With two World T20 trophies in their cabinet and a constant representation across global T20 leagues, West Indies has managed to brand itself as a nation of T20 specialists. Of course, in IPL, too, they have been phenomenal. Thanks to their big-hitting abilities and adept T20 bowling skills, IPL has stood witness to some scintillating shows by the men from the Caribbean islands. In this article, we take a look at an all-time IPL XI comprising West Indian cricketers only.
Openers: Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith
Between 2011 and 2015, if not for Chris Gayle‘s blitzkrieg’s, IPL might have travelled in a different route. He struck sixes at will and made the fifties very often. So far, the Jamaican has six IPL centuries to his name, the highest in the competition. His knock of 175 against Pune Warriors, India is the highest individual score in IPL. Even though he is over 40 now, Gayle is still in form. Hence, he opens the batting for this XI.
While Dwayne Smith replaced Dwayne Bravo at Mumbai Indians in IPL 2008, he came back to the franchise in 2012 as a replacement for Mitchell Johnson. Amidst this, he won a trophy in 2009 with Deccan Chargers. While the first season, he was good with the ball where he picked up five wickets at an average of 16.60, the rest of the campaigns, Smith was a beast with the bat. In 91 IPL games, he scored 2385 runs at an average of 28.39 and a strike rate of 135.20.
Middle-Order: Lendl Simmons and Nicholas Pooran (WK)
Lendl Simmons played very few games in IPL but was impactful. In both 2015 and 2017, he was crucial in Mumbai Indians lifting the trophy. He is remembered mainly for his maiden century in IPL 2014 against Punjab when very few expected him to pull it off.
It is too soon, but Pooran is the best bet to don the gloves for this all-time IPL XI comprising West Indian cricketers. An explosive batsman, Pooran’s current overall league strike rate is 157.76, one of the highest in the competition.
All-Rounders: Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo and Jason Holder
West Indies has been known for dishing out all-rounders who are brutal with the bat and more than useful with the ball. Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell have been the best examples of it. While five-time IPL winner Pollard has hit 3191 runs in 154 games at a strike rate of 150.87, Russell has managed 1680 runs in 68 games at a scoring rate of 179.30. With the ball, Pollard has 63 wickets, while Russell has scalped 68 victims.
On the other hand, Bravo has seen his role changed as seasons passed by. In 2012, he scored 371 runs at an average of 46.38 and was one of the best batsmen for CSK. However, just a few seasons later, in 2013 and 2015, he collected a total of 58 wickets. He is also one of the two players to have won the Purple cap twice. Holder is gradually improving his popularity in IPL. In the 19 games that he has played, the tall all-rounder has scored 108 runs and has collected 22 wickets.
Bowlers: Sunil Narine, Kevon Cooper and Samuel Badree
Sunil Narine has been the Player of the tournament in IPL on two occasions. While his mystery spin brought him accolades at the start, he has recently upgraded his attributes to become a pinch-hitting opener as well. With 130 wickets in 124 games, he features in the top 10 highest wicket-takers in the competition.
Kevon Cooper might look like a surprise selection in an all-time IPL XI comprising West Indian cricketers, but if you look at the brief impact that he had, he qualifies easily to this list. The master of slower deliveries at his peak, in the 25 games he played, Cooper picked 33 wickets at an average of 22.94.
Once ICC’s No.1 T20 bowler, Samuel Badree played very few games in IPL. He took 11 wickets in 12 games, and one of the highlights of his IPL career was the power-play hat trick he pulled off against Mumbai Indians as an RCB player.