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XI players who failed to live up to the hype at the World Twenty20
October 8, 2012
Features : Marauding McCullum, vicious Watson and other World T20 specials
Features : The team(s) of the tournament
Players/Officials: Hashim Amla | Jonny Bairstow | Gautam Gambhir | Brad Hogg | Kamran Akmal | Richard Levi | Albie Morkel | Kieron Pollard | Andre Russell | Shahid Afridi | Tim Southee | Umar Gul
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20
Having replaced Graeme Smith in the squad, largely on the basis of a remarkable 117 against New Zealand in February, Levi's lack of subtlety meant that, save for a facile 50 not out against Zimbabwe, he never threatened a repeat. Unable to rotate the strike effectively, Levi's default option - the hoick to the leg side - proved embarrassingly ineffective. His struggles almost exactly mirrored those of Craig Kieswetter - another big-hitting opener born in Johannesburg in 1987 who has played for Somerset this year.
With his team-mates, most notably Virender Sehwag, struggling somewhat, Gambhir was entrusted with the role of senior player. But he failed to deliver the runs expected of him, managing a meagre 80 in five innings, with a lack of foot movement exposed by opposition quicks.
After a magnificent tour of England, which included a Test triple-ton and top scoring in five consecutive limited-overs games, Amla was perhaps South Africa's biggest disappointment. The challenging wickets required players with techniques of the quality of Amla. Yet he seemed unable to recognise this, looking uncomfortable - and unnatural - attempting to improvise, only managing 39 runs in four games against top eight sides.
As during the ODI tour of India last winter, England's great batting hope proved incapable of settling against spin, seemingly unsure of whether his role was to hit out or rotate the strike. The result was ugly: indeed, given how Eoin Morgan later played, Bairstow's 29-ball 18 against West Indies appeared a match-losing innings. Thanks to Kieswetter's struggles, Bairstow received a double promotion against Sri Lanka - moving up to No. 3 and taking the gloves - but on both accounts he disappointed.
After he blazed 92 not out in a warm-up victory over India, much was expected of Akmal this tournament. However, a tendency to get out to soft dismissals limited him to six boundaries in six innings - which made Pakistan over-reliant on their younger batsmen. And his keeping underwhelmed yet again.
While Pollard's 38 against Australia, including three consecutive sixes off Xavier Doherty, provided one of the enduring memories of the tournament, it could not disguise his disappointing performances elsewhere. He fell for two or fewer in three of six innings, largely unable to replicate his bullying of domestic bowlers.
This tournament was Afridi's Lehman Brothers moment: Boom Boom went bust. His batting descended to the extent that his two first-ball dismissals had a distinct feeling of inevitability. His bowling has been much more consistent over his career, but even that provided only limited consolation, with just three wickets claimed.
Considered one of West Indies' most dangerous short-format players, Russell was a virtual non-entity in the tournament. In six games, he managed just four overs - his hittable length bowling was dispatched for 55 - while his batting failed to sparkle either, with a golden duck in the final rather summing up his tournament.
While Gul's long handle earned Pakistan an extraordinary victory over South Africa, that could not disguise a tournament in which he completely failed to live up to his status as one of the world's finest death bowlers. Three wickets and an economy rate nudging 10 reflected that Gul was unable to locate his yorker with his customary devilish accuracy.
A harsh selection, maybe, given Southee's respectable tournament record - eight wickets at 18, albeit at an economy rate of eight. But he entered with a reputation as a specialist death bowler, only to twice bowl the Super Over for New Zealand in games they lost. And don't even mention that no-ball six.
Hogg bowled half-decently in Australia's semi-final mauling by West Indies, but after the hype surrounding his comeback, however, he would have envisaged claiming rather more than the two wickets* he took. His chinaman lacked its previous international effectiveness, and it is hard to imagine him playing for Australia again.
12th man: Albie Morkel
Much discussion from South African supporters centred on how to get Morkel into the side. While he seemed set to provide the late-innings power South Africa conspicuously lacked, in reality his displays with bat and ball were distinctly underwhelming. By the end of the tournament there was as much confusion about his role as at the start.
9 Oct, 2012, 11:58:17 GMT: The item on Brad Hogg originally said he took one wicket
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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