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World Twenty20 Six to Watch

Who will sparkle amid the fireworks and razzmattaz of the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa?

BBC Sport assesses some familiar names, and those not quite so well-known, who may have a say in the outcome of the trophy when the final takes place on 24 September.


Brett Lee

Australia have been slow to embrace Twenty20 but, despite a lack of experience in the shortest form of the game, they will be favourites.

Lee will be keen to make up for lost time, having missed the World Cup because of injury, but the 30-year has played only three Twenty20 internationals, taking just the one wicket with an economy rate of 7.2.

But his useful batting was used to good effect in his most recent match against South Africa when he fired an unbeaten 43 from 21 balls with four fours and two sixes.

And with his ability to mix rapid yorkers with slower deliveries, Lee could prove lethal in the next couple of weeks.


Luke Wright

Unlike their old adversaries, who have basically selected their one-day squad, England have gone for Twenty20 specialists in domestic cricket.

One of the most exciting talents to emerge is Sussex all-rounder Wright, who has been in exceptional form, in the shortest form of the game.

Promoted to number three, he played some pulsating innings, especially his 103 from 45 balls against Kent, and hit more sixes than any other player in domestic cricket during July.

Called into the England squad for the one-day international at The Oval he showed he is not flustered by the big occasion by smashing a superb fifty.


Robin Uthappa

Mahendra Dhoni has played the role of crowd-pleaser for India fans in recent years.

But he was not at his best this summer against England and if the Twenty20 skipper does not fire the Indians need another player to join the big guns.

Uthappa could well be that man.

He has a classical set-up but strikes the ball fiercely and has a liking for the big occasion, firing 86 on his debut against England.

The youngster also showed tremendous coolness before a full house at The Oval earlier this week to hit two boundaries in the final over to seal victory.


Shahid Afridi

An enigma or thrilling genius – even Pakistan fans have been divided at times about the explosive talent that is Shahid Afridi.

The 27-year-old has only played two Twenty20 internationals to date, making his debut against England at Bristol in August 2006 when he briefly thrilled the crowd in his typical fashion with a stunning 10-ball innings, all but two of his 28 coming via five fours and a six.

But he went 24 matches without a fifty, suffering 13 single figure scores in that period, before six sixes in an unbeaten 77 from 35 balls against South Africa in February.

Though there may be occasional doubts about his place in the team, many a bowler will be hoping not to catch his captain’s eye when it is time to bowl at Afridi.


Herschelle Gibbs

Gibbs is likely to play a key role if the partisan South African fans are to be kept interested in the tournament.

He may be short of hair – but not strokes, as Dutch spinner Daan van Bunge will attest.

Gibbs became the first batsman to hit six sixes in an over in a one-day international when he pulverised the hapless van Bunge in the World Cup.

The 33-year-old has had his fair share of problems on and off the field but he is capable of breathtaking displays, as anyone who saw his epic 175 in 2006’s world-record win over Australia will testify.


Darren Sammy

The impressively built 23-year-old St Lucian came to prominence on the tour to England this summer when he took seven wickets on his Test debut and unveiled a host of unusual celebratory routines.

He can also wield the willow and hit five fours in his 25 in that Test at Old Trafford.

While he is not in the same league as Joel Garner, and is probably never likely to be, there is a slight similarity.

And although he may not be as tall, quick or as accurate, Sammy could have the same sort of knack of wrapping up innings or making key breakthroughs that the deadly “Big Bird” developed.

Categories: Cricket News, twenty20
  1. September 11, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    My Players to Watch would be …

    Dhoni, Afridi (bowl and Batt), Jaysuriya (bowl and bat)
    Pointing, Gibbs, Rohin U….


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