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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

Cricket

Stage is set for the game's big hitters
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 10, 2012
First Published: 23:43 IST(10/9/2012)
Last Updated: 01:45 IST(11/9/2012)

When one-day cricket began establishing itself in the early 1980s, naturally aggressive batsmen found the 50-over format a perfect fit while orthodox players began to rediscover themselves to stay in the race.

Still, the format was long enough to ensure those who were wedded to correct technique also stayed relevant.

The blistering pace required for the Twenty20 game, however, ensures that those batsmen who can cruise on top gear from the start are the ones who make a difference. The sole focus is to entertain.

It's time again for the world's big-hitters to show their stuff at the biggest stage of all - the ICC World T20 Cup.

From September 18, all eyes will be on the likes of Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag, Kieron Pollard, AB de Villiers and Shahid Afridi when they take the field in their national colours in Sri Lanka.

With dot balls considered a crime, there is no fear of being dismissed. There can be rare exceptions like Pakistan's Misbah-ul Haq attempting a scoop in his bid to seal victory in the final against India in the inaugural edition in 2007, only to look silly after it ended up as a simple catch to S Sreesanth at fine-leg.

That has not stopped the likes of Chris Gayle, whose prolonged battle with the West Indies board only turned out to be a boon for the Indian Premier League (IPL) organisers as every hit from his bat made him a bigger hit with the T20 fans. With the left-hander, it was stand and deliver and what mattered was how far the shot travelled, of course beyond the boundary.

There's a great debate over the legality of the switch-hit, where the batsman changes his stance to punish the delivery, but it's one of the most exciting strokes like David Warner showed on Monday with another daring execution.

Finishers are another breed in Twenty20 who get into the limelight less often as most of them bat lower down the order. Caribbean batsmen Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, India's MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina, and England's Jonathan Trott and skipper Stuart Broad are some of those who can finish off if the top order slips up.

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