The 2016 World T20 features perhaps the most exciting array of attacking batting talent the game has known. Manish Tewani picks out his ones to watch, the batsman the bowlers will least like to bowl at.
Glenn Maxwell – A batsman who is tailor made for the shortest form of the game, he will surely light up the World T20 with his explosive batting skills. With a T20 career strike rate of over 150, he can demolish any bowling line-up in a matter of minutes. He has played a lot of matches in Mohali and Dharamsala due to his IPL (Indian Premier League) stint with Kings XI Punjab, and with Australia playing three out of their four group matches on these grounds, don’t be surprised if he outperforms a lot of the other Aussie batsmen in the Super 10 stage.
Virat Kohli – If there is a Mr. consistent in T20 cricket, it is Virat Kohli. With a career average of more than 50 in international T20s, there is no other batsman who comes even close to matching his record. His recent form has been nothing short of exceptional, with scores of more than 40 in six out of seven of his T20I innings. With India playing at home, there is no doubt that Kohli will look to carry his superlative form into the World T20 and, like he did in the Asia Cup, win matches for India with the bat.
Kane Williamson – He might not be the most explosive batsman to watch, but he is one of the most versatile batsman in the world and a very effective T20 operator. His T20I career strike rate of 127 is acceptable, given that he plays predominantly on the seamer friendly pitches of New Zealand. His recent batting form has been great, highlighted by an average of 86 in 2016. Unlike many other New Zealand batsmen, he is very assured in defence and attack against spin, a skill that might be tested in Nagpur, Mohali and Kolkata, where New Zealand are playing one game each.
AB De Villiers – Some call him a ‘freak’, others call him a ‘bowler’s nightmare’. The best batsman in the world will look to live up to his potential on the biggest stage. He is one of the most loved sportsmen in India and will feel at home on grounds where he has played a lot of IPL cricket. His record in T20Is might not be as flattering as his ODI stats, but that won’t make him any less of a threat in the World T20. In his new role as an opener, he will consistently have the opportunity to notch up big hundreds, which he is almost certain to do if he bats the full 20 overs on good batting decks. He will relish the fact that South Africa are playing their first two games at Wankhede, where he scored 133* in the last IPL against Mumbai Indians and scored 119 off 61 in the recently concluded ODI series against India.
Jos Buttler – One of the most explosive wicketkeeper batsmen to play for England, Jos Buttler would like to prove to the world what a lot of cricket lovers in England already know. He is coming off a very good T20I series against South Africa, scoring 86 runs in two matches at a strike rate of close to 150. He hasn’t played a lot of cricket in India, but his experience of playing in the UAE and ability to use his feet against spin will serve him well in the World T20. England’s chances of reaching the semi-finals will be highly dependent upon his performance with the bat.
By Manish Tewani