It’s pretty much T20 season in cricket, with World T20 being followed almost immediately by the Champions League T20. And as the players get ready for their latest challenge in the shortest format of the sport, we went back in recent history to pluck out ex-players who could have done wonders had T20 cricket been around in their times. Presenting the list of five cricketers who, according to us, would have excellent in T20 cricket. Here it goes…
Vivian Richards: The fearless West Indian was the first name that instantly sprung to mind. In his days, there were no power plays for field restrictions as there are today. Yet, the great Sir Viv could find gaps with ease. Most often he didn’t even need to be worried of the fielder since the ball travelled so furiously fast off his bat that fieldsman were made to look as mere spectators. Even if there were defensive fielders in place, Sir Viv was confident enough to send the ball over the ropes, and rarely shied away from the challenge of beating the fielder. He would have had it rather easy in T20s then. The power he would have generated from his bat would have been enough to demoralise bowlers.
Lance Klusener: Think of Zulu and the 1999 World Cup immediately springs to mind. In the tournament, Klusener almost single-handedly took South Africa into the semis, and with a bit more luck and support, he might well have pulled them through into the finals. The greatest ability of Klusener was the uninhibited manner in which he slammed the ball. Coming from a baseball background, the left-hander pretty much held the bat like a baseball player, and the power he generated on his strokes remains unmatchable. Had he been around when T20 cricket began to make its mark, Klusener might well have been one of the format’s biggest success stories.
Vinod Kambli: T20 is what the mercurial Kambli needed to revive his floundering international career. The southpaw, who believed being aggressive was the only way he could have survived against the world’s best bowlers, failed because he wasn’t good enough to deal with the short ball, mentally as well as technique wise. Once bowlers became aware of his weakness, Kambli was never the same player who scored two back-to-back double hundreds. There would have been no such troubles for him in the T20 version though owing to the cap on short balls. Also, considering the shorter format even his scores of 30s and 40s would have been acceptable. T20 would have been a much easier ride for Kambli.
Nathan Astle: The former New Zealand opener once slammed a double hundred in less than 150 balls in a Test against England. In the five-day format, there are no restrictions on field placings, yet Astle managed to produce an innings of such unabashed brilliance. Imagine the havoc he would have caused in T20s. He would have been an asset to the Kiwi side considering his ability to find the boundaries early on, and scoring at a high pace throughout his innings. An Astle-like player is exactly New Zealand are missing at the top of the order.
Jonty Rhodes: He would have been the perfect T20 package, combined in one player. Rhodes could run like a cheetah between the wickets, find the boundaries at crucial occasions, and, as a fielder, we all know how electrifying he was. Nothing more really needs to be said.
--By A Cricket Analyst