T20 Playing XI of 2022: Jos Buttler leads the team, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya make a cut to the side from India.
Yes, the year 2022 has ended, and it was filled with magical moments in the cricket world that will be remembered for years to come. We saw one of the best T20 World Cups, which England deservingly won; the Gujarat Titans (GT) won the Indian Premier League (IPL) title in their maiden appearance in the marquee cricket league; Sri Lanka coming out of nowhere were eventually crowned Asia Cup winners; England clean-sweeping Pakistan in Test matches in the latter’s own backyard courtesy an attacking ‘Bazball’ approach and what not!
Though the year was a rollercoaster for all cricket lovers, Madhya Pradesh won the Ranji Trophy title in the 2021–22 season, 69 years after they last won the coveted trophy in their former avatar, Holkar, and 23 years since they last had a shot in the final of Indian domestic cricket's biggest competition.
Among other things, the pinnacle of cricket's feast in 2022 was England winning their second T20 World Cup and became title-holders in the world events of both white-ball formats simultaneously.
With so much Twenty20 cricket played in the last year, one would want to know what would have been the best international Twenty20 lineup of 2022. So, leave the numbers to us as we present to you the best T20 team of the year 2022, capable of dominating any team on any pitch in the world (they have to, they are the best in the world!).
T20 XI of 2022
Jos Buttler (C, WK), Alex Hales, Glenn Phillips, Suryakumar Yadav, David Miller, Hardik Pandya, Shadab Khan, Sam Curran, Wanindu Hasaranga, Mark Wood, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Arshdeep Singh (12th Man)
Jos Buttler (England) – Captain & Wicketkeeper
Jos Buttler was handed over the captaincy of England for the very first time this year, and he went on to win the championship within months of being appointed as the captain. Very much like a young wicketkeeper from the 2000s, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who won a title in his debut campaign as the skipper. With scores of 0, 4, 18, 22, 29 and 14, the fiery England opener wasn't in the best of T20 form heading into the World Cup.
Everything changed for Buttler in the pre-World Cup T20 series against Australia, where he scored 150 runs in three games, including two fifties. Though in the World Cup, he failed in the initial two innings with scores of 18 and a two-ball duck, Jos needed a famous "Mumbaiya-dhakka start" to push his form, and Buttler’s engine was warmed up just before the crucial matches. He scored a crucial 73 not out to seal the game against New Zealand and a thumping 80 not out against India in the semifinals, and he led the team from the front to win their second ever T20 World Cup trophy. Apart from his heroics in the World Cup, Buttler scored 462 T20I runs in calendar year 2022 with a staggering strike rate of 160.42. The man who won his national side a title will also be the captain and wicketkeeper of Walking Wicket’s XI.
Alex Hales (England)
Jos Buttler and Alex Hales are too good to be overlooked in any T20 team in the world. They would just stroll in, tonk bowlers all around the park, and leave with the trophy on any given day, and we would like them to repeat the carnage as openers of Walking Wicket XI. Hales, who was left out of England's original T20 World Cup squad due to his off-field indiscretions, has improved his fortunes on the field as a result of some consistent performances in domestic leagues. Hales was swapped in place of Jonny Bairstow at the very last moment and started the T20 series in Australia with a banger 84, which made sure he was definitely starting for England in the World Cup too.
Much like Buttler, Hales too peaked when it mattered the most with scores of 52, 47 and a watch-winning semi-final score of 86 not out against India. Hales' 86* ensured India were never back in the game, even for a brief moment. Hales was striking out at close to a run-and-a-half apiece throughout the year, as he accumulated a total of 430 runs in 2022 with four fifties and a strike rate of 145.27.
Glenn Phillips (New Zealand)
New Zealand’s T20 specialist, Glenn Phillips, had an unforgettable 2022, where he dominated the bowlers, scoring 716 runs in 19 innings at a scintillating average of 44.75. Unlike the other so-called greats of the world, who have a healthy average but a below par strike rate of 130 or below, which isn’t how T20 cricket is supposed to be played, Phillips shatters all those strike rate conversations with a staggering strike rate of 156.33.
Phillips clobbered the Sri Lankan bowlers in the T20 World Cup to score his second T20I century and the first in a world cup. Overall, Phillips hit six international T20 fifties in 2022 and was in no mood to back down against any opposition with his gritty, never-say-die attitude. In T20 cricket, while it's important to never let the ball drop, after a fiery opening combination, Glenn Phillips could just roll on the momentum. Thus, the fiery Kiwi batter secures the number three position in our team.
Suryakumar Yadav (India)
India’s and probably the world’s best T20 batter at the moment, Suryakumar Yadav will walk into any team’s starting eleven if not for his records but for the kind of shots he brings to the table. Nicknamed "SKY," Surya ensures the bowlers are looking towards the sky for help when he is in the mood. Surya has already scored two international centuries in the two years since his T20 debut.
