Melbourne: India all-rounder Hardik Pandya, and not charismatic batter Suryakumar Yadav, figures in legendary Australian wicketkeeper-batter Adam Gilchrist's list of first-five cricketers he would pick in a dream World T20I XI.
With the ICC T20 World Cup set to begin on October 16 in Australia, Gilchrist called Pandya an awesome figure, while not mentioning Suryakumar's name, who again played a pivotal role in India taking an unassailable lead in the three-match T20I series against South Africa in Guwahati on Sunday.
Suryakumar smashed a 22-ball 61 as India scored a mammoth 237/3 and then restricted the Proteas to 221/3 for a 16-run win. However, Gilchrist said he would go with Pandya for his ability to bat, bowl, field and entertain. Pandya is currently ranked fourth in the ICC's T20I ranking for all-rounders.
"Pandya is just an awesome figure straight across the board," Gilchrist was quoted as saying by ICC. "His ability to bat, bowl, field and entertain, he's definitely in there."
Besides Pandya, Gilchrist also picked country-mate David Warner who in T20I Batting Ranking stands at 49th position, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam who is 3rd and T20I Batting Ranking, Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan who is 4th in T20I Bowling Ranking and England T20I skipper Jos Buttler who is at 21st position in T20I Batting Ranking.
"He's (Warner) at the top of the order," Gilchrist said. "I think just his attacking attitude, the way he kick-starts innings at the top, and the confidence he'll have from the previous T20 World Cup," said Gilchrist of Warner.
On Babar Azam, the legendary cricketer said, "His versatility across all formats, but also when it's getting down to T20 cricket, just across all conditions, I think he can play all conditions really well."
On Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, Gilchrist said, "He's just got to be there in any T20 team, doesn't he? Cricketer of the year in this format across the world. Over the last decade, Rashid Khan is in there."
For Jos Buttler, who has been laid low by a calf injury but is expected to fully recover for the T20 World Cup, Gilchrist said while the choice was between several batters, he would go with the England skipper.
"It's a bit batting heavy I know, but Jos Buttler for me. He is just dynamic, his power and his courage to take it on. Simply a stroke of brilliance from him and its game over."
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