Across 2010-19, Australia’s worst format has been T20 cricket. consistently picking the wrong plyers as a result of having been clueless in the format for most of the decade. Australia are hosting the 2020 World T20, and perhaps we will be better afterwards, but right now we aren’t particularly good.
We do have a few good T20I players, at least batsmen. David Warner and Shane Watson were natural fits for the format, and in the latter part of the decade they were joined by Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell. All four were consistently amongst the best T20I batsmen in the world. The problem is the bowling, with only Mitchell Starc consistently dangerous in the format. In a format in which spin bowling excels, we have lacked quality spinners that have excelled in the format. This makes picking the side that much tougher.
(1) David Warner
The all-format player has struck at a very good 141.09 in the T20I format for the decade, while accumulating 1,806 runs at an average of 30.10, to be an easy pick. While he played his first T20I match in 2009, 68 of his 76 T20I matches have been in the 2010s.
(2) Aaron Finch
The Australian T20I captain has been amazing ever since his debut at the beginning of 2011 and seems a natural fit for the format. He has struck at 156.50 for the decade, across 58 matches with 1,878 runs for an average of 38.32, all incredible numbers for the format. It is little surprise that he has been the number 1 batsman for most of the decade and easily makes the all-time World XI for the T20I format.
(3) Shane Watson
A strike rate of 147.48 for the decade puts Watson in some elite company, and this is while maintaining a very good average of 30.57 across 51 matches and scoring 1,376, and if he didn’t bowl he’d still be in this side. But he has also been good enough to make the side purely as a bowler, taking 45 wickets at an average of 23.97. A mark of a good all-rounder is a gap between batting and bowling averages, and in this format Watson has a gap of a healthy 6.60, while having that great strike rate. He is such an amazing player and a natural fit for the format that it is a pity that he had to wait so long to start playing.
(4) Steve Smith
While not well-known for his T20 exploits, originally Smith was a T20 specialist, and he managed 17 T20 wickets for the decade at a more than healthy average of 22.17. His batting improved too, and by decade end he was up to an average of 27.47 with a strike rate of 128.79, and 4 half-centuries. He is only getting better.
(5) Glenn Maxwell
Somehow or other, Maxwell has a better batting average in T20Is than in ODIs, 35.02 compared to 32.32, which in turn is better than his test average of just 26.07. Just like Virat Kohli, only not near to the averages that Kohli has. His strike rate of 160.00, though, is far beyond anything Kohli could hope to deliver, and it is why he is such a dangerous player in the format. He bowls as well, with some handy spin bowling picking up 26 wickets at a healthy average of 27.07. This is his format.
(6) Michael Hussey
In 20 T20Is, Michael Hussey managed to score 495 runs at a very healthy average of 49.50, while maintaining a strike rate of 137.11. What a player! The decade was most well-known for his 60 not out in the 2010 World T20, off just 24 balls, while chasing 192 for victory in the semi-final, needing 48 off the last 3 overs, with Steve Smith out off the first ball and only 3 wickets in hand. 48 off 17. No problems! What a player.
(7) Brad Haddin
Haddin has always preferred the shorter formats, and there were times when he was phenomenal with the bat, and took the game away from oppositions. He was the only wicket keeper out of several used in the decade who was never in any real danger of losing his spot.
(8) James Faulkner
Faulkner has bowled really well in T20Is, taking 36 wickets in 24 matches at an impressive average of 19.00. While his batting has been a bit weaker than in ODIs, he is still dangerous, with a strike rate of 115.21, albeit with an average of just 14.45. It’s little wonder that he decided to become a T20 specialist in 2017.
(9) Pat Cummins
While more well-known for his test exploits, Cummins has been exceptional at T20I level, taking 32 wickets in 25 matches at an average of 20.12.
(10) Mitchell Starc
Australia’s real T20 bowling star, Starc has taken 39 wickets in 28 matches at an average of 18.41, and has always been dangerous.
(11) Adam Zampa
Since making his debut in 2016, Zampa has been a regular in Australia’s T20 side, taking 28 wickets in 27 matches at an average of 20.42, as Australia’s solid spin bowler.
David Hussey, Cameron White and George Bailey were all exceptional at domestic level but struggled to really impress internationally, though they were close to making the cut.
Michael Klinger had one of the best records of any Australian T20I batsmen, but only played 3 matches, so perhaps shouldn’t be included.
D’Arcy Short would have made it at his peak, but overall he wasn’t quite there.
Andrew Tye was close to making the cut too.
There were just so many that were close and this was a very tough decision but hopefully I got it right.