Chris Gayle, the original T20 globetrotter and the leading run scorer in the format, has been named the greatest T20 player in a vote conducted among ESPNcricinfo staffers. Gayle, who played his first T20 match in 2005, has turned out for over 20 teams in the format, and has featured in games in Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the UAE, the USA, the West Indies, and Zimbabwe. He was the first to 10,000 runs, and his 22 hundreds are 14 more than those in second place. His 175 remains the highest T20 score, during the course of which he hit the fastest hundred.
Lasith Malinga finished a close second to Gayle in the final match-up in the staff bracket. The exercise started with a shortlist of 32 players, and those with more votes in the one-on-one match-ups progressed to the next stage. The popularity and impact of West Indian stars in T20s was reflected in the bracket: three of the four semi-finalists – Andre Russell and Sunil Narine being the others – and five of the eight quarter-finalists are from the region.
Readers’ bracket ended with Russell up against Rohit Sharma, who finished as the winner. The most successful captain in the IPL, Sharma has led Mumbai Indians to four titles, and won a record five in all. He is also the third-highest run scorer in the tournament. In T20Is, he’s the second-highest run scorer, and his four hundreds are the most for any player.
Gayle and Malinga were the other semi-finalists in the readers’ bracket. Besides Gayle, Malinga, and Russell, Dwayne Bravo and AB de Villiers were the others to feature in the quarter-finals in both the staff and readers’ brackets. (Cricinfo)