The year 2018 was a breakthrough year in T20 cricket. Countries like South Africa, Afghanistan and England who came up with their T20 domestic leagues. Many rookie players made headlines due to their stellar performances in the home leagues. Few of them would go to represent their country and make a debut on the international arena. Players like Rishabh Pant, Billy Stanlake, Jofra Archer showed their potential and performed well for their respective countries.
We will be looking at the ‘Team of the Year’ which consists of players that made it big in 2018.
Colin Munro is a destructive batsman who plays for New Zealand and opens the inning for them quite often. He was the only player to score more than 1500 runs in a calendar year in T20s. He scored those runs at an average of 34.75 with a strike rate of 151.38. Munro scored 12 fifties this year along with a century.
This Indian Opener had an outstanding year with the bat as an opener. His tally of runs is quite phenomenal. Shikhar Dhawan was the leading run scorer in the T20 internationals in 2018. He scored 689 runs for India at an average of 40.53 which is exceptional as an opener. The Southpaw also had a great IPL and took his team to the finals. He scored 497 runs for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the competition. He scored ten half-centuries in T20s this year, out of which six came for India.
Virat is a dominant force in all three formats of cricket and is a fierce leader ready to take up any challenge. Though his number this year may not justify his talent, he has to be your No.3 in limited overs cricket. He is arguably the best batsman in the world across all formats along with Kane Williamson and Joe Root. Virat can come in handy while batting first and dominate the bowling side with his quick running and aggressive strokes. While chasing, he has the best record than any other batsman in the world. Kohli will be the skipper of this team.
He is the main reason why Pakistan is currently the number one T20 side. Babar Azam has brought stability in the Pakistani batting lineup now. He scored 563 runs in the 12 international matches for Pakistan at an average of 62. His average more than any other batsman in the world for the T20 Internationals. But his strike rate of 124 in T20Is and 115 in PSL is often criticised by people. He can become a backbone of any batting lineup no matter what the situation is and can give freedom to his partner to look for big shots.
Rishabh Pant rose to fame after his instinct in U-19 ICC World Cup. He made his sensational IPL debut for the Delhi Daredevils, his home team.
He scored 684 runs in the IPL at an average of 52.61 and a strike rate of 173.60. He scored a brilliant century against Sunrisers Hyderabad in a chase. He also scored the second fastest T20 hundred in Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament off 32 balls. Pant features as the wicketkeeper-batsman in this team after his standout year with the bat. In total, he scored 1209 runs at an average of 41.68 and a strike rate of 172.71, including ten half-centuries and two centuries.
Andre Russell is an animal and a great all-rounder. He etched his name in the history books when he took a hat-trick and scored a century in the same match in the CPL. He scored the fastest century in the history of the CPL, off just 40 balls. He is a premium all-rounder who can take wickets and also score crucial runs for his team in the death overs. Russell scored over 600 runs in T20s in 2018 and bagged more than 30 wickets, scoring at a strike rate of over 180.
Rashid Khan’s story is like a fairytale, coming out of Afghanistan he proved his mantle all over the globe. This spin sensation had an amazing year and took most T20 wickets in 2018. Rashid took 21 wickets at an average of 21.80 in this year’s IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad. He also raised the bar in T20 International taking 22 wickets at an average of 8.68. He took the most wickets in a calendar year with 96 wickets in 61 matches.
Nowadays all the teams try to surprise their opponents with their quality spinners. A chinaman is as mysterious as it can get and Kuldeep Yadav is a quality spinner. He can disguise any batsman with his action and flight and has been in terrific form in 2019. He played 9 matches for India and took 21 wickets at an average of 9.80 with an economy of 5.97. He took 17 wickets in IPL this year. Currently, he is ICC number 3 T20 bowler in the world.
Jofra Archer is turning out to be a world-class all-rounder in recent years. Archer is a bowler who has a lot of variations along with his toe-crushing yorkers and lightning pace. He made his IPL debut for Rajasthan Royals last year and impressed everyone with his bowling. He took 15 wickets in the IPL and proved himself to be a good death bowler. His strength is bowling in both the parts of the innings just like Jasprit Bumrah. In the inaugural T20 Blast, he made his mark with 22 wickets for Sussex.
Billy Stanlake has been around for a while and is making his presence felt on the international circuit. The tall Aussie can surprise any batsman with the bounce that he extracts out of the pitch. He can also slip in some yorkers with 140+ speed which can be lethal coming from that height. He got injured in the IPL after picking up 5 wickets for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. He took 25 wickets for Australia in the T20Is at an average of 18.4.
Andrew Tye is the best T20 pace bowler as of 2018. He had an outstanding year with the ball and made his impact in the T20 circuit. Tye had an amazing IPL with Kings XI Punjab and took 24 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 18.66. The Aussie took most international wickets in 2018 and made his presence felt on the international arena. He scalped a total of 31 wickets in 18 innings at an astonishing average of 18.93.