Five under the radar players to keep an eye on at 2016 ICC World Twenty20
Simon Sinclair | March 8, 2016
The sixth ICC World Twenty20 is underway with the preliminary groups in progress. Eight teams will battle it out for the final two places to join the big guns in the next stage.
Stars with bat, ball and gloves from around the world will be on display in India but, as often proven in major tournaments, the key men can be lurking in the shadows.
Coral cricket writers take a look at five players that could be unlikely heroes in guiding their sides to glory.
David Miller (South Africa)
Miller has been an integral part of the Proteas’ T20 side for a number of years, but has seen his role and contributions limited due to the presence of big-hitters in before him like AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla.
The 26-year-old has proven to be a quality player in the lower order, boasting an average of 30 and a strike rate of 130. Miller only has one half-century, however, in Twenty20 Internationals to date.
He has extensive experience playing in the Indian Premier League, though, with Kings XI Punjab, scoring one of the most impressive centuries in the history of the competition off just 38 deliveries.
As a result of his knowledge of conditions and big-hitting play, Miller rates as an outside shout at 12/1 to South Africa’s best batsman at the World T20.
Glenn Maxwell (Australia)
All-rounder Maxwell is a key figure for the Baggy Greens in the competition due to his talent.
The 27-year-old is a clean striker of the ball and enhanced his credentials at international level thanks to a record-breaking partnership with David Warner in his the Aussies’ recent win over South Africa.
Maxwell has four years IPL experience spent with three teams, including Kings XI Punjab, where he has notched two impressive scores of 95.
His most useful asset to Australia could well be his off-spin, although he has only taken 15 wickets in 29 Twenty20 Internationals.
Despite his modest record, favourable pitches in India could lead Maxwell to be a decent shout at 16/1 to get the most victims for the men from Down Under.
Sam Billings (England)
Wicketkeeper-batsman Billings has made a decent impact for the Three Lions during his first year at international level, with promising displays in a limited role against New Zealand and Pakistan.
The 24-year-old dropped out of the T20 line-up in the series with South Africa only to return for the final match where he disappointed in a batting collapse at The Wanderers.
However, Billings has the diverse skill set needed to thrive in the Subcontinent and proved so with a fine knock against Pakistan in Dubai, notching a crucial 53 runs in an England victory.
Runs down the order could be vital in the tournament and, should leading batsmen like Alex Hales and Joe Root fail to fire, then Billings’ odds of 33/1 to be top dog at the crease for Trevor Bayliss are worth a cheeky punt.
Sachithra Senanayake (Sri Lanka)
Senanyake hit the headlines for his controversial run-out of England’s Jos Buttler in 2014, but matters were made worse for the off-spinner when his bowling action was deemed illegal by the ICC and resulted in a ban from cricket until it was amended.
Since his return to the game, the 31-year-old has struggled to rediscover his form, although he managed to secure a place in the World Twenty20 holders’ 16-man squad.
With pitches sure to suit, Senanyake will be determined to take advantage and bounce back to his best form on the international scene, and he’s a 6/1 shot to be the Sri Lanka’s leading wicket taker.
Ravindra Jadeja (India)
Sticking with spinners, Jadeja has turned into a valuable option for World T20 hosts India in limited-overs cricket due to the accuracy of his left-arm deliveries.
The 27-year-old plays the secondary role behind Ravichandran Ashwin in the Subcontinent side’s attack, holding down an end while Ashwin searches for wickets.
Jadeja has the opportunity to seize the initiative in favourable conditions and boost India’s quest for glory on home soil.
Due to the quality possessed by seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Ashish Nehra in the attack, it may force opposing batsmen to lash out against Jadeja, which will lead to opportunities for him to strike.
At 9/2 to be India’s best with the ball, Jadeja could be a strong bet to lead the way for MS Dhoni’s men in their hunt for their second World Twenty20 title.