Big-match players set to fire in paradise island

A look at the talent that is waiting to express itself in the World T20 in Sri Lanka over the next three weeks
Last Updated : 17 September 2012, 18:00 IST
Last Updated : 17 September 2012, 18:00 IST

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*Virat Kohli (India):

Hailed the best Indian batsman across all formats by none other than Rahul Dravid, the stylish Virat Kohli will be the one to watch out for in this edition of the World T20. The right-hander, whose stock in the Indian side has seen a rapid progress in the last year so, will also be keen to stamp his class in his maiden World T20.
Matches: 11; Runs: 278; Average: 34.75; Strike rate: 134.29.

* Sunil Narine (West Indies):
If his exploits in IPL V and in the limited overs cricket for the West Indies are anything to go by, then off-spinner Sunil Narine will be a potent force to reckon. The knuckle-ball specialist has enjoyed great success on Indian and Caribbean surfaces and the Trinidadian will fancy his chances in Sri Lanka where conditions will not be too dissimilar.
Matches: 5; Wickets: 7; Average: 18.28; Economy: 6.40.

* Shane Watson (Australia):
The Aussie all-rounder has been a bit off-colour of late, but Shane Watson is a dangerous player capable of single-handedly turning the contest on its head. With an ability to hit the ball long and hard, Watson is more than handy with his medium-paced deliveries. Along with the left-handed David Warner, Watson forms one of the most explosive opening pairs in the tournament.
Matches: 30; Runs: 731; Average: 27.07; Strike rate: 147.97; Wickets: 24; Average: 22.45; Economy: 7.15.

* R Ashwin (India):
The Tamil Nadu offie will be Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s trump card on the Sri Lankan pitches. A canny bowler with a brilliant set of variations, Ashwin can effectively starve the batsmen of runs and pick up crucial wickets, and the 25-year-old is also adept at operating with the new ball.
Matches: 11; Wickets: 7; Average: 48; Economy: 7.81 .    
* Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka):
The strapping all-rounder is a dream package – sharp pacer, hard-hitting batsman and a hard working fielder. The biggest enemy of Perera is his inconsistency, and if the Lankan can add that attribute to his game during the next three weeks, then their rivals will have a lot to worry about.
Matches: 13; Runs: 116; Average: 16.57; Strike rate: 138.09; Wickets: 9; Average: 30.22; Economy: 7.62.

* Chris Gayle (West Indies):
The mere mention of the Jamaican left-hander can send chill down the spines of Windies’ opponents.  A brutal clubber of cricket ball, Gayle is also a useful spinner and both the traits will come in handy on Lankan pitches. His form will determine the progress of the West Indies in the tournament.
Matches: 23; Runs: 757; Average: 36.04; Strike rate: 143.91; Wickets: 12; Average: 21.16; Economy: 7.29.
* David Warner (Australia):
Another fearsome hitter of the ball, the New South Welshman is a key player in the Australian ranks along with Shane Watson and the Hussey brothers. There’s no turbo lag in Warner’s batting, ready to blast the bowlers from the first ball, and that single-minded focus in attack is his biggest strength.
Matches: 36; Runs: 978; Average: 27.16; Strike rate: 140.71.

* Dale Steyn (South Africa): 
The world’s premier paceman is also one of the few top-of-the-line bowlers who love to play in all three formats. Steyn’s pace and controlled aggression will be great assets for South Africa in the World T20. He is a treat to watch in full tilt, giving an artistic touch to an unforgiving profession like fast bowling.
Matches: 23; Wickets: 31; Average: 17.87; Strike rate: 6.67.

* Brendon McCullum (New Zealand):
If his displays in the past is anything to go by, the 30-year-old is bound to make life hard for bowlers. His unique shots and quick footwork make him one of the finest exponents of T20, while his work behind the stumps or on the field is no less spectacular.
Matches: 48; Runs: 1443; Average: 36.07; Strike rate: 132.75.

* Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan):
His stall-and-release action is something every bowler has begun to use these days. If one can trouble Sachin Tendulkar to no end, you can expect him to do the same to some of the best batsmen in the business.
Matches: 42; Wickets: 60; Average: 15.48; Economy: 6.03.

* AB de Villiers (South Africa):
The right-hander may not have the most impressive average in T20 Internationals but if his consistent,  powerful displays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL is anything to go by, the 28-year-old is most certainly someone the bowlers would look to get rid of early.
Matches: 39; Runs: 693; Average: 22.35; Strike rate: 119.48.

Published 17 September 2012, 18:00 IST

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