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Dream Team

Who's in our retro T20 XI? Sobers, Richards, Bradman… oh, wait

Our panel picks a team of 12 players who never played a T20 but would take to the format with ease

Sreshth Shah
Sreshth Shah
It's the season for T20 cricket, so on Dream Team we've picked a retro T20 XI - a team of players who never played a T20 but we think would thrive in the format. We roved across the eras to find a unit with the mix of qualities that are traditionally thought to point to success in T20. The panelists who have the difficult task of making the team are ESPNcricinfo senior assistant editor Shamya Dasgupta, UK editor Andrew Miller, and freelance writer Ahmer Naqvi, with presenter Raunak Kapoor moderating.
The first question our panelists had to answer was a philosophical one. What makes a player suited for T20 cricket? How much weight do you give to their numbers and how much to their approach to cricket? Can a player who never even played ODIs be considered for a team like this? Should players we've never seen footage of be in the running? In the video above, our experts explain how they went about this unique selection meeting.
Allrounders, especially fast-bowling ones, are rare. And they're extra valuable in T20 teams. Over the decades, there have been plenty who have lit the sport up with their presence: Keith Miller, Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee, Mike Procter were just a few of those who made the shortlist, and while every team today would crave an allrounder of their calibre, only one makes it to our XI.
While there were plenty of disagreements among the panelists on the other ten names, one man walked into everybody's XI with not a shred of debate over his merits. With a Test batting average of 57.78, and a gamut of variations with the ball - left-arm wristspin, slow left-arm orthodox, medium pace, you name it - Garfield Sobers was arguably the greatest cricketer ever. He was the first person to hit six sixes in an over in first-class cricket and was an excellent fielder too. Take a look at the video above, where our experts explain why he was a unanimous choice for the XI.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo