Shane Watson, former Australian all-rounder and the current member of the Chennai Super Kings, recently picked his top-5 T20 bowlers of all times.
Watson, who has played with and against some of the greatest bowlers of the shorter formats, went on to pick Lasith Malinga, Shahid Afridi, Jasprit Bumrah, Sunil Narine, and DJ Bravo as his top-5 greatest T20 bowlers of all times.
Speaking about Lasith Malinga, who holds the record for most wickets in the IPL, Shane Watson paid tribute to the Sri Lankan veteran for his astounding consistency and his ability to nail yorkers at will throughout his carrer.
Malinga has played 295 T2os in his career and has thus far taken 390 wickets at an average of 19.69 and an astounding economy rate of 7.08. As far as T20Is are concerned, Malinga has 107 wickets to his name in 84 games at an average of 20.79 and an economy of 7.42.
“Being able to do what he did so consistently for such a long period of time was just phenomenal. To swing the new ball like he did, take crucial wickets against the best batsman, to be able to come in at the backend of the game and close out the game so consistently was ridiculous. His execution of yorkers was something that had never been before and might not be seen again. His change of speed, his off-cutter was really hard to pick because of his arm speed,” Shane Watson said in a video shared by T20 Stars.
”There is no doubt if you are playing against him and if he was bowling the last two overs, its very hard to get more than 8 runs in an over, so you have to try and take down other bowlers if the run-rate is above 10. He is a phenomenon. T20 cricket was just built for him” he added.
The second pick that Shane Watson made was former Pakistan captain, Shahid Afridi. Afridi featured in as many as 317 T20s, in which he claimed 339 wickets at an average of 22.26 and an economy rate of 6.71. In 99 T20Is for Pakistan, the leg-spinner claimed 98 wickets at an average of 24.44 and an economy of 6.63.
“He is the perfect T20 bowler. He takes wickets and doesn’t go for many runs. Facing Boom Boom throughout my career, never feel like you’ll get a free ball at all. You’ve got to play really well to get some boundaries against him because he is always at you with his variations” Shane Watson said.
Shane Watson’s third pick was Indian superstar, Jasprit Bumrah. The 26-year-old has so far featured in 162 T20s, claiming 189 wickets at an average of 22.61 and an economy of 7.12. In 50 T20Is, the fast bowler has amassed 59 scalps at an average of 20.25 and an economy of 6.66.
“He, for me is an all-round package. He is only 26 at the moment but the dominance he has had in T20 cricket so far is phenomenal. He’s skilled with the new ball; he’s different. He’s got speed; he can swing the ball both ways now; he’s got a great change of pace and his execution of yorker is incredible as well. The impact he has had in not just domestic cricket for the Mumbai Indians but also for India is phenomenal” Shane Watson said.
The 4th in Shane Watson’s list is the first bowler to claim 500 T20 wickets, his CSK teammate, Dwayne Bravo.
Bravo has thus far claimed 506 T20 wickets in 467 matches that he played for different teams around the world. Watson hailed Bravo for his death-bowling skills, adding that he is a perfect balance between risk and reward.
“It’s phenomenal for someone to take 500 (506) T20 wickets. That’s 100 more than the second-placed Lasith Malinga. DJ Bravo, What a man! He is the balance between risk and reward. He has bowled so many overs in the death, which is super-challenging, and he just knows how to find a way of taking wickets. The way he does it, the style with which he does it is phenomenal,” Shane Watson said.
“The other thing that stands out in case of DJ Bravo is that he has been a vital cog of title-winning teams around the world” he added.
The final name in Shane Watson’s list was West Indies and Kolkata Knight Riders off-spinner, Sunil Narine.
Narine has thus far featured in 345 games, claiming 387 wickets at an average of 20.49 and an economy of 6.03. As far as T20Is are concerned, Narine has claimed 52 wickets in 51 games at an average of 21.25 and an economy of 6.01.
“Yes his action has been questioned throughout this career but the impact he has had on games and his numbers are unquestionable. It’s phenomenal the impact he has had on games. Like all ultimate T20 bowlers, he takes wickets at crucial times and hardly goes for any runs” Watson signed off.