The countdown to the next edition of the World T20 has begun. Teams have already started identifying their best playing XIs ahead of the T20 mega-event that’s scheduled to be held in late October in India next year.
Keeping the sub-continental conditions in mind, most teams will be eager to identify their best bowling attack for the tournament. There are several parameters to chose from- fitness, availability, and form being a few of them.
But the more convenient approach revolves around identifying which bowlers can be the most efficient wicket-takers. There’s a clear sample space of statistics to rely on, so it becomes much easier to choose.
With that in mind, here’s an analysis on which bowler can be the leading wicket-taker for their respective country in the upcoming ICC World T20 2021.
1. India: Jasprit Bumrah
Hosts India will start with an obvious advantage of playing in home conditions, which will further buoy the quality of their star-studded bowling attack. There are several contenders to choose from as the team’s leading wicket-taker. But in the end, Jasprit Bumrah gets the nod ahead of the others owing to his consistency.
A mainstay in the Indian bowling line-up, ‘Boom-Boom’ Bumrah’s credentials in the shortest format paint quite a compelling picture as to why he’s one of the GOAT pacers of his time. In 49 matches, Bumrah has scalped 59-wickets at an economy of 6.67 runs per over. His knack of picking up key wickets at the death makes him the unrivalled strike bowler of the Indian team.
Bumrah’s well-rounded stats in international cricket are further backed up by his strong IPL record. The 27-year-old veteran MI pacer has claimed 109 wickets from 92 appearances.
India’s gripping and slower pitches align well with Boom-Boom’s yorker and slower-yorker oriented bowling style. Taking all these aforementioned factors into account, one can quite expect Bumrah to shoulder the bulk of India’s wicket-picking duties.
Other players to watch out for: Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar
2. Australia: Adam Zampa
Currently ranked fourth on ICC’s T20I roster, Australia leg-spinner Adam Zampa promises to be one of the players to watch out for in next year’s mega event.
The ‘Zampster’ has been a major cog in the Australian national team’s white-ball domination over the last year and a half. Across 36 games, the Melbourne Stars’ leggie has accounted for 39 wickets at an impressive economy of 6.60. His ability to provide breakthroughs at any stage of the game makes him an invaluable asset to Aaron Finch and Justin Langer’s scheme of things.
His exploits on Indian soil, while limited, have been quite effective. Most notably, he made an IPL record in 2016 when he single-handedly dismantled the Sunrisers Hyderabad with a spell of 4-0-19-6. Clearly, he will relish bowling on India’s spin-friendly tracks, and that makes him a hot favourite for the leading wicket-taker’s spot.
Other players to watch out for: Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins
3. Sri Lanka: Wanindu Hasaranga
Upcoming Sri Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga features as a sleeper pick on the list. The young, 23-year-old leg-spinner features ahead of some more established Lankan names thanks to the ‘mystery-spin’ aspect that he brings to the table.
The Galle-based leggie made his T20I debut last year and wasted no time in making an impact. In just his second series against Pakistan, Wanindu picked up 8 wickets from 3 games to claim the Man of the Series title. Overall, he has played 12 games so far and claimed 16 wickets at a remarkable average of 14.1.
Wanindu was at his peak best in the recently concluded Lanka Premier League. Playing for the Jaffna Stallions, he collected 17 wickets from 10 games and essayed a major role in the Stallions’ championship win. His ability to provide key breakthroughs, particularly during the latter stages of the innings, makes him an exciting prospect for the upcoming World Cup.
Other players to watch out for: Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep
4. South Africa: Kagiso Rabada
South African speedster Kagiso Rabada is regarded as one of the finest fast-bowling talents of this generation. Ever since making his debut, he has been a vital cog in the Proteas’ Test and ODI line-ups.
But his prowess in T20Is hasn’t been quite as much impressive, and that’s something he’d be eager to address in next year’s tournament. In the five years since his debut, Rabada has made only 26 appearances for the national team and collected 31 wickets. While his average (26.42) and strike rate (18.61) have been reasonably impressive, KG would be looking forward to increasing that sample space.
Rabada’s showing for Delhi in the IPL, though, is what truly earmarks him as one of the most hyped bowlers for the upcoming World Cup in India. In just 35 games, Rabada has scalped 61 victims at a mind-boggling strike-rate of 13.2. The 2020 season in the Emirates even saw him win the Purple Cap with 30 wickets; while the preceding 2019 edition in home featured 25.
It’s quite obvious that the 25-year-old quick enjoys bowling in the sub-continental conditions, so it’s quite reasonable to expect a top-ranked performance from KG.
Other players to watch out for: Tabraiz Shamsi, Andile Phehlukwayo
5. New Zealand: Trent Boult
Yet another proven customer from the IPL, Trent Boult’s fabulous bowling record on the subcontinental decks earmarks him as a bowling favourite for the T20 World Cup.
Boult hit the peak of his T20 form in the 2020 IPL earlier this year, where he finished as the third-highest wicket-taker (25) in the Mumbai Indians’ (MI) title-winning campaign.
In the international arena, Boult’s wicket tally reads 39 wickets from 27 matches at an average of 21.89. Admittedly, not out-and-out world-class stats for a player of his calibre- but then it’s a smaller sampler size compared to some of his other teammates.
MI made good use of Boult in the IPL as an attacking left-arm fast-bowling option in the powerplay. Should New Zealand be able to emulate a similar kind of strategy in the World T20, Boult is primed to finish as one of, if not the highest wicket-taker from the tournament.
