June 21, 2009

ICC World Twenty20

Unorthodoxy at the home of purists

Nishi Narayanan

Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the finalists for the World Twenty20, have between them four unorthodox spinners and two extraordinary fast bowlers in Ajantha Mendis, Muttiah Muralitharan, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Lasith Malinga and Umar Gul, writes Simon Wilde in the Sunday Times.

Afridi is the only one of the four who bats and if Pakistan win he might again be named player of the tournament, as he was in the inaugural event in 2007. His semi-final performance against South Africa was typically outrageous; the kiss he blew Jacques Kallis as he smashed him to all parts summed it up. I’m here to get under your skin, he was saying. He really is the cock of the walk. To stress the diversity of skills on parade, imagine the scene 25 days from now when the next big match takes place at Lord’s, the second Ashes Test. England will probably field an orthodox off-spinner in Graeme Swann and Australia may pick no spinner at all. This may be the last chance for a while to savour the truly exotic, unless Mendis signs for a county, as well he might.

The World Twenty20 has been fast, fun, furious and highly skilled, writes Steve James in his review of the tournament in the Sunday Telegraph.

Shot of the tournament

Didn't see anything new. Honestly. The Dilscoop, Starfish or whatever you want to call it? Eoin Morgan, among others, has played that before. Every second county player plays the 'Ramp' these days. All bloody dangerous, though. I liked Mahela Jayawardene's back of the bat reverse-sweep off Jacob Oram. Andrew Symonds did it once for Kent against Glamorgan at Maidstone. Classy.


Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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