Following a disappointing performance in the T20 World Cup last year, Team India has undergone a number of important adjustments, including a captaincy change. Rohit Sharma took over for Virat Kohli, and this year saw the emergence of several bowlers (particularly pacers) in the Indian team.
Furthermore, Hardik Pandya and Bumrah, who were once key members of India’s limited-overs side, made outstanding comebacks to the national team.
Ricky Ponting, an ICC Hall of Famer, has named the five players he would pick first if tasked with selecting a World T20I side. Ponting, who has a legendary record in white-ball cricket, was also Australia’s captain for the first-ever men’s T20I, scoring 98* (55) in a match-winning performance.
With the Asia Cup underway, there is discussion and projection about Team T20 World Cup team. Ponting, who now spends much of his time in coaching dugouts and commentary boxes, watches as much T20 cricket as anyone and uses both responsibilities to stay up with the world’s best.
On the latest episode of The ICC Review, Ponting was asked to choose the first five players he would pick for a World T20I side – and, maybe to the surprise of some, there are no Australians among them.
Ricky Ponting’s first 5 players for the T20I World XI:
1. Rashid Khan
2. Babar Azam
3. Hardik Pandya
4. Jos Buttler
5. Jasprit Bumrah
1. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
“Five players is relatively easy, but trying to put them in order from one to five makes it a little bit more difficult,” Ponting begins.
“I’ve actually gone with Rashid Khan at number one, and the reason I thought about that was if we actually had a player event in an IPL auction now and there was no salary cap, he’s probably the one that’s going to go for the most amount of money.”
“I’ve got him at number one for his consistency, his wicket-taking ability over a long period of time, but also the fact that his economy rate in the T20 game is just outstanding.
“When you’re playing against any team that he’s playing in you probably have less sleep that night than you do for any other game that you play during the year.”
2. Babar Azam (Pakistan)
“Babar Azam I’ll go for at number two, simply because the number one ranked batter in the T20 game for quite a while now and deservedly so.”
“His record speaks for itself. He’s pretty much led the way for that Pakistan team for the last couple of years”
3. Hardik Pandya (India)
“On current form, it’s pretty hard to go past Hardik Pandya at number three”
“His IPL was outstanding. To see him back at the bowling crease is something that I was always a little bit unsure would actually ever happen … he’s had some really big injury setbacks, which has obviously affected how much he’s been able to play for India.
“But he’s back bowling, and at 140kph which he was doing four or five years ago. But his batting and his maturity while batting has come on in leaps and bounds.
“He understands the game better and he understands his game better than ever before and right now he’s probably the best allrounder in the world in T20 cricket, and could potentially be in ODI cricket.”
4. Jos Buttler
“I had to pick Jos Buttler in there actually.”
“When you’re coaching against him, you just know that he’s got something that a lot of other players don’t have; the ability to take the game away in a short period of time opening the batting – which he will do for England this tournament.
“He was one of the people who’s an out-and-out match winner as we saw with last year’s IPL, making three or four hundreds, which was quite remarkable.
“His batting went to another level in the last year or so.”
5. Jasprit Bumrah
“Jasprit Bumrah in at number five.”
“He is probably the most complete bowler across Test cricket, One Day cricket and T20 cricket in the world right now. Very good with the new ball when anyone decides to use him that way.
“India might think of giving him an over with the new ball in Australia (at the T20 World Cup) where it might swing but what you can guarantee is a couple of great high quality death overs, which every team is looking for – someone that can execute slow balls and bouncers.”