle's exploits in the format came in franchise cricket.
Rohit Sharma, Martin Guptill
Middle-order and wicket-keeper
Packing the middle-order with power-hitters and all-rounders is quintessential for the balance of a T20I side. But there's no pushing Virat Kohli out of the XI with the Indian captain averaging a stunning 52.66 while striking at nearly 140 in the format. He is a certainty at no.3 in this T20I line-up.
At no. 4 we have the dynamic Glenn Maxwell, who has the second best strike rate for any batsman with 1000-plus runs in this decade. Maxwell averages 35-plus and strikes at 160 and has three hundreds in the format. In JP Duminy, we have another underrated all-rounder in the middle-order. Duminy averages 43.38 in the format with the bat and 31 with the ball and is quite a utility player in the line-up.
Jos Buttler - a strike rate of 140.14 and average just close to 30 - is a debatable wicket-keeping option with Brendon McCullum as a lower-order batsman presenting a stiff challenge. It is Buttler's finishing abilities that help him usurp the Kiwi in this team.
Mohammad Nabi is the proper all-rounder in the side with the Afghanistan spinner being a powerful striker of the ball - a strike rate of 145.89 - and a miserly spinner - an economy of 7.16.
Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, JP Duminy, Mohammad Nabi, Jos Buttler
We have gone in with a 3-1 combination with three pacers complemented by the one spinner in Rashid Khan, a perfect choice in this format. Rashid Khan has an astounding average of 12.52 with the ball while bowling at an economy of just 6.15. Imran Tahir, with an average of 15.04 and an economy less than 7 will provide cover for Rashid as the 12th man.
Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga, the Mumbai Indians duo, make up the lead pacers in the side. The two have economies of 6.71 and 7.15 respectively while being potent wicket-taking options in the death overs.
The final slot for a pacer is a tricky one with Umar Gul, Dale Steyn and Mustafizur Rahman contending for one spot. The Fizz makes the list here for his left-arm variations and ability to bowl cutters in the middle overs. He averages 20.17 and has an economy of 7.87 in this decade.
Rashid Khan, Jasprit Bumrah, Mustafizur Rahman, Lasith Malinga
12th man: Imran Tahir
T20I Team of the decade: Rohit Sharma, Martin Guptill, Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammad Nabi, JP Duminy, Jos Buttler, Rashid Khan, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Mustafizur Rahman. 12th man: Imran Tahir
Feature image courtesy: AFP/ Ian KINGTON