Mehela selects first five players for dream T20 XI

Mehela selects first five players for dream T20 XI

ICC Hall of Famer Mahela Jayawardena has nominated the first five players he would pick if he was in charge of selecting a dream T20 side and declared which former great he would call on if he could choose one star at their prime to join them.

While Jayawardena forged a magnificent career for Sri Lanka in all three forms of the game, the 44-year-old now spends much of his time following 20-over cricket with his current role as coach of IPL side Mumbai Indians.

In that role Jayawardena sees the best 20-over players in the world up close and personal on a daily basis and the Sri Lanka legend revealed the first five players he would pick if he could select a dream XI on the most recent episode of The ICC Review.

“For me the bowlers are the most important aspect of T20 cricket and Rashid Khan is a proper spinner that can bat,” Jayawardena told Sanjana Ganesan on The ICC Review.

“He is a very good number seven or number eight batter and you can use him in different circumstances depending on your combinations.

“He can also bowl in different phases of an innings like during the Powerplay, the middle overs and also at the death he is not a bad option depending on the conditions, so Rashid would be my first pick.”

“I am then going to go with two more bowlers actually and the first one is going to be a left-armer in Shaheen Afridi,” Jayawardena said.

“He had a great World Cup last year, bowls very well with the new ball and is more than capable of getting some swing early too.

“He is a wicket taking option too that bowls very well at the death as well, so can be considered a good attacking option.”

“Jasprit Bumrah is a guy I have always admired as he is capable of bowling in different phases of an innings,” Jayawardena noted.

“He is another wicket taking option and, when you need guys to close an innings off, there is no one better than Jasprit Bumrah.”

“I would probably open the batting with Jos,” Jayawardena said.

“He is very aggressive and plays both pace and spin well.

“He has been in great form at the IPL of late and did well at the last T20 World Cup as well where he played really well in tough conditions in the UAE.”

“The next option is the wicketkeeper-batter and I am going with Mohammad Rizwan,” Jayawardena said.

“I know he does often open the batting for Pakistan, but I think he can bat in that middle order.

“He is a good player of spin and a very busy player.”

And asked by The ICC Review host Sanjana Ganesan as to which player he would bring out of retirement to play in his dream XI, Jayawardena had no hesitation in nominating former West Indies opener Chris Gayle.

“I would take a 30-year-old Chris Gayle to open the batting with Jos Buttler and that would be an awesome combination,” Jayawardena said.

“Chris would just stand still and hit and Jos would have to do all the running for him.

“He was at his peak at that first T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007 and that inaugural century against South Africa was something special.

“I would take Chris at the top of the order as he can change a game.” (Courtesy ICC Cricket)

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