Picking a T20 XI from the 1980s and ’90s

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Picking a T20 XI from the 1980s and ’90s

T20 started in the early 2000s but what if the format was invented 15 years earlier. Who were the players who would have excelled in the shorter format? Would the great ODI batters have adapted to the format or would a whole new set of players become superstars in T20s?

We decided to pick a T20 side from the era before the IPL and debated how Aravinda de Silva and Brian Lara might have changed their game for T20s. And if players like Ricardo Powell and Adrian Kuiper would have had more illustrious careers than they did.

Talking Points:

  • The evolution of ODIs and T20s – and how both took about 20 years ago mature
  • Would players like Sunil Narine have been as big a star if not for T20s?
  • The West Indian legacy in terms of accelerating the T20 evolution
  • Which players from the past would have thrived in this format?
  • Would you have heard much more of Alistair Brown and Michael Di Venuto had T20s been around earlier?
  • Would Aravinda de Silva have continued his Mad Max avatar in T20s?
  • Ricardo Powell, Atul Bedade, Robin Singh – the superstars who could have been
  • Players like Lance Klusener who rigorously practiced range-hitting
  • The value of a good googly bowler in T20s


Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee)

Mahesh Sethuraman (@cornerd)

Ashoka (@ABVan)

Deepauk Murugesan (@complicateur)


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  •  Ijaz Ahmed’s 84-ball 139 v India in Lahore in 1997 – YouTube
  • When Surrey smashed the 50-over World Record thanks to Alistair Brown’s 268 – YouTube
  • When Kapil Dev hit four sixes in a row to avoid the follow-on at Lord’s – YouTube
  • Atul Bedade’s big day in Sharjah – YouTube

Lead image from here.

7 thoughts on “Picking a T20 XI from the 1980s and ’90s”

  1. Nice discussion of what could have been.

    Few takeaways:
    * Sachin and Sanath should not have been there
    * di Venuto is an interesting name and belonged to this discussion
    * Instead of Haynes, I’d have preferred Greenidge as the WI opener, which is why he’s there in my XI
    * Greatbatch was more of a one-tournament wonder, Martin Crowe would’ve been a better choice as an innovative batter and an astute captain
    * Andy Flower is too specialist a batter to be slotted in an exclusive T20 XI even as a wicketkeeper
    * For some reasons, I liked Chris Nevin’s batting (as a wicketkeeper opener) but too less sample size

    Parallelly I’d have loved to see an IPL XI as well (7 Indians + 4 foreigners).

    Here’s my XI:

    1. Michael Slater (1997 Ashes opening over plus 1996 Mohali innings where he came at #6)
    2. Gordon Greenidge (I have not seen any of his live matches but have heard many stories)
    3. Viv Richards (No comments)
    4. Dean Jones (brilliant white ball batter)
    5. Raman Lamba (left field choice but I think T20s need flamboyance, and someone who is a fighter)
    6. Simon O’Donell (floating batter plus great exponent of change of pace along with SRW)
    7. Kapil Dev (floating batter plus new ball bowler, and a brilliant fielder)
    8. Moin Khan (I’ve always loved his lower order batting plus he’s a character behind the wickets)
    9. Wasim Akram (both Akram and Saqlain were wicket takers and would have been an asset, with or without field restrictions)
    10. Saqlain M (see #9)
    11. Fanie DV (with his change of pace – remember how he used to dismiss SRT – he’d have done wonders in this era)

    12th Man: Michael Bevan (not a T20 hitter per se but brilliant runner and can also double up as a left arm unorthodox spinner)

    1. Fantastic team! Fannie is a fine choicee for a death bowler. And Raman Lamba would have surely been an IPL superstar.

  2. Great podcast, love these conversations a lot. I was yesterday listening to one of your old podcast as I have been going through every single of your episodes, and I came across conversation on war minus the shooting which I went to amazon to buy and it seems to be unavailable and cricket beyond the bazar too. Will they be available again? I really want to read them and thus buy them. Thanks as always

  3. Surprised none selected Bevan, Salim Malik, Moody, Brian McMillan. My team Mark Waugh, Viv, Martin Crowe(captain), Bevan, Salim Malik, Kapil, Moin Khan, Akram, Garner, Saqlain, Mushtaq Ahmed.

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