Picking An All-Time T20 Blast XI
Following the announcement of this summers T20 Blast schedule what better time to take a look back through the years and pick an all-time T20 Blast best XI. This is made up of players who have represented their counties with excellent results. Taking a combination of the longevity of performance and success into account, no one year wonders to be seen.
Please note this all-time T20 blast best XI is made up of players from all of English county crickets T20 guises. Stemming all the way back to start in 2003 when the completion was simply known as the Twenty20 Cup.
As the rules prior to this year dictate this team will be allowed two overseas players and even a Kolpak inclusion, difficult picks given the collection of stars that have traveled to the UK to spend a few weeks bullying young English spinners.
Something we, unfortunately, will not see this year due to the travel restrictions in place, however, it will be interesting to see some of the young county stars on TV, stars we mightn’t normally get to watch live.
So, with all that in mind who makes it into our Best English Domestic Twenty20 XI Of All Time?
Luke Wright and Alex Hales
Luke Wright (Sussex Sharks) – A domestic Twenty20 career spanning fifteen years, his excellent form in the English completion has seen Wright play in multiple franchises around the world with great levels of success. The dangerous all-rounder was initially promoted to the top of the order as a bit of a pinch-hitter, a role he also fulfilled for England on occasions. As the leading run-scorer in English domestic T20, as well as a more than useful bowler, Wright, was a must pick. Matches: 150 Runs: 4087 Highest Score: 152* Strike Rate: 150.31 Wickets: 43 Economy: 7.99
Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire Outlaws) – Hales bludgeoning style at the top of the order has seen him become a must-buy for numerous franchises worldwide. Although his interatrial career has taken a controversial dip, he has previously delivered at the top level. Matches: 115 Runs: 3301 Highest Score: 101 Strike Rate: 146.71
Also, Read – Picking England’s All-Time ODI XI
The Middle Order
Colin Ingram, Joe Denly and Ryan Ten Doeschate
Colin Ingram (Glamorgan Dragons) – The first overseas in the side, South-African import Ingram has been outstanding in his four years for the Welsh county, often leading the way in the sixes table. Has captained the side and bowls handy leg-spinners. Matches: 65 Runs: 2031 Highest Score: 114 Strike Rate: 159.29 Wickets: 25 Economy: 7.75
Joe Denly (Kent Spitfires, Middlesex Panthers) – Another with worldwide recognition for his short format exploits, despite being associated with his exquisite cover drive in Test matches. Denly has enjoyed a stellar county cricket all round as lit up many a Twenty20 match down the years. Could be another bowling option in a team full of them. Matches: 151 Runs: 3927 Highest Score: 127 Strike Rate: 124.50
Ryan ten Doeschate* (Essex Eagles) – The Dutchman who qualifies as a Kolpak player is captain and leader in all facets of the game. Excellent batsman, fielder, and more so in his early days’ bowler. In 2010, ten Doeschate led the batting averages for Essex, making 296 runs in six matches at an average of 59.20. The talisman in our all-time T20 Blast best XI. Matches: 171 Runs: 3143 Highest Score: 102 Strike Rate: 136.94 Wickets: 57 Economy: 8.02
Ravi Bopara and Steven Croft
Steven Croft (Lancashire Lightning) – As is crucial in the fastest format of the game Croft is an asset in every capacity, an unbelievable fielder, destructive batsman, and effective bowler. His 102 catches is the highest for an individual player in English Twenty20 cricket. He has played an integral part in Lancashire’s many successful spells in this competition down the years. Matches: 168 Runs: 3408 Highest Score: 94* Strike Rate: 123.43 Wickets: 64 Economy: 7.33
Ravi Bopara (Essex Eagles) – Can consider himself very unlucky to be so far down the order, runs, and wickets year in year out made him a must pick. Also played his way around the world in T20 cricket, as well as representing England on numerous occasions in all formats. Matches: 156 Runs: 3405 Highest Score: 105* Strike Rate: 28.85 Wickets: 126 Economy: 7.57
The Wicket Keeper
Phil Mustard (WK)
Phil Mustard (wk) (Durham Dynamos) – Although he spent much of his T20 career at the top of the order, including internationally, Mustard bats seven in this packed side. The Durham keeper was a serious ball-striker with the ability to take matches away from the opposition. Matches: 140 Runs: 3207 Highest Score: 91 Strike Rate: 122.03 Catches: 80 Stumpings: 30
Also, Read – The debate between Jos Buttler and Ben Foakes
All-Time T20 Blast XI – The Bowlers
Darren Stevens, Graham Napier and Jeetan Patel
Darren Stevens (Kent Spitfires) – Still going in first-class cricket aged 44, Stevens has been a stalwart on the county circuit for years. Producing some memorable moments with both bat and ball along the way, none less so than in T20. Matches: 139 Runs: 3070 Highest Score: 90 Strike Rate: 142.65 Wickets: 99 Economy: 7.80
Graham Napier (Essex Eagles) – Often one for the big occasion. Despite being a bowler first and foremost Napier broke all kinds of records with his brutal 152* in 2008 as well as opening the bowling with pace before closing out the dying overs with his Exocet yorkers. Napier was the first man on the Essex teamsheet for many years. Matches: 109 Runs: 995 Highest Score: 152* Strike Rate: 150,98 Wickets: 123 Economy: 8.02
Jeetan Patel (Birmingham Bears) – The second of our overseas allocation. A wonderful servant to the Birmingham Bears and Warwickshire more generally, the wiley Kiwi off-spinner has been an integral part of the Edgbaston setup. Picking up regular wickets and will offer valuable runs from number 11. An easy choice in our best T20 Blast XI. Matches: 130 Wickets: 135 Economy: 6.89 Best Bowling: 4/19
All-Time T20 Blast XI Summary
Think everybody can agree that is some T20 team assembled from the best the English domestic game has had to offer. There are a couple of notable absentees who can count themselves unlucky not to have made the cut.
Slow-left arm bowler Danny Briggs has been more than successful in the short format, his name is one which would not look out of place in the all-time T20 Blast XI.
Another man and one of the greats of the game who spent seven years tormenting batsmen in English Twenty20 was Pakistani leg-spinner, Mushtaq Ahmed. The Sussex man was one of the best going and in his 29 matches picked up a remarkable 42 wickets with an economy of just 5.88.
Perhaps the most noticeable admission, however, is Nottinghamshire all-rounder Samit Patel. Appearing in the top five of both the highest run-scorers and wicket-takers should in truth be enough to get him in the side. However, with such competition for places and a wealth of spinning options and a host of electric fielders keeping him out, Patel, seemingly the regular fall-guy, will have to settle for a place in the squad for this all-time T20 Blast XI.
Best T20 Blast XI
Luke Wright, Alex Hales, Colin Ingram, Joe Denly, Ryan Ten Doeschate (C), Ravi Bopara, Steven Croft, Phil Mustard (WK), Darren Stevens, Graham Napier, Jeetan Patel.
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