In 2022, Surya has scored a mammoth 1164 runs in his 31 innings with a strike rate that is humanely impossible - a mind-boggling 187.44! Forget the average of 46.56. To top up his two centuries in 2022, SKY has scored nine fifties, second only to Mohammad Rizwan (10). SKY is also the only international batter to score more than 1,000 T20I runs in 2022.
SKY’s contribution to India reaching the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup was immense, as he had three fifties in six innings, which included an unbelievable 68 against South Africa on a fast and bouncy Perth wicket. When we talk about Surya, there are many things that are unbelievable, and so were the two centuries against England and New Zealand, respectively, where he invented new shots in the cricketing text books. India’s and the world’s best number 4 in T20I cricket will also be the number four of this team.
David Miller (South Africa)
The international teams have been craving a left-hander in the middle order, much like a toddler who runs around a playground on a hot summer afternoon and craves candy ice cream when the sun is shining. And Mr. David Miller, who has reignited his career after a successful stint in the IPL, will bring the left-handed flavour to perform the middle-order finisher role in our team. Striking at a vivacious rate of 165.33, “Killer Miller” has redefined the art of finishing matches and taken it to a whole new benchmark. It’s a saying that T20 is not for players with good averages but only dazzling strike rates. Well, Miller is one such player who has an implausible average of 54.83, by virtue of which he scored 329 runs in 12 innings in T20I cricket in 2022. Of course, his stunning average was thanks to the number of times (six) where he remained not out at the end of the batting innings, that’s about 50 per cent of the times Miller batted in T20I cricket in 2022.
Hardik Pandya (India)
While this year has been the year of new captains, Hardik Pandya had a year beyond one's wildest dreams. Pandya's comeback was more impressive than his setback. Pandya returned to cricket after six months of rehabilitation as a true all-rounder capable of bowling four overs rather than just a batter. Pandya began by leading Gujarat Titans to their first IPL title in their debut season. Pandya continued his domestic form into his international form and was on top of his game during the T20 World Cup this year.
In the very first match of the mega event, against Pakistan, Pandya made Virat Kohli believe and helped India snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Pandya had saved his best for the last, as he smacked a 33-ball 63 against England in the semi-finals, which took India to a respectable total. In 2022, Pandya played in a total of 25 innings, clobbering 607 runs at a healthy strike rate of 145.91. What impressed everyone more than Pandya’s finishing ability was Hardik, the all-round bowler, as he picked up 20 wickets at a staggering strike rate of 19.2, which means Pandya produced a wicket after every 19 deliveries. Pandya is Walking Wicket XI’s finisher batter and seam bowling all-rounder due to his all-round game and leadership skills within the team.
Shadab Khan (Pakistan)
The 12th highest wicket-taker of 2022, the leg-spin bowling all-rounder Shadab Khan, undoubtedly makes his way into Walking Wicket’s T20I team of the year 2022. Khan has been in coruscating form, picking up 25 wickets in 20 innings. With an economy rate of 6.79, Shadab's ability to slow down the scoring rate in the middle overs between 7 and 14 is legendary. This was one of the major reasons the opposition batters struggled to post big totals against Pakistan. Shadab also packs a punch with the bat and has been the floating all-rounder for Pakistan throughout the World Cup.
In fact, Shadab has a batting strike rate of 154.62, which is the best amongst all the other spin bowling all-rounders. a bowler who guarantees a wicket in every 18 deliveries (bowling strike rate: 18.16), a hard-hitting floater, and a gun fielder - pretty much everything a T20 team would be looking for to add the right balance to the squad.
Sam Curran (England)
Sam Curran, the player of the T20 World Cup, and the man who shackled all the bidding records in probably the most competitive league in the world, is probably in the best shape of his life. The left-arm swing bowling all-rounder is Walking Wicket XI's number 8 player. A total of 25 wickets in 2022, with an economy and strike rate of 7.56 and 16.72, respectively, which is to die for in T20 cricket.
Sam Curran has conceded the second-lowest number of sixes (13) amongst the Top 10 wicket-takers of 2022 (the first being Joshua Little's 12). Though Sam hasn’t batted much in Twenty20 cricket in 2022, a player with two Test centuries under his belt can always be more than a handy batter when the team requires his services.
Wanindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka)
Well, you can’t make the T20 team of 2022 without the number 1 T20I bowler in the world. Yes, of course, we wouldn’t commit such a crime by not picking Sri Lanka’s spin wizard, Wanindu Hasaranga, in the eleven. Even though we picked him, the batters failed to pick Hasaranga’s mystery in the entire year 2022, as the bowling all-rounder walked away with 34 wickets in 2022, at an inhumane strike rate of 12.74, guaranteeing a wicket every two overs.
Hasaranga was also the fourth-highest wicket-taker in Twenty20 internationals in 2022. Apart from his bowling credibility, the leg spinner is no mug with the bat either and can be a handy contributor in that department too.