Carnival Time - As the week unfolds, the biggest attraction in Gros Islet isn’t cricket, but the annual Jazz Festival. Anand Vasu profiles the 12 teams and their leaders who will rock the WT20.
India : MS Dhoni
Captain courageous, as he is known, showed how important he is to his team, whichever that may be, bringing home the IPL title for the Chennai Super Kings. With Sehwag missing, Gambhir slightly under the weather with fever, Yuvraj searching for form in the middle, Dhoni’s role becomes more important. He can control the pace of the innings and the match, from any position in the batting order, and will have to play his part for India to go all the way.
Squad: M Vijay, G Gambhir, Y Singh, S Raina, Y Pathan, D Karthik, R Jadeja, Z Khan, P Kumar, A Nehra, H Singh, P Chawla, V Kumar, R Sharma.
South Africa: G Smith
In a format where every ball is crucial and the total package of batting, bowling and fielding can be the difference between teams, South Africa are a formidable unit. Many of their players have IPL experience and Jacques Kallis was among the most consistent players for Royal Challengers. Smith is coming off an injury, but has been the man to bring inspiration and direction to the Proteas. All that's left is to get over the tendency to choke in big matches of ICC events.
Squad: J Kallis, L Bosman, J Botha, M Boucher, de Villiers, JP Duminy, H Gibbs, R Kleinveldt, C Langeveldt, A Morkel, M Morkel, D Steyn, J Theron, R van der Merwe.
Australia: M Clarke
For a team whose grip on the 50-over World Cup has barely loosened in the last decade, and the Champions Trophy also now becoming their property, Australia have a surprising amount to prove in T20 cricket. Initially, they just did not take the format seriously enough, but now they want to show that they're true professionals. Clarke, warming up to the task of captaincy, has to make a name for himself as a leader before inheriting the job full-time from Ricky Ponting.
Squad: D Christian, B Haddin, N Hauritz, D Hussey, M Hussey, M Johnson, B Lee, D Nannes, T Paine, S Smith, S Tait, D Warner, S Watson, Cameron White.
Pakistan: S Afridi
The holders of the trophy, Pakistan have had a fairly routine year in international cricket --- no team has toured their country, a legend or two has retired, a few players have been banned and inconsistency is their hallmark. It's a cliché, but it's the unpredictability that makes this Pakistan team, led by Shahid Afridi, so dangerous. In small grounds, on slow tracks, they could tourniquet a few teams out of matches.
Squad: S Butt, M Hafeez, K Latif, M ul-Haq, F Alam, U Akmal, A Razzaq, A Rehman, H Azam, K Akmal, M Sami, M Asif, M Aamer, Saeed Ajmal.
England: P Collingwood
Eternally lagging behind in limited-overs cricket despite taking to the formats earlier than others, England have everything to gain. As the only major team never to have won an ICC tournament of any kind, Paul Collingwood's men have to show that they have mastered the T20 format. Most of their players have experience of the shortest version in domestic cricket, and a few have made their mark on the IPL. The time has come to go one step further.
Squad: J Anderson, R Bopara, T Bresnan, S Broad, C Kieswetter, M Lumb, E Morgan, K Pietersen, A Shahzad, R Sidebottom, G Swann, J Tredwell, L Wright, M Yardy.
New Zealand: D vettori
The perennial under-achievers in limited-overs cricket, especially ICC events, New Zealand have all it takes to go all the way, but somehow never do. Exciting young batsmen at the top of the order, brilliant fielders, bowlers who can mix the pace up and a captain who can do everything on a cricket field. Vettori has gone from being merely the premier left-arm spinner to someone who scores when runs are needed. Watch out for them, but keep the fingers crossed.
Squad: B McCullum, J Ryder, M Guptill, R Taylor, S Styris, A Redmond, J Oram, G Hopkins, R Nicol, N McCullum, K Mills, T Southee, S Bond, I Butler.
West Indies C Gayle
The islands have plenty to make up for, given their experience with hosting the 2007 World Cup, which was an unmitigated logistical disaster. The fans are passionate about the game and have stuck by the team even though the results have not been great in the last few years. With Kieron Pollard making waves in Twenty20 cricket, the challenge for skipper Chris Gayle is to channel the team's energies in the right direction at the right moments.
Squad: S Benn, D Bravo, S Chanderpaul, N Deonarine, A Fletcher, W Hinds, N Miller, K Pollard, D Ramdin, R Rampaul, K Roach, D Sammy, R Sarwan, J Taylor.
Zimbabwe P Utseya
Another team which struggles to match up in the longer versions but can prove annoyingly efficient in the shorter forms. Seamers who are not quick but do enough with the ball and spinners who land the ball in the right areas, make Zimbabwe tough to score off. They beat West Indies in an ODI not long ago and stunned Australia in a warm-up match here. Skipper Prosper Utseya leads the pack in stingy bowling and is unafraid to operate in power play.
Squad: A Blignaut, C C’bhabha, E C’gumbura, C Coventry, G Cremer, C Ervine, G Lamb, T Maruma, H Masakadza, C Mpofu, R Price, V Sibanda, T Taibu, B Taylor.
Ireland: W Porterfield
The strongest of the Associate nations, Ireland have come close to building a team that can perform
consistently against stronger nations. The challenge for them will be to adapt to the conditions — hot, humid and not much help for the fast bowlers. The conditions are far away from what they are used to back home, but the team has nothing to lose. Don’t forget they stunned Pakistan in a World Cup, at the same venue —
West Indies in 2007.
Squad: P Connell, A Cusack, G Dockrell, T Johnston, N Jones, G Kidd, J Mooney, K O’Brien, N O’Brien, B Rankin, P Stirling, A White, G Wilson.
Afghanistan: N Mangal
The rise and rise of Afghanistan has been the feel-good story for a few years running for the ICC now. The team has come together from the most troubled of situations in a war-torn country to earn their place in the sun. Their aim, to shock one of either India or South Africa, might be pushing things a bit far, but in their maiden appearance at a World Cup, no one is taking them lightly. Nowroz Mangal has already led his team to a win against Ireland.
Squad: M Nabi, K Sadiq, M Ashraf, R Ahmadzai, D Ahmadzai, M Shahzad, H Hassan, S Shinwari, N Ali, A Stanikzai, S Zadran, S Noori, S Nasrat, S Shafaq.
Sri Lanka: K Sangakkara
After his disastrous run as captain of Kings XI Punjab, Kumar Sangakkara will be happy to be back at the helm of his beloved Sri Lanka team. A tight unit that has tremendous intelligence in spin bowling, fields with purpose and self-belief and generally looks organised, the visiting islanders could be one of the dark horses of the tournament. If their batting can come up with the goods, and the fast bowlers work out a way to keep things tight, the battle is half won.
Squad: M Muralitharan, T Dilshan, M J’wardene, D C’imal, A Mathews, T Perera, N Kulasekera, S Randiv, A Mendis, L Malinga, C W’gedara, C K’gedara, S J’suriya, C J’singhe.
Bangladesh: S Ai-Hassan
Ever since they were ushered into the fold in international cricket, Bangladesh have been dangerous in the
shorter versions of the game. From stunning Australia in Sophia Gardens, to showing India the door in the World Cup in the West Indies in 2007, the Tigers have caused much heartburn to opponents when least expected. As one of the premier all-rounders in the world game, the captain Shakib al Hasan believes in leading from the front.
Squad: M Rahim, T Iqbal, I Kayes, M Ashraful, A Ahmed, Mahmudullah, N Islam, M Mortaza, A Razzak, S Islam, R Hossain, S Rasel, S Shuvo, J Islam.