The likes of Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Lasith Malinga and Saeed Ajmal are the obvious names you would look out for at the World Twenty20 but behind the stars there are some talented players who could make a big impression on this tournament. Here, i have compiled a list of 15 cricketers that i think might do well.
Akila Dhananjaya (SL) - The young mystery spinner has virtually come from nowhere. A month ago, Dhananjaya was playing club cricket, 2 weeks later he had been selected in Sri Lanka's World T20 squad. He made his professional debut in the Sri Lanka Premier League and performed brilliantly, bamboozling many batsmen with his variations. This has led to him being fast-tracked into the national squad. Should Dhananjaya play in the World T20, he could form a formidable partnership with fellow mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis. Hardly any international batsmen have seen him yet alone faced him which is why he could be the surprise package of the tournament.
Ziaur Rahman (Ban) - Rahman is a big hitting all-rounder who on his day is a potential match winner. Despite not having the best of domestic records, Bangladesh took a punt on Rahman and the experiment couldn't have worked better. Batting at number 6, on debut against Ireland, Rahman smashed 40* off just 17 balls including 5 sixes to take Bangladesh up to a huge total of 190/5. The sub-contintental outfit have lacked a hitter down the order for a long time but in Ziaur Rahman, they may have just found what they are looking for.
Shaminda Eranga (SL) - Eranga will be competing with Nuwan Kulasekara for the seam bowling all-rounder spot in the XI and on current form should easily get the nod. Eranga recently took 2/30 on his Twenty20 international debut against India and then followed that up by putting in some superb performances in the SLPL. The 26 year old seamer has a magnificent bowling average of 14.22 in all T20 matches and will be part of a very strong Sri Lankan bowling line up.
Gulbodin Naib (Afg) - Gulbodin is a big hitting all-rounder who adds great value to the Afghanistan side. You might think that Afghanistan have no chance of beating England or India and you'll probably be right but they do have some quality players and Gulbodin is one of them. He hasn't set the world alight at international level yet but has hit some quickfire cameos. Gulbodin scored 17* off 8 in the final of the World T20 qualifiers and then smashed 22 off 17 balls, including 3 massive sixes, in an ODI against Australia. Playing for the Afghan Cheetahs in Pakistan's domestic T20 tournament, the all-rounder hit 68 off just 42 balls in one match. Big hitting at the end of the innings and seam bowling in the middle overs is why Gulbodin is a huge asset to the Afghan side.
Mitchell Starc (Aus) - Left armers are generally more successful in Twenty20 cricket and Starc is no exception. Bowling fast, full and straight is Starc's modus operandi and it has seen the Australian pick up a hatful of wickets in the Friends Life t20 in England. He ended up as leading wicket taker in the competition. Good with the new ball and excellent at the death makes Starc a tough proposition for the batsmen. 43 wickets in all T20 matches at an excellent average of 15.79 is why the quickie has to be feared and although being just 22, he'll be the leader of the attack and much will be expected of the young man.
Raza Hasan (Pak) - The 20 year old left arm spinner probably won't make Pakistan's final XI but with an exceptional domestic record like his, it will be difficult to leave him out. He looks like more of a containing bowler rather than a wicket taker but 39 wickets at 13.12 and 2/15 on his international debut suggests otherwise. Hasan's accurate spin seems hard enough to play and when you add in the fact that he can bowl the doosra, it means that batsmen aren't going to take him lightly. In most attacks he would be the attacking option but with bowlers like Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal in the side, Hasan will probably be just asked to tie up an end for the time being, that's if he plays.
Jade Dernbach (Eng) - Dernbach has all the variations you could ask for and if he gets it right then is one of the hardest bowlers in the world to face. At international level, Dernbach has shown glimpses of his talent but hasn't performed consistenly enough. His T20I record is good and includes a four-fer but everyone knows he is still very unpredictable. The seamer is gradually getting better by the game and his variety of slower balls will probably be more than useful on the Sri Lankan wickets. If he's on song then the batsmen better watch out.
Graeme Cremer (Zim) - If Zimbabwe are to get out of their group then it's Cremer who Zimbabwe will be heavily relying on. The leg-spinner was recently going great guns in the unofficial T20 tri-series which involved South African and Bangladesh. He started with 4/14 in a warm up match and then took 3/29, 1/30, 0/20 and 1/17 in the tri-series. Although Cremer's main role is with the ball, he scored 36* off 27 balls against South Africa to show that he is capable with the bat. Cremer also has a huge first class hundred to his name and should be a more than handy player for the Zimbabweans with his lower order batting and 4 overs of leg spin.
