Young stars to watch out for in T20 World Cup thumbnail

Young stars to watch out for in T20 World Cup

The seventh T20 World
Cup gets underway in Oman and the UAE at the weekend with the world’s best
players queueing up to take the title and the headlines.

But while the world has already heard of the likes of Chris
Gayle, Virat Kohli and Babar Azam, there are sure to be new global superstars
unleashed on the world.

AFP Sport picks out six who are likely to play a major role.

Ishan Kishan: Indian
‘Master’

India has had its share of Little Masters and in the five
foot six inch (1.68m) Kishan they may have uncovered another. On his
international T20 debut against England in March, the diminutive left-hander
cracked a sparkling 56 from 32 balls, outscoring his skipper Virat Kohli who
watched approvingly from the other end. The 23-year-old had a slump in form
during the IPL and was temporarily benched by Mumbai but returned to hammer 50
not out against Rajasthan and 84 from 32 balls against Hyderabad, the perfect
warm-up for the World Cup.

Haider Ali: Pakistani
plunderer

Three months ago, it looked as if big-hitting Haider would
miss out on the World Cup, having been sent home from the UAE after breaching
Covid-19 restrictions and withdrawn from Pakistan’s squad to tour England and
West Indies. But the 21-year-old middle-order batter’s form in Pakistan’s
National T20 Cup, including three unbeaten half-centuries, earned him a
reprieve. An unbeaten 91 off 53 balls for Northern against Babar Azam’s Central
Punjab last month may have helped — it never hurts to impress the skipper.

Glenn Phillips: 800
press-ups

T20 crowds love to see sixes which is perhaps why they have
taken a shine to Phillips, the Kiwi batter born in South Africa. The
24-year-old big-hitter, who likes to put in 800 press-ups a day, has been
clearing the ropes this year in the Blast, the Hundred, the CPL and most
recently the IPL where he played for Rajasthan. A wicketkeeper by inclination,
Phillips has also reinvented himself as an off-spinner and will be one of the
fielders to watch around the boundary.

Tabraiz Shamsi:
Protean guard

South Africa’s quest for a first World Cup title has
traditionally rested with their batsmen — this time around it may be Shamsi
who is the key. A left-arm wrist-spinner with ample variations and a good
googly, Shamsi only came into his own with the retirement of Imran Tahir in
2019. Still not a household name at the age of 31, Shamsi is the highest-ranked
T20I bowler in the world, having already taken a world-leading 28 wickets this
year and a career economy rate of under seven runs per over.

Hazratullah Zazai:

Afghanistan hope With the world’s eyes focussed on Afghanistan for all the wrong reasons, the pressure is on Zazai to show the ebullient brilliance of their cricketers. The 23-year-old is pure box office. Three years ago he etched his way into the history books by hitting Abdullah Mazari for six sixes in an over in a domestic T20 match, reaching his 50 in just 12 balls. In 2019, he replicated that brand of hitting as he belted a record 16 sixes in an unbeaten 162 off 62 balls against Ireland in just his fifth T20I.

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