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ICC T20 World Cup: 5 most valuable players to watch out for this tournament

07:41 PM Oct 16, 2021 | FPJ Web Desk

The seventh edition of ICC Men's T20 World Cup starts with an Oman vs Papua New Guinea, Group B fixture in the qualifying round in Al Amerat, Oman on October 17 (Sunday), 2021. A total of 16 teams are competing in the tournament with 12 taking part in the second stage, the Super 12.

India will begin their ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in Dubai in a Super12 Group 2 stage clash on October 24th.

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As the battle for the most world's biggest T20 is set to begin, here is the list of most valuable players in each team to watch out for this tournament.

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Rohit Sharma: Rohit is likely to take over the reins as India’s T20I skipper after Kohli. One of the senior players in the team, the onus will be on him as well to score runs for his team. He already had a good time with the bat in the 2019 World Cup and would like to replicate his form in this ICC championship event.

He ended the IPL 2021 season with 381 runs from 13 games. The fans would love to see him on the pitch once again wearing a Team India jersey and coming out as an opener scoring high runs which can become decisive in India’s search for the title. The hitman has won 5 IPL titles for Mumbai Indians making him the most successful captain of the T20 league.

The second T20I against Bangladesh in Rajkot marked the 100th T20I appearance for Rohit, making him only the second man to reach the mark after Pakistan's Shoaib Malik. He remains one of the only three Indian players to have featured in each edition of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

There has been stiff competition in the run-making charts between India skipper Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit for quite some time now. For now, Rohit is leading the way with 2537 runs from 92 innings. His best run came in 2018 when he made 590 runs from 18 innings at an average of 36.88, including two unbeaten hundreds against England and the West indies

Rohit is the only player to have hit four T20I hundreds; Australia's Glenn Maxwell and New Zealand's Colin Munro having hit three each.

Rashid Khan: Considered by many to be the premier spinner in T20 cricket, Rashid Khan, would unsurprisingly be the primary pick in the T20 side

At the young age of 23, Rashid Khan has already achieved several feats in his career, across all three formats of the game. The batters still find it as hard as ever, to pick his clever variations, often leaving them bamboozled.

Despite his age, Rashid has already become somewhat of a veteran in T20 cricket, playing for a number of franchises around the world and impressing everywhere. He has already 281 matches, picking up a staggering 388 wickets at an average of 17.54 and a strike rate of 16.60. He has also been a handy batter, scoring 1288 runs along with being a terrific fielder.

At the international level, Rashid has scalped 95 wickets in only 51 matches at a spellbinding average of 12.63 with a strike rate of 12.10, with best bowling figures of 5/3.

He has been exceptional with his bowling in the T20 IPL tournaments as well. With 6.33, Rashid Khan has the best economy rate in the IPL overall. In the 2021 IPL played in UAE, Khan bagged 18 wickets in 14 matches. Over the years he has been one of the most sought-after players in franchise T20 leagues and with a wealth of experience.

In the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup in the UAE, Rashid will pose a major threat to the batters, especially with the conditions expected to be conducive to spin bowling.

Babar Azam: A right-hand, top-order batsman known for his discipline and level-headed attitude, Babar Azam laid claim to a long-term spot in Pakistan's batting line-up with a strong performance in 2016, making three consecutive ODI hundreds against West Indies in the UAE, and a 90 in his third Test, in Hamilton. He was 22 years old at the time.

He was the second-fastest player to 2000 ODI runs and the second quickest to 1000 T20I runs. He was appointed T20I and ODI captain in 2019 before eventually captaining the Test side since 2021.

Babar Azam is their team’s biggest star player in the tournament. It will be his second major tournament as captain after the World Test Championship. He recently secured the number one spot in the ICC ODI rankings and the number two spot in ICC T20I rankings.

Azam will be tasked with steering the ship for Pakistan in the upcoming World Cup. The 27-year-old is ranked second on the ICC T20I batsmen rankings and has amassed 20 half-centuries in the shortest format of the game. Azam recently became the fastest player to reach 7,000 career runs in T20 cricket, beating the likes of Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle to the milestone

The skipper will have plenty of pressure on him to perform - but there's no reason to believe he won't continue scoring runs and help Pakistan deep into the tournament.

Tabraiz Shamsi: The left-arm unorthodox spinner is still in many ways unknown to the world for his excellent performance. The South African cricketer is not a star player to say but his numbers make him reach out to the top. With 775 points, Shamshi is ranked number one T20 bowler in the world by the ICC as his figures speak for himself.

Known for his antique celebrations after taking wickets, he rose to prominence when he was bought by franchise St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean T20 League in 2015.

He took 11 wickets at 13.27 in the seven matches he played in the tournament. As the franchise cricket was in the growing stage, he got enough opportunities to showcase his skills and he caught the eyes of Bangalore for the Indian T20 League, 2016 as a replacement player for Samuel Badree.

After consistent performances in the various T20 leagues and domestic cricket, Shamsi got the chance to represent his national team. He finished as the leading spinner in South Africa's first-class competition in the 2015-16 summer, in which he took 41 wickets at 19.97 in Titans' title-run.

He might not be a household name for a lot of casual cricket fans - but Shamsi is currently the highest-ranked T20I bowler in the world.

The 31-year-old has risen to prominence in the past 12-18 months, closing in on the record for most wickets in a calendar year in 2021 with 28 and counting.

Shamsi is sure to break that record in the upcoming World Cup, and he will be an integral part of the Proteas' chances of going deep in the tournament.

Andre Russell: The West Indian all-rounder is one of the most powerful strikers of the cricket ball going around in the world at the moment and he can win games on his own. He can be a wicket-taking bowler for West Indies in the death as well as in the powerplay and he can finish games at the back end of the innings. Russell hits sixes for fun and he is expected to be the most valuable player of the tournament from West Indies

Devastating with the bat, deadly with the ball, and electric in the field, Russell has been a vital part of the highly successful West Indies T20 set-up. In his T20 career, Russell has played 382 games, scoring 6405 runs at a strike rate of 169.66.

He has also scalped 340 wickets with the best figure of 5/15. In the international arena, Russell has played 62 games, scoring 716 runs and scalping 36 wickets

West Indies will hope that he is fit and firing during the T20 World Cup, as they aim to clinch their third title.

Also Read: T20 World Cup 2021: Top 5 Indian players to watch out for

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