The much waited 2021 World T20 is just around the corner as only less than a month is left for the mega event. Probably all teams that will be part of the competition have already announced their 15-member squads along with some potent reserves.
However, with the conditions possessing a large amount of dubiety especially for the nature of wickets, some teams have either stacked up pacers while others are excessively banking on the spin. Although the IPL will surely effectuate some wear and tear, maybe the away games in Oman shall revitalize the pitches of the main venues.
Eventually, it looks like though the spinners will play a key role, the bulk work will be still substantially done by the pacers. Hence in this list, let’s rank the pace attack of the top 8 teams playing in the mega event.
This time the Afghanistan squad has a cromulent blend of spinners and pacers in their World T20 squad. To helm their pace department, the selectors have recalled the two veteran spearheads (Dawlat and Shapoor Zadran) along with continuing to possess the young likes of Karim Janat and Naveen ul Haq. Although their overall success will remain in the hands of spinners, the pace crop looks just nothing but adequate.
To articulate further, though there is some healthy pace, the entire pace battery looks somewhat one-dimensional. Barring Shapoor Zadran’s height and bounce and Naveen ul Haq’s variations, the other two seamers seem to be identical. Also with regards to the comeback of two veterans, both Dawlat and Shapoor haven’t played much cricket in the entire year and might easily crumble. The presence of Karim Janat as an all-rounder means that Afghanistan might only use two primary pacers in their playing XI.
Possibly even by selecting Shapoor and Naveen as their two primary pacers, there will be a bit of variety, but at the death, none seems to be a maestro. Hence, only a correct proportion of spinners and all-rounders in the playing XI will certainly determine Afghanistan’s pace bowling strategy in the World T20 games.
7. West Indies
For West Indies, all of their veterans and T20 freelancers are back for the mega event. The overall bowling attack will be once again led by the champion DJ Bravo alongside marking the re-entry of Ravi Rampaul. Even Andre Russell’s pace bowling looks well intact as in the IPL he’s now regularly bowling for KKR. Also, the selectors have infused the raw speed of Oshane Thomas along with the variations of Obed McCoy.
While the WI’s death bowling seems to have got resolved, there isn’t any other hounding pacer to accompany Ravi Rampaul for bagging early wickets. As both the duo of Russell and Bravo will mainly bowl in the middle passage and at the death, Rampaul seems to be the only one who would be doing the bulk work in the power plays. Yes for the third seamer’s option, the side does have McCoy and Oshane Thomas but both of them aren’t much of the fitting options.
In Obed McCoy’s case, the left-handed pacer has majorly bowled in the middle passage of play merely because of the tricks and variations that possesses in his sleeves. Such kind of a role considerably overlaps with what both Bravo and Russell offer hence maybe he won’t start early in the playing XI. However, with regards to Oshane Thomas, the spearhead in his given days will either dismantle any batting order or will go for plenty.
Hence, overall by carrying a minor flaw, maybe the squad could have selected someone like Jason Holder ahead of either McCoy or Thomas. The former WI captain would have also handsomely contributed both with the bowl and ball. Also, with the spinner Hayden Walsh Jr’s bowling form being topsy-turvy, the veteran Bravo will have to take the additional responsibility in the middle overs.
As a land that always exhibits an eternal reservoir of pacers, even the T20 World Cup squad of Pakistan showcases a similar profusion and depth. In total, captain Babar Azam has a combination of five sturdy pacers wherein the duo Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali are the main chiefs. For the third seamer’s option, there’s the wicket striking abilities of Haris Rauf, the express pace of Mohammad Hasnain alongside the all-rounder’s option of Wasim Jr.
Wwhile the duo of Hasan Ali and Shaheen Afridi will be the essential cogs, the options for the third pacer somewhat looks to be a bit scanty and inexperienced. In recent times both Haris Rauf and Hasnain – the two main contenders have gone for plenty especially when the wickets become flat.
Although both are also naturally the wicket scalping bowlers, on a bad day they can become the weakest link of the side. Barring them, the only other option then becomes available in the services of Mohammad Wasim Jr that’s only just four T20Is old.
Not to forget that sometimes even Hasan Ali gets dismantled, especially at the death when the batters pick his variations and lengths. Hence, maybe an option of either Mohammad Amir or Wahab Riaz could further have elevated the pace battery of Pakistan in the World T20.
For England, Jofra Archer’s absence is a big loss as in the overall World T20 squad, there seems to be a superfluity of pacers. Apart from the single leg-spinner Adil Rashid, skipper Morgan’s side has six pacers. Especially to elongate their batting and to compensate Ben Stokes’s loss, it looks like both Sam Curran and Chris Woakes are added for the true all-rounder’s role.
