ICC World Twenty20: Five bowlers to watch out for
In a batsman-dominated world of Twenty20 cricket, rooting for bowlers is like carrying a dead gun, which will never fire. In addition, ageing and unfit fast bowlers, suspended and opted out spinners are a plenty. However, luckily, cricket still got more than enough bowlers with potent firepower to make it an even contest between the bat and ball.
Here are five bowlers who are more than capable of winning matches single-handedly, and also dominate best of the batsmen.
Mohammad Amir: The 23-year-old from Pakistan is destiny's child when it comes to fast bowling. After serving a prolonged suspension from the sport for his involvement in child like delinquent spot-fixing, Mohammad Amir has made a triumphant comeback to international scene.
If his performance against India in their Asia Cup 2016 group match in Mirpur was of any relevance, then the left-arm bowler will be a threat to any team. His has been all talent and hunger; and inject some discipline, then he is unplayable. Probably, that's what we witnessed.
Now, he will be wiser and more experienced as a bowler. Brace for a rare sight of bowler terrorizing batsmen! And if a certain Virat Kohli was to be consulted, many batsmen would consider it a privilege to play quality fast bowling, which is a rarity these days. Cricket was on the losing side when such a bowler was languishing on the sidelines for five years.
Trent Boult: The New Zealand bowler is not express fast, but he can trouble batsmen with his pace and sheer consistency. That's what Trent Boult has been doing since making his debut in 2011, in a Test match against Australia. However, the 26-year-old could establish himself as a Twenty20 regular in the Kiwi ranks only this year.
Despite having played only 11 odd matches so far, the left-arm paceman will enter the March-April tournament as a bowler in revelation – capable of winning matches – thanks to a superior pedigree of pace bowling.
Here, it's imperative to have a look at his records in other two formats. In 39 Test matches, he has taken 147 wickets at an average of 29.14. In the One-Day International matches, his average is right up there amongst the greats – 22.96 in 32 matches. It's only a matter of time before he starts doing the same in T20Is, and the World Twenty20 is the best stage to start.
Josh Hazlewood: Will he or won't he? That's the question for Josh Hazlewood when it comes to Twenty20 cricket. He has made his presence felt in other two formats of the game. But he is still considered too precious a commodity to be exploited in the fast lanes of T20.
Hazlewood's inclusion in the Australian squad doesn't necessarily mean that he will play every match, but one thing is for sure – the 25-year-old will be a threat to opposing teams, whenever he gets to play.
For a bowler of his ability, it's little underwhelming to see the average runs conceded touching 9's, but his T20I experience is relatively raw, having played only four matches so far. More or less, Hazlewood has managed to impress everyone by taking wickets.
Ravichandran Ashwin: India are lucky to have found two young pace bowlers in Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah. And with the presence of old war horse in Ashish Nehra, the hosts can boast of a good pace attack. But what lies hidden during the pre-tournament series is Ravichandran Ashwin.
Of the many veterans, he is one bowler who is sure to succeed in India. The 29-year-old's all-round abilities, the mental fortitude, everything has been well documented. If India are to win the tournament, then Mahendra Singh Dhoni will rely heavily on Ashwin, and of course Ravindra Jadeja.
Ashwin has been the match winner for India. Expect him to toy opponent batsmen with crafty and beguile deliveries this summer.
Kagiso Rabada: The young South African fast bowler is well and truly on course for creating his own legacy. After making his international debut in November 2014, the 20-year-old has established himself as a mainstay of South African attack in all forms of the game.
In his 10 T20I matches so far, Rabada has shown both heart and purpose, taking on some of the best in the business. His bowling against MS Dhoni, who is considered the best finisher, at the death during their India series, was indeed a heartening sight.
He, along with Dale Steyn and Chris Morris, makes the Proteas pace attack one of the most dangerous in the world. It will not be a surprise if he emerges as one of the torch-bearers of future pace bowling.