Morgan, Mendis and Watson top in ICC T20 rankings

Eoin Morgan has scored 569 runs at an average of 47.41 in 18 T20 matches Getty Images

Dubai: Oct 24, 2011

England s Eoin Morgan, Ajantha Mendis of Sri Lanka and Shane Watson of Australia were announced as the number-one ranked batsman, bowler and all-rounder, respectively in the ICC T20I Player Rankings which were released in Dubai Monday.

In 18 T20Is, Morgan has scored 569 runs at an average of 47.41 and only Matthew Hayden (308 runs at 51.33) and Andrew Symonds (337 runs at 48.14) have better averages than the left-hander.

Commenting on the launch of the rankings, the 25-year-old said: “International Twenty20 rankings give players an ideal guide as to how they’re performing in this form of the game.

“From an England perspective it’s great to see a number of colleagues feature in the player rankings and I know they, like all players listed, will be looking to improve their positions and develop their game as we look forward to playing more international Twenty20 cricket ahead of Sri Lanka next year,” he added.

While Morgan is the only batsman to boast a rating of over 800 points on the day of the launch, New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum and Kevin Pietersen of England are both within striking range.

Second-ranked McCullum is on 799 ratings points while third-ranked Pietersen, who is likely to face India in Kolkata on Saturday, is sitting on 793 ratings points.

The top 20 list includes four batsmen each from Australia and South Africa and three each from Sri Lanka and India.

Ajantha Mendis, who won the ICC Emerging Player of the Year award at the LG ICC Awards in Dubai in 2008, leads the field in the bowlers’ category.

The 26-year-old from Moratuwa is the fourth leading wicket-taker behind Pakistan trio – Shahid Afridi (53), Umar Gul (47) and Saeed Ajmal (45) – with 39 wickets in 20 matches. His bowling figures of six for 16 against Australia in Pallekele on 8 August 2011 stands as the best bowling figures in T20Is to date.

“I feel honoured and humbled to be ranked as the top bowler in a list which includes some of the finest current bowlers,” he said.

“While celebrating my number-one ranking, I cannot thank my team-mates enough for their continued support and guidance. If fact, our number-two position on the Championship table illustrates how well we have gelled as a team and consistently produced good performances,” he added.

The salient feature of the bowlers’ ranking is that seven spinners figure inside the top 10.

New Zealand’s left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori, who has recently retired from the shortest version of the game but remains one of the most respected voices in cricket, was impressed with these stats when he said: “I believe spin bowlers have adapted to T20 cricket better than most.

“To see spinners succeed in a tough environment is great for the game and means bowlers can enjoy Twenty20 cricket, most of the time!”

Shane Watson leads the all-rounders’ category that also includes three Pakistanis in second-ranked Afridi, fourth-ranked Mohammad Hafeez and 10th-ranked Abdul Razzaq inside the top 10.

David Hussey is in third position as the top 10 also includes two South Africans in Jacques Kallis and Albie Morkel.

A humble Watson said: “With so many fantastic players in world cricket it is a great honor to be recognised as the number-one all-rounder in the international Twenty20 cricket. While personal milestones and accolades are nice, our goal as a team is to play more consistent T20 cricket and allow the rankings to take care of themselves.

“The games we play over the Australia summer are a wonderful opportunity to begin this climb and prepare ourselves in the best way possible for the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka next year.”

ICC Media release