Dilshan Munaweera (SL) - An aggressive opener that made his name by blitzing 44* off 23 balls, with 5 sixes, in the SLPL final to see his tea - Uva Next - to victory. If he plays, the uncapped Munaweera could be an integral part of the Sri Lankan team. Apart from Tillakaratne Dilshan, the home side don't really have any six-hitters at the top of the order which is why Munaweera could come straight into the XI. A dangerous batsman who could tear an attack apart if he gets going. Bowlers need to see the back of him early otherwise he can cause some serious damage.
Nasir Jamshed (Pak) - Jamshed is an attacking top order batsman who is currently in the form of his life. Despite being an opener by trade, the left hander is likely to bat at 3 due to Pakistan having a luxury of openers. Jamshed has been outstanding in ODIs on his return to the side and will look to translate that form into Twenty20 cricket. In his 2nd T20I, he top scored with 45 which went a long way to Pakistan winning the match. A versatile player who Pakistan will back to score runs in any situation.
Karim Sadiq (Afg) - Sadiq is another big-hitting all-rounder from Afghanistan. He will open the batting and will attack from ball one. Sadiq has produced the goods before on the big stage - he has 2 ODI hundreds to his name as well as a quickfire 91 which he hit at the World T20 qualifiers. A powerful strokemaker and an economical bowler makes him a key player for the opposition to look out for. One of the more reliable performers in the Afghan team; he is arguably their most valuable player. Some of the players in the side are a bit raw and it will be players like Sadiq that will have to lead the way for the time being.
Glenn Maxwell (Aus) - Maxwell is one of the cleanest strikers of a cricket ball in the world as he has demonstrated on many occasions at domestic level. A player with immense talent who produced two wonder innings in the Friends Life t20 as his team Hampshire Royals won the tournament. He also bowls some off spin which isn't to be underestimated and could be useful in the sub continent. In his first ODI series for Australia, Maxwell guided his country to victory with an unbeaten 56 off 38 which included some extraordinary shots off one of the best bowlers in the world - Saeed Ajmal. The Aussie is one of the rising stars of world cricket and is a match winner in the true sense of the word. The opposition know that while Maxwell is at the crease, the match isn't won no matter how many is needed.
Samuel Badree (WI) - Badree is the most economical bowler in the history of Twenty20 by a mile. In 43 matches, the Trinidadian's economy is just 4.59. The parsimonious leg spinner will bowl with the new ball and will keep things extremely tight, not giving the batsmen any width to work with. He usually darts it in although on Sri Lankan pitches, he might look to give it a bit more flight in search for some turn. What ever he bowls, Badree is likely to be more than just a handful and it wouldn't be surprising if the batsmen just look to play him out as he is a very difficult bowler to attack.
Imran Nazir (Pak) - Nazir has had many chances at international level and never really established himself in the side. At 30 years of age and with some promising youngsters knocking on the door, this may be his last chance. Nazir has never scored more than 76 in T20s but his job isn't to go and score hundreds, his role is to smash a quick 30 off 20 balls to get the team off to a flyer. He has a phenomenal T20 strike rate of 157.42 and has hit over 100 sixes. Nazir is one of the most aggressive batsmen in the world and if he can replicate the performances he produced in the Bangladesh Premier League and the domestic T20 competition back in Pakistan then the bowlers might be in for a hiding.
Luke Wright (Eng) - Wright is having the year of his life and will want this exceptional form to continue into the World T20. From blasting the fastest hundred in the Australian Big Bash League to scoring back to back centuries in the English 40 over competition, where ever Wright has played he's been a success. Wright was part of England's triumph in 2010 but hasn't been a permanent fixture in the side since. His quickfire batting, electric fielding and useful seamers make him a great all-round cricketer to have in the side although it's his batting which is his main asset. He's has two 44 ball tons, a strike rate around 150 and 96 sixes to his name in all T20 cricket. England, without Kevin Pietersen, look weak at the top of the order, this is Wright's chance to really showcase his talent on the world stage.