This is the first ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to have taken place since I retired from international cricket earlier this year, so I’m preparing for a different experience watching from the other side of the rope.
I’m looking forward to seeing the action get underway and particularly excited by some of the young batters on display.
There are several who I think could be set for a breakthrough tournament and with that in mind, here are five players to keep a close eye on over the next month.
Tim David (Australia)
Tim David has had a different transition into international cricket, starting out with Singapore before going on to shine in the IPL and other competitions around the world.
He has had some useful cameos in his brief appearances for Australia so far and he obviously has a lot of power. He seems to be able to hit boundaries with ease.
He will slot into an Australian team already packed with firepower – the fact someone as talented as Cameron Green couldn’t get in the squad tells its own story.
I think Australia fans are going to really love him and cricket fans all around the world are going to enjoy watching him.
He knows those pitches and conditions and I think he could be set for a big month.
Harry Brook (England)
I was in India recently playing a legends series and caught a bit of England’s T20 series against Pakistan. Harry Brook got 80-odd [81 not out] in one of the games and really caught the eye.
I first saw him in 2018, when I was playing for Nottinghamshire against Brook’s Yorkshire in English domestic cricket, and he looked like a good player back then. He has since gone on to play Test cricket and looks like he has a big career ahead of him.
Brook is an example of someone who has been brought up on T20 cricket, so smacking the ball from ball one has become second nature.
My generation had to learn that while we were playing but these guys have grown up doing it, they do it without blinking an eye.
England have a settled white ball line-up so the fact Brook has forced his way in shows they see something special in him.
Having also played in the Big Bash for Hobart Hurricanes, he won’t be overawed by the crowds or the size of the boundaries. He’ll be ready for what comes at him.
Finn Allen (New Zealand)
I have to mention New Zealand and it looks like Finn Allen will open the batting, so he will be relied upon to get the team off to a fast start.
Devon Conway and Kane Williamson are more conservative in the way they go about it, so they will be looking to Allen to get that strike rate up and lay the foundations for those guys.
At 23, he is the youngest member of a New Zealand side which is ageing, so they will need Finn and some of the other young guys to make their mark.
Allen could play in place of Martin Guptill, so he may be under a bit of pressure, but he’s got the endorsement of the coach and this tournament is a great opportunity to show he can be a big part of this team for years to come.
Haider Ali (Pakistan)
Haider Ali is a player who really has something about him. Pakistan move him up and down the order but wherever he bats, he is capable of hitting the ground running.
There will always be a lot of runs scored by Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan and they often face a lot of the balls in an innings, so they will need guys like Haider to play cameos down the order. He has been a big part of Pakistan’s series win over New Zealand recently, striking at over 200 in the third match of the series.
It’s not often both Babar and Rizwan will fail, one of them will generally face around 40 or 50 balls, so they need other guys to bat quickly around them. Haider is certainly capable of doing that.
Suryakumar Yadav (India)
I know from experience that four is not an easy place to bat in T20 cricket and that’s especially true for Suryakumar Yadav, who is coming in after KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Some would find that an intimidating place to be but he has really taken to it. He can pick out unorthodox areas and he’s fearless.
He plays with a lot of confidence, you can tell that from the way he carries himself, and he doesn’t go many innings without making a score.
Coming in at four and five are, in my opinion, the toughest places to bat in T20 cricket. You could come in at 10 for two and if you lose three wickets inside the six-over powerplay, you lose the majority of your matches.
You need to mix intent with risk management but that’s something Yadav does really well. Whether chasing or setting a total, he bats with a similar mindset and India will be looking to him to continue that form in Australia.
Content courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone.