Who is the best T20I player in the world currently? The question can evoke several answers. But for former Australia player Shane Watson, the answer is clear. It’s Babar Azam. The Pakistan cricket team captain is currently the No. 1 batter in ICC ODI and T20I rankings. Last year, he played a big part in Pakistan reaching the semi-final of the 2021 T20 World Cup. This year too, Pakistan are among the favourites to lift the trophy and Babar’s form is a major reason behind it. While speaking on The ICC Review, Watson was asked to name five players who would be his first choices for a World T20I XI. The Australia great chose Babar as his first pick.
“First one I’d pick would be Babar Azam,” Watson said. “He’s the No. 1 T20I batter in the world, and he just knows how to dominate. It’s like he’s not even taking any risks, and he scores incredibly quickly against the best bowlers in the world,” Watson said on The ICC Review.
“He’s going to do very well in Australian conditions (during the T20 World Cup) as well, as his technique is very much built for Australian conditions.”
An Indian was Watson’s second pick. “Second one is Suryakumar Yadav,” Watson said. “He’s batting incredibly well, and he would be my No.2 pick. But I wouldn’t be surprised at all if (India team-mate) KL Rahul explodes in the T20 World Cup in Australia, because he’s got the game to dominate in these conditions in Australia.”
While Australia’s David Warner and England’s Jos Buttler were Watson’s third and fourth picks, his fifth pick was also a Pakistan cricketer.
“And the last one is Shaheen Afridi,” Watson said. “His wicket-taking ability is something special.
“We saw in the last men’s T20 World Cup his ability to be able to get the best batsmen out with that brand new ball. I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t really dominate in Australian conditions, with the ball swinging around and fast, bouncy wickets.
“My only little concern with him is, if he doesn’t take wickets to start with, then he can tail off a little bit.
“But I’m sure he’s been working on that. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t dominate here.”