Other players to watch out for: Tim Southee, Mitchell Santner
6. England: Adil Rashid
England’s sheer dominance in the white-ball format is a testament to the ample number of match-winners that they have produced in recent times. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid is one such match-winner and is a prime contender to be the leading wicket-taker in next year’s World T20.
A naturally attacking bowler, Rashid’s USP lies in bowling during the mid-stage of the innings. His fool-proof strategy of luring batsmen into playing big shots and deceiving them has made him one of the most dangerous bowling options in international cricket. Case in point: he’s currently ranked third on the ICC T20I rankings.
Across 52 international matches, Rashid has scalped 51 wickets at a strike-rate of 20.5. His economy returns (7.52) are quite impressive too.
But the one aspect that gives the Yorkshire leggie an extra edge over his competitors is his unpredictability. Rashid is one of those select players who hasn’t featured in the IPL yet. Thus, Rashid’s Indian experience- or lack, thereof- makes him a surprise pick for the T20 mega event.
Other players to watch out for: Jofra Archer, Tom Curran
7. West Indies: Dwayne Bravo
Over the years, the Indian Premier League has familiarized the country with a bunch of Caribbean superstars. While there is a certain ambiguity around the international tenure of some of these players, the ones who do feature in national colours are proven match match-winners.
Dwayne ‘DJ’ Bravo has been active in the Windies national team until as recently as March 2020. And even now, at 37 years of age, DJ Bravo has quite the skills to finish as the tourney’s leading bowler.
His experience for the Men in Maroon is second to none, spanning across 71 international games, where he has scalped 59 wickets. His average and economy of 27.11 and 8.34 respectively are quite impressive for a death-overs’ bowler.
But really, it’s his in-depth understanding of the Indian conditions which makes him such a potent wicket-taking option for the World Cup. Across 140 IPL games, the dextrous right-arm medium pacer has scalped 153 wickets at a strike rate of 17.72. He also boasts 2 Purple Caps in his collection.
Years of bowling on the sluggish Indian surfaces have armed DJ with a whole bunch of variations, thus, making him a top contender for the 2021 World T20’s leading wicket-taker title.
Other players to watch out for: Kesrick Williams, Sheldon Cottrell
8. Pakistan: Shaheen Shah Afridi
Shaheen, the 20-year-old pace-bowling prodigy from Khyber, has often been likened to the legendary Wasim Akram for his abilities. It will be quite interesting to see if the fiery left-arm-quick is able to live up to that reputation in the World Cup next year.
Purely from a statistical perspective, things do look quite promising for the baby-faced speedster. His international career, while still burgeoning, already boasts of 20 wickets from 16 games at 7.47 rpo. Across all T20s combined, Shaheen has scalped 90 wickets from 66 games at a strike rate of 16.3.
The skiddy left-arm-seamer has a knack for bowling speedy yorkers as per his will, which makes him a particularly dangerous threat in this format. The recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL) season saw him finish as the tournament’s best bowler with 17 scalps.
It’s going to be a tough challenge for Shaheen in his first sojourn in his arch-rivals’ home turf. Conversely, the lack of experience on Indian pitches lends him some unpredictability, making him a tough challenge for the opposing batsmen.
Other players to watch out for: Haris Rauf, Shadab Khan
9. Bangladesh: Mustafizur Rahman
From one dextrous left-arm-pacer to another- Bangladesh’s Mustafizur ‘Fizz’ Rahman slots in as our pick for the Tigers’ leading wicket-taker in the World T20.
The 25-year-old southpaw seamer debuted in the shortest format in 2015 and has been a mainstay in their lineup ever since. A veteran of 41 games, Fizz has claimed 58 wickets in T20Is at a remarkable strike rate of 15.5. The tally also includes a 5-fifer against New Zealand at the Eden Gardens in the 2016 WT20.
Besides his international experience, Mustafizur has also made sporadic IPL appearance for Mumbai and Hyderabad. In fact, the 2016 season with the Sunrisers yielded him 17 wickets, his maiden IPL title, and the Emerging Player of the Season award.
Clearly, Fizz has a penchant for delivering in India, which makes him a more appropriate pick ahead of some other talented names in the Bangladesh camp.
Other players to watch out for: Shakib Al Hasan, Al Amin Hossain
10. Afghanistan: Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan, the numero-uno T20I spinner in the world, conveniently picks himself as the Afghan contender for most wickets.
Franchises all across the globe dream of having a bowler as skilful and versatile as Rashid among their ranks. Unlike most spinners, Rashid isn’t limited to where and what he can bowl. Aged just 22, Rashid has already featured in over 200 T20 games (across franchises and the national team), and his wicket tally reads an astonishing 329! His exceptional economy (6.27), average (17.5), and strike rates (16.7) further bolster his reputation as one of the best modern-day cricketers.
Over on the Indian turf, Rashid has had an ample amount of experience playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL. Since his SRH debut in 2017, Rashid has claimed 75 wickets at a miserly economy rate of 6.25. Additionally, he has had some international experience playing on Afghanistan’s adopted ‘home-pitches’ of Greater Noida and Lucknow.
Interestingly, Rashid finished as the second-highest wicket-taker in the previous edition of the WT20 in 2016, which was also played in India. With considerably more experience and maturity this time around, it’s reasonable to expect that the Nangarhar-born leggie might just go the full distance in the 2021 edition.
Other players to watch out for: Mohammed Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- West Indies
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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