Starting today, we will run at four-part series that will focus on 20 players we believe you should watch out for during the World T20 event, which kicks off in Sri Lanka from September 18. Presenting Part I:
Virat Kohli (India)
Irrespective of the format, if it is about India, it’s got to be Kohli. The India number three has been in unstoppable form over the last year. Even in India’s last T20 encounter prior to the World T20, Kohli smashed a whirlwind 70. It was a pity India couldn’t win in spite of his heroics, but the team would be pleased that Kohli’s good run just doesn’t seem to end. The Indians would only be hoping that he continues with the same rich run of scores.
David Warner (Australia)
The left-hander opener may have had a mixed run in international cricket lately, but the Aussies would be hoping for the explosive opener to fire, as it will increase their chances of doing well significantly. If he delivers to potential, Warner can destroy the best attacks in the world. He has the experience of playing international cricket for a few seasons now, and hence will be expected to deliver on the big stage. Warner’s experience in the IPL, where he has been a success, should also work in his favour. In 36 T20s till date, Warner has scored at a highly impressive strike rate of 140. If he gets going, opponents would be in for a leather hunt.
Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
It goes without saying that Bangladesh’s fortunes in the World T20 will depend to a large extent on how Shakib performs, with both bat and ball. One of modern cricket’s best all-rounders, Shakib has proven his ability against the best in all formats. As such, Bangladesh would be looking forward to their ex-captain to play the lead role even though he is not the skipper. As a middle-order bat, Shakib can rotate the strike as well as clear the field. And, as a left-arm spinner, he is accurately, and at the same time, a wicket-taking bowler. In fact, he has got a magnificent T20 record, with 27 wickets at a strike rate of 18.
Alex Hales (England)
Hales’s performance would be significant for one prime reason – he is Kevin Pietersen’s replacement as opener in the side. It is near impossible to substitute an impact player like KP, the man of the tournament during England’s victorious 2010 World T20 campaign. Having said that, Hales has been chosen to do the job, which means the English management has faith in him. He hasn’t done a lot wrong for the team so far, with two fifties, including a 99 in seven games. The World T20 will be a sterner test nonetheless.
Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan)
Not many would have heard a lot about him, but Nabi is a highly rated cricketer in Afghanistan. An all-rounder, he has played first-class cricket for the MCC, and has been a key figure in Afghanistan’s rising stakes in recent times. He has to his credit a half-century on one-day international debut. Also, in his first ever first-class fixture in Afghanistan colours, a match against Zimbabwe XI, he registered a century. Such performances have made him a reputed batsman in the side. As an off-spinner as well, Nabi has made his mark. He scalped 13 wickets for Afghanistan in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers that were held in 2010 at an unbelievable average of just over 10.
--By A Cricket Analyst