Apart from a few spectacular catches, the much-hyped India-Pakistan clash and the controversial ban handed to the Bangladeshi bowlers, the 2016 World T20 has been quite lacklustre to say the least. The whole aura about the World Cup is missing, and it is in no small part down to the superstars who are missing this year.
Be it England’s frontline bowlers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad or the West Indian duo of stylish batsman Darren Bravo and flashy opener Dwayne Smith, there are bigger names out there which overshadow them.
Here is list of the 11 big players who are missing from the 2016 World T20
The attacking opener was all set to be a part of a very strong-looking West Indian line-up going into the World Cup but was forced to withdraw his participation due to a back injury just a week before the tournament started. The 31-year old opener was replaced by uncapped youngster Evin Lewis, but he is yet to start a match for the Windies.
The entire cricketing fraternity is still deliberating on the fact as to why Brendon McCullum decided to retire just before the T20 World Cup. The former Kiwi skipper instilled a sense of fearlessness in the New Zealand side which even saw them reach the 2015 ICC World Cup finals. The raw aggression, the attacking style, the unpredictability and the explosiveness that Bazz brings at the start of the innings is unparalleled, and he is certainly one of the biggest names that this edition of the World Cup misses.
The class which Shaun Marsh brings to the Australian batting is unmatched by many, but having played 25 players in their six T20 matches in 2016, the Aussie selectors tried everything to get the perfect combination going into the World Cup. Marsh flaunts a great record on Indian pitches, yet he missed out on the travelling squad to India, and only time would tell if the Aussies picked the right combination for the assignment.
Kevin Pietersen and the English Cricket Board have a very topsy-turvy relationship which not many understand. With both parties washing their dirty laundry in public over the last few years, it is very difficult to even be optimistic of seeing Kevin Pietersen in the England jersey ever again. But at the end of the day, the biggest loser in this battle of the egos is the cricket fan.
Arguably, the most destructive T20 all-rounder in the world, Kieron Pollard missing the World Cup is one of the biggest setbacks to the West Indian campaign. A knee injury keeps the big man from Trinidad and Tobago out of the World Cup. Although West Indies have their fair share of all-rounders in the side, none comes close to the class of Kieron Pollard.
Team-mate David Wiese was picked ahead of South African all-rounder Albie Morkel for the World Cup. The left-arm batsman had played just one game for the African side since his return to the team as compared to David Wiese who played most of the games, and in that light, the decision appears pretty logical.
Arguably the best fast bowler in the world at the moment, Mitchell Starc is as big a miss for the World Cup as he is for Australia’s chances of winning it. With Mitchell Starc, the Aussies had an insurance policy at any stage of the match if things did go south. Starc’s pace and accuracy can rattle even the best of batmen in the death overs, and his ankle injury during the test series against New Zealand is surely a major setback for Australian side.
Just like his brother, Morne was tagged unlucky, both by the South African coach and captain Faf du Plessis. With the South African pace attack consisting of bowlers like Dale Steyn, Chris Morris, Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada, the chances of Morne Morkel making the team were slashed exponentially. With the team allowed just 15 players to pick from in the World Cup, Morne missed the cut, and his experience with the white ball will certainly be a missing factor in the South African attack.
With 299 T20 wickets, Lasith Malinga is undoubtedly the best T20 bowler that the world has ever seen. His death bowling is phenomenal, and his ability to bowl yorkers at will make him the deadliest pacer to face during the slog overs. Although Malinga did travel to India with the squad, his recurring knee injury forced Sri Lanka to eventually name Angelo Mathews as the new captain and to get in leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay as his replacement.
Over the years, the world has learnt that Pakistan cricket and controversy go hand-in-hand. Saeed Ajmal’s bowling ban from ICC is just one among the several storms that the Pakistan team has had to weather in recent years. One of the greatest spinners in T20 Cricket, Saeed Ajmal missing the World Cup depletes the quality of bowling, not just in the Pakistan attack but also in the overall exhibition of spin bowling at the turning tracks in India.
(Also read what happened in the New Zealand-Pakistan match today - match report )
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