My Best XI

Young 'uns and big guns

Tymal Mills picks an all-time T20 XI from among the cricketers he played alongside

As told to Matt Roller  |  

How many RCB players can you squeeze into an all-time T20 XI?

How many RCB players can you squeeze into an all-time T20 XI? © AFP

Left-arm pace bowler Tymal Mills has been hot property on the franchise circuit over the last five years. Since his debut in 2012, he has played for 14 different T20 teams, from Essex and England to Karachi and Kandahar. Here, he picks the best T20 XI from those he has played alongside.

D'Arcy Short
I tried mainly to pick those that played well when I was playing with them, for the most part, and the BBL in 2017-18, my first year with Hobart Hurricanes, was the year D'Arcy Short took over the Big Bash. He was our best player by a long way - he got a big hundred, two ninety-somethings and scored nearly 600 runs in the tournament. He was just destroying teams at the top of the order throughout that season for us, and ended up as the MVP.

Colin Munro
I played with Munners for Auckland Aces in the Super Smash. In New Zealand, with the small grounds and flat pitches, it wasn't really fair on a lot of the local bowlers coming up against him in the Powerplay. He's a seriously good opening batsman. Was I tempted to pick Gayle? I've played against Gayle a lot and we've had some good battles. We all know about the one at Hove way back when, but he's certainly taken me to the cleaners a few times as well, especially in the subcontinent. But I've only played with him at RCB and he didn't have his best tournament that year- so that's why I've left him out.

Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers
That combination at No. 3 and No. 4 picks itself, really. I was so fortunate to play with them both at RCB. When they got going, it was really special to watch. I didn't actually bowl at them in the nets that often - because the squads are so big, those two plus Gayle would go and spend some time with Trent Woodhill, the batting coach, before training for their longer hit before the rest of us got there. It was the year before, 2016, that they went really big - but I still saw enough in 2017 to realise how special they were.

Can't lose with these two: one's a legend, one's a keeper

Can't lose with these two: one's a legend, one's a keeper © Getty Images

Jos Buttler (wk)
I played with Jos in all four of my England games. He was Man of the Match in the first, though I'm not sure he did so well in the three in India at the start of 2017. But I couldn't really not have him in as the wicketkeeper-batter - he's so good in that role.

Kieron Pollard
We played together at Peshawar Zalmi. Having Polly coming in at No. 4, 5 or 6, depending on the game situation, is such a good option to have. Everybody knows he's going to smack you down the ground for six - so you put three fielders down there, but he still clears them easily. And he's great to have in the field obviously: he catches everything. He's a good guy as well, and has so much experience in T20 cricket.

Ben Stokes
Another England team-mate. Having a guy in your side that does all three - bat, bowl, field - is so important, and that's exactly what Stokes does. He bowls the big overs when required, obviously clears the ropes with ease, and then races around in the field. He's your ideal man in most situations.

When it's time for wickets to fall, who you gonna call?

When it's time for wickets to fall, who you gonna call? © BCCI

Rashid Khan
He's been a marquee signing for us at Sussex. Us quickies will generally start things off in the powerplay, and if we're getting smacked around, Rash just comes on and tends to get whoever's been hitting us around out. He's been a huge part of our attack, and he's another great guy - he loves coming down for the summer and getting involved with the boys. It feels like he turns it into a 16-over game. At Hove, where we play our home games, there's quite a big hill, and he often bowls his four up the hill which makes everything so much easier for the rest of us.

Jofra Archer
I've played with Jof for a long time now, first at Sussex and then he really burst onto the scene when we played together at Hobart. I've spent a lot of time with him on and off the field. I don't need to say too much, do I? Everyone knows he's a special bowler, especially in T20 cricket. He gets his yorkers in, bowls 90-plus mph, changes the game, takes wickets, reduces the run rate - he's a big-game player.

The best I've played against

1. Brendon McCullum

2. Chris Gayle

3. Virat Kohli

4. Kevin Pietersen

5. Glenn Maxwell

6. Jos Buttler

7. Andre Russell

8. Sunil Narine

9. Mohammad Amir

10. Imran Tahir

11. Jasprit Bumrah

Wahab Riaz
I didn't want to be too arrogant and pick myself - these guys are all better than I am! Wahab is king of the PSL. It seems like he's the leading wicket-taker there pretty much every year. I played with him at Peshawar Zalmi. He's a master in those middle-through-to-death overs. He takes wickets for fun out there, and he's handy to whack a few at the end if needed. We've definitely spoken about bowling - yorkers, technique. We're quite similar bowlers, you could say, so it was nice to bowl with him. We had a really good attack in that 2019 PSL season, with us two and Hasan Ali as the fast bowlers, and ended up just missing out in the final.

Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzi's another guy I played with at RCB. He's a brilliant legspinner - similar to Rashid in the way that he can bowl in the powerplay, middle, or back end. He really gives the ball a rip, spins it big and has great variations up his sleeve. To have the option to pick two of the best leggies in the world in this team - possibly even the best two - made it a pretty easy decision for me.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98

 

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