Picking a World XI from T20 Cricket in 2013

Alex TelferFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2013

Picking a World XI from T20 Cricket in 2013

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    Football may have the Ballon D'Or while the movie-making industry has the Oscars. But the leading Twenty20 cricketers want just one thing: to be named in the Bleacher Report T20 World XI.

    If 2013 is anything to go by, the globe's love affair with cricket's shortest form continues to go from strength to strength.

    This last year saw a record-breaking IPL, Australia's Big Bash become a resounding success and, despite the lack of a major tournament, some high-octane international fixtures.

    But who were the stars of in 2013? This is a fully-functioning World XI based on individual performances over the previous 12 months.

1. Chris Gayle

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    Innings: 33

    Runs: 1344

    Average: 49.77

    Strike Rate: 149.66

    Competition for the opening spots in the 2013 World T20 XI is tough, but when a man hits 175 off just 66 balls then he has to enter the selectors thoughts.

    Chris Gayle did just that in his record-breaking IPL innings and for good measure scored another 1169 runs in the year as a whole for six different teams.

    Astonishingly he hit more maximums than fours, smashing exactly 100 sixes.

     

2. Aaron Finch

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    Innings: 26

    Runs: 912

    Average: 36.48

    Strike Rate: 146.38

    The moment that Aaron Finch broke out of the ranks is easy to pinpoint. It was 29 August at the Ageas Bowl as the opener flogged England's T20 attack for 156 runs off just 63 balls.

    As well as his international exploits, the 27-year-old scored 456 runs in the IPL and 332 in the Big Bash League to cement his position as one of the most dangerous strikers of a cricket ball in the world.

3. Alex Hales

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    Innings: 24

    Runs: 792

    Average: 36.00

    Strike Rate: 151.43

    Technically an opener but the sheer quality of this side means that the ICC's highest-ranked T20 batsman, Alex Hales, has to come in to bat at No. 3.

    The Englishman, who is one of the few players to boast a strike rate higher than Chris Gayle, could be about to hit the big time if, as suspected, he secures a lucrative IPL contract.

     

4. Mike Hussey

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    Innings: 26

    Runs: 988

    Average: 47.04

    Strike Rate: 130.34

    He may have long since departed the international arena, but Mike Hussey remains a run machine in the IPL and the Big Bash League.

    Again, although normally found at the top of the order, his ability to pace an innings means the Australian would have to bat at No. 4 for this XI.

    The left-hander would also bring a calm, experienced presence to the side.

     

5. Kieron Pollard

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    Innings: 43

    Runs: 956

    Average: 36.76

    Strike Rate: 144.2

    Wickets: 27

    Perhaps the quintessential T20 mercenary, Kieron Pollard turned out for six different teams in 2013 at various different tournaments. But it is fair to say the 26-year-old normally does the business.

    While his bowling is a more than useful back-up skill, it's the Trinidadian's match-winning batting that his suitors pay their money for.

6. Ryan Ten Doeschate

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    Innings: 42

    Runs: 1248

    Average: 37.81

    Strike Rate: 148.21

    An unsung hero of the T20 world, Ryan Ten Doeschate doesn't get many plaudits, however, in 2013 he is second only to Chris Gayle in terms of runs scored.

    Representing four different teams, the South African-born Netherlands star has the ability seemingly to press an invisible switch and start launching the ball into the crowd at will.

    The 33-year-old has also procured 86 career T20 wickets with the ball.

7. MS Dhoni (Capt & Wk)

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    Innings: 22

    Runs: 596

    Average: 42.57

    Strike Rate: 161.95

    As well as providing a safe pair of hands behind the stumps, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is capable of winning games from any situation with the bat. 

    Despite coming in low down the order, India's skipper blasted five half-centuries in 2013 and is the best finisher in world cricket today.

    The cool-headed Dhoni would captain this side and also act as a safety valve down the order in case things went wrong.

8. Azhar Mahmood

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    Innings: 44

    Wickets: 60

    Average: 19.85

    Economy Rate: 7.21

    Pakistani all-rounder Azhar Mahmood is a T20 mercenary of the highest calibre, plying his trade in five different countries for five different teams.

    Over the last 12 months, the veteran has taken 60 wickets, four more than his nearest rival Dwayne Bravo.

    With more than 3,649 career T20 runs at a strike rate of more than 135.00, Mahmood is also capable of hitting a very long ball.

     

9. James Faulkner

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    Innings: 31

    Wickets: 45

    Average: 19.51

    Economy Rate: 7.32

    2013 was a real breakout year for James Faulkner, whose left-armers would provide useful variation in this team's bowling attack.

    As well as being able to score vital late-order runs, the feisty Australian's ability to move the ball, at pace, make him a sought-after player for any team.

    The 23-year-old would team up well with the next man on the list to provide a feared death-bowling duo.

10. Dale Steyn

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    Innings: 27

    Wickets: 32

    Average: 19.25

    Economy Rate: 5.87

    Although there are other pace bowlers who have collected more wickets, none of them are as intimidating as Dale Steyn, steaming to the crease with a psychotic look on his face.

    And it isn't all just hustle and bustle.

    As well as delivering with intensity and aggression, the South African seamer keeps the runs down, regularly takes the wickets of the opposition's top batsmen and is lethal at the death.

11. Sunil Narine

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    Innings: 41

    Wickets: 54

    Average: 15.72

    Economy Rate: 5.18

    The most impressive thing about Sunil Narine's stellar year hasn't just been the incredible amount of scalps collected.

    It is also the miserly 5.18 economy rate that the Trinidadian has maintained over a significant amount of games.

    No other bowler with a similar workload is as tight as the 25-year-old, which makes him the most valuable T20 twirler in the world.