Mahela Jayawardene, former Sri Lanka captain and currently the head coach of five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) Mumbai Indians, has revealed the first five players from his dream T20 XI. Jayawardene has had a prolific international career with Sri Lanka in all formats of the game and witnessed some stellar performances from players of various countries.
Jayawardene played for Sri Lanka from 1997-2015. He appeared in 149 Tests, making 11814 runs, in 448 ODIs, he made 12650 runs and in 55 T20I matches, he made 1493 runs. He was also part of Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup win in 2014.
In the latest episode of The ICC Review with Sanjana Ganesan, Jayawardene named five players for his dream T20 team- Rashid Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Jasprit Bumrah, Jos Buttler, and Mohammad Rizwan.
“For me the bowlers are the most important aspect of T20 cricket and Rashid Khan is a proper spinner that can bat. 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,” said Jayawardene.
Jayawardene picked two more bowlers in the form of Pakistani speedster Afridi and the India and Mumbai Indians pacer Bumrah. Afridi was named the ICC Test player of the year in 2021 and he chose Bumrah as one of the best options to bring on to end the opposition’s inning swiftly.
He Is Very Aggressive And Plays Both Pace And Spin Well: Mahela Jayawardene On Jos Buttler
One of the batting picks for Jayawardene was England’s white-ball vice-captain Jos Buttler, who is currently the Orange Cap holder for most runs in IPL 2022 and has already hit 3 centuries and 3 fifties in 9 matches played thus far for Rajasthan Royals.
“I would probably open the batting with Jos. 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,” he said.
Mohammad Rizwan was also picked by Jayawardene as the keeper of the team.