Rashid Khan chooses his top 5 T20 players

Rashid Khan | Getty

Rashid Khan of Afghanistan has been one of the most exciting bowlers in the world of cricket in recent times. The leg-spinner has become the first global superstar from the troubled Asian country thanks to his performances in international cricket and in T20 franchise leagues all over the world.

The leggie has 392 wickets in 284 T20 matches with a best of 5/3 at an economy of 6.35. In 51 T20Is for Afghanistan, Rashid has 95 wickets at an economy of 6.21. He also has a hat-trick in T20Is, including four wickets in four balls against Ireland in 2019.

Ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, Rashid Khan revealed his top five T20 players from around the world.

His first pick was India captain Virat Kohli. He is the highest run-getter in T20Is with 3159 runs at an average of 52.65 and a strike rate of 139.04 in 90 matches. He is the only one to average more than 50 in all three international formats of the game and is considered to be an all-time great batsman of his era.

Virat Kohli | Getty

Rashid Khan paid tribute to Kohli and told ICC: “Doesn’t really depend on the wicket, doesn’t matter whatever the wicket is, he is someone who is going to step up and perform.”

Kohli comes into this T20 World Cup tournament with a huge expectation as he will step down as India captain after this event and having been crowned the Player of the Tournament at each of the past two events.

The next choice of Rashid Khan is New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. Williamson is Rashid’s teammate in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as they both play for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Rashid picked Williamson for the sense of “calm” he brings to the side.

Kane Williamson  | Getty

The right-hander has 1805 runs in 67 T20Is at an average of 31.70 and a strike rate of 125.10. Williamson has thrived as a skipper and shown plenty of tactical nous throughout his time in charge. He was particularly impressive at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2016, where he led New Zealand to the semi-finals.

Rashid’s third choice was former South Africa batter AB de Villiers, who is considered to be one of the best batsmen of all time across formats and is famous for his innovative batting in the T20s.

A destructive batsman. Someone who can give you quick runs at any stage, any wicket, against any bowler and he can play any shot. As a captain, you will always love to have that batsman,” Khan said.

AB de Villiers  | Getty

AB de Villiers 9424 runs in 340 T20s with 4 centuries and 69 half-centuries to his name. He has made his runs at an average of 37.24 and a strike rate of 150.13. His highest score is 133*. In 78 T20Is for South Africa, he made 1672 runs with a best of 79*.

The man that pops in everyone’s mind whenever the phrase ‘360 degrees batter’ comes up, de Villiers’ repertoire of shots is unmatched globally and has made him one of the most sought-after T20 players in the world.

Rashid Khan’s next pick is West Indies captain Kieron Pollard who is known for his big-hitting prowess. Pollard was the first cricketer to play 500 T20s, make more than 10,000 runs and pick 300 wickets in the format.

Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya | IPL

He has 11236 runs and 300 wickets in 568 T20s with a batting strike rate of 152.62 and a bowling economy of 8.21. Pollard won the T20 World Cup in 2012 and will captain his team for the first time in the ICC event.

Last, but not least, Rashid Khan picked Hardik Pandya as his fifth-best T20 player in the world.

These two will be my key (batters) who can chase 80-90 when I need them in the last four-five overs. They are the kind of batsmen who can do the job for you easily,” Rashid said of Pollard and Hardik.

Still only 28, Pandya has already played 170 T20s and made a name for himself for the big impact he can have in a short space of time as attested to by his strike rate of 141.49. 48 percent of the 340 boundaries he has hit in T20 cricket going for six.