However, in terms of the three frontline pacers that will eventually start are expected to be the two T20 specialists (Tymal Mills and Chris Jordan) alongside the express pace of Mark Wood. Collectively though bowlers like Jordan and Mills can have some off-days in totality, they will keep the bowling well intact especially at the death. But other bowlers like the extra pace of Wood or even David Willey and Sam Curran’s bowling can be easily wrecked if the wickets are belters.
Also, neither the trio has puzzling variations that eventually in general make them look a bit subservient. Even in Tymal Mills’s case though the pacer now looks like a very well-equipped bowler, he’s still an untested proposition in the T20Is. Overall, if Mark Wood’s extreme pace doesn’t receive a hammering then even his wicket-taking knack will very much strengthen the pace bowling department of England. Besides all this, if the wickets are genuinely slow and sluggish, then someone like Chris Woakes will easily come to the fore in the third seamer’s place.
4. South Africa
For South Africa, their pace bowling attack looks sorted, precisely because of the presence of three prominent bowlers. Despite the conditions being very suitable for the medium-pacers and bowlers with variations, someone like Andile Phehlukwayo hasn’t eventually found a place because of an extra spinner.
The likes of Rabada, Nortje and Lungi Ngidi will be the three premier spearheads for SA who will also sometimes enjoy Dwaine Pretorius’ presence at no 7. All four of them also can bowl in any situation and any passage of play. Though maybe Ngidi or Pretorius might sometimes excessively leak runs, both of them can be replaced by an extra spinner or by Bjorn Fortuin if the wickets are spin-friendly.
There’s also a backup of Wiaan Mulder, who can impressively bowl in the early overs as well can slot himself at no.7 (allrounder). However, even if one of their primary pacers gets injured still the side can instill the all-round services of Phehlukwayo. Hence, by possessing a formidable blend of left-arm orthodox and leg-spin alongside some sheer pace and variations, undoubtedly SA has covered all bases for the mega event.
3. New Zealand
For New Zealand, their pace battery in the World T20 is as good as it has ever been. Players like Tim Southee and Trent Boult have oodles of years-long experience in the shortest format alongside the brisk pace of Lockie Ferguson. The towering height of Kyle Jamieson further adds a variety to the pace attack and for the all-rounder’s role, both J Neesham and Daryl Mitchell can bowl some medium pace.
While both Boult and Ferguson can collectively helm the pressure of bowling crucial overs, someone like Tim Southee can often be easily taken for cleaners. Already in the T20Is, Southee does have an economy of above 8 and at times he has desperately struggled to contain runs. Even Kyle Jamieson who looks like a heavy scalper at the start has an economy of over 9 in T20Is. The tall bowling all-rounder can be easily whacked if the batters are on song.
Even some cricket purists now also think that Boult’s bowling isn’t anymore much effective at the death as especially for MI in IPL 2021 he has malfunctioned to finish games. Overall, it looks like Ferguson’s gun pace will eventually be the key for NZ during the crunch stages of the game.
By selecting four frontline spinners and only three proper pacers, the Indian selectors have surprised everyone. With an assumption of the conditions also being slow and spinner friendly, the equation now also immaculately exhibits that only two pacers will play the playing XI. And to be even more precise, it will be the duo of Bhuvi and Bumrah.
However, if someone like Mohammed Shami plays and the other pacer misses, the trio is collectively well equipped to handle any situation. Also, both skill-wise and situation-wise, the trio has all the tricks and variations which can seize any wins from the jaws of defeat. But on the other hand, the pace bowling option of Hardik Pandya can become the weak link because of the all-rounder barely being into the bowling groove.
Overall, maybe the remaining IPL games of MI can make the junior Pandya somewhat ready for the World T20 as precisely both for the Indian team and MI, his bowling role is very similar. Hence, if Hardik’s bowling before the mega event is hot to trot, then it will be the perfect cherry on the top for team India’s overall pace attack.
Yet again just like every ICC tournament, Australia not only have the best but also the most versatile pace bowling attack. To start, the trio of Pat Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood automatically pick themselves followed by another variety of backup bowlers as well as all-rounders.
With regards to their three pacers, though Pat Cummins will be the leader of the attack, even Starc and Hazlewood won’t be any less than him. All three of them can bowl in any circumstances but if Mitchell Starc hits his yorkers right then the pace battery looks much more thunderous. If the team management has to break this stereotype, then the fitting presence of Kane Richardson comes well in sync with the conditions. The 30-year old pacer has the best variations of the entire lot which in many ways will also be very tempting for the skipper.
Not to forget that the playing XI will also exhibit the bowling of Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis, who will be largely used for the fifth bowling option. Hence, with captain Finch already having a buffet of pacers to pick and select, it is certainly best to say that the Kangaroos yet again have the most supreme pace attack for the mega event.