As the T20 World Cup arrives on our TV screens, these are some of the names you might not know much about who are ready to take the competition by storm.
By Chris De Silva|9:09pm Oct 16, 2021
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Gareth Delany (Ireland)
In a format where all-rounders are as a vital a commodity as any player, Ireland's Gareth Delany is as dangerous as they come.
The 24-year-old has firmly established himself as a T20 specialist and has thrived after an English county stint with Leicestershire.
"He hits the ball as clean as anyone that I've ever seen in an Irish jersey," veteran teammate Kevin O'Brien said of Delany.
"Being a young guy he's only going to get better. Plus he's a useful legspin bowler and a good fielder, so he's a three-in-one cricketer: that's something that we're crying out for, people who can do all three."
Delany averages just 23.25 with the bat in T20s but it his strike rate of 140.48 that highlights his true value. Couple that with a bowling average of 25 and you've got a handy cricketer.
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Richard Berrington (Scotland)
At 34 years of age, this year's T20 World Cup is certainly not Scotland vice-captain Richard Berrington's first rodeo.
The South African-born all-rounder has been a mainstay in Scotland's line-up over the years comes to the World Cup in fine form.
He is currently ranked third on the ICC's men's T20 all-rounder rankings, only behind Afghanistan's Mohammad Nabi and Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan.
All-rounders are especially valuable in the shortest format of the game and Berrington is relied upon heavily with both the bat and the ball.
The veteran boasts an impressive batting average of 32.27 and a strike rate of 128.12 while also averaging just 23.33 with the ball at a respectable economy rate of 7.56.
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Hazratullah Zazai (Afghanistan)
Hazratullah Zazai is one of the brightest stars in what's become a golden generation for the Afghanistan team.
While the 23-year-old opener is yet to make a Test appearance for his country, he has become a fearsome batsman in the shorter format.
The left-hander holds the second-highest score by an opener in an international men's T20 after slamming an unbeaten 162 off just 62 deliveries against Ireland in 2019.
That knock was hardly a one-off either as evidenced by Hazratullah's career strike rate of 155.31, which is only bettered by the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Evin Lewis and Andre Russell.
He comes into the T20 World Cup as the 10th ranked men's T20 batsman in the world.
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Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan)
Rashid Khan may have claimed all the headlines as Afghanistan's wonder-spinner, but his protege might be better.
At just 20 years of age, Mujeeb Ur Rahman has already amassed an incredible 150 Twenty20 appearances as a specialist in the shorter form of the game.
While his exploits are familiar in competitions around the world, he has only played in 19 T20s for Afghanistan.
The finger spinner already has 25 wickets in that time at an incredible average of 17.72 and a stunning economy rate of just 6.15.
Between Mujeeb and Rashid, Afghanistan have a pair of spinners that will make life difficult for even the best in the world.
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Mark Chapman (New Zealand)
Mark Chapman's path to the T20 World Cup actually began by playing for Hong Kong, his country of birth.
After making his debut for Hong Kong in 2014, Chapman was able to qualify for New Zealand through his father and made his debut for the Black Caps in early 2018.
The left-hander only has modest T20 numbers early on in his international career, but a look at his List A batting average of 51.08 at a strike rate of 97.75 tells you that he could explode very soon.
Chapman has amassed a significant amount of T20 experience in domestic leagues and boasts a batting average of 24.91 at a strike rate of 132.85 and a bowling average of 25.10 with an economy rate of 7.69.
Could this year's World T20 be the tournament where Chapman announces himself to the world?
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Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan)
Pakistan fans will be used to seeing the No.10 with 'AFRIDI' on the back running around at tournaments over the years, but the famous shirt now has a different owner.
Unlike it's previous owner, legendary all-rounder Shahid Afridi, Shaheen is a left arm opening bowler.
At just 21 years of age, Afridi has already established himself as one of the better bowlers in all three formats of the game, but could explode in a global tournament.
Afridi has been so prolific to start his career, he has earned comparisons to legendary Pakistani quick Wasim Akram having claimed 76 wickets in his first 19 Tests.
The left-arm quick has 32 wickets to his name in 30 T20 appearances for Pakistan at an economy rate of 8.17.
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Wiaan Mulder (South Africa)
South African cricket is undergoing a transition period after the retirement of some behemoths, and paceman Wiaan Mulder is one of the youngsters coming through.
The 23-year-old has already debuted for the Proteas in all three formats of the game and is ready to blossom.
After earning some early Jacques Kallis comparisons with his batting at the domestic level, Mulder has settled into more of a bowling all-rounder at the international level.
Having played just five T20s for South Africa, it's hard to read too much into his numbers, but his domestic stats tell a better tale.
He has averaged 25.75 with the bat at a strike rate of 127.47 and has 26 wickets at an average of 26.96 in 43 appearances.
For a country crying out for a new star man, Mulder might just fit the bill.
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Anrich Nortje (South Africa)
Anrich Nortje's meteoric rise to prominence has been highlighted by him being named Cricket South Africa's newcomer of the year and men's cricketer of the year in successive years.
With the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander retired, Nortje has risen to partner Kagiso Rabada as the Proteas' latest fearsome quick.
The right-arm paceman possesses a mean short delivery and regularly pushes the speed gun in excess of 150 km/h.
Having been described as "extremely exciting" by Steyn himself, Nortje has gotten significant T20 experience in the IP for the Delhi Capitals.
The 27-year-old will want to improve on his current international record of just nine wickets in 11 T20s at an average of 32.22.
What better time to do it than at the World Cup.
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Fabian Allen (West Indies)
The West Indies have never been shy to unearth a destructive all-rounder with the likes of Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and, remember the name, Carlos Brathwaite laying waste to attacks over the years.
Now, Fabian Allen has assumed some of that role.
"I think it's a natural West Indian thing," he says about the ability to clear fences. "You don't need to do nothing, just stand properly and get bat on ball. Yes, we practise our strengths. That's the major aspect of the game."
The 26-year-old's averages are modest, perhaps an indication of his lack of consistency, but his strike rates are frightening.
The right-hander boasts an international T20 strike rate of 138.88, which balloons out to 149.59 at the domestic level.
Allen is also handy with the ball, having taken 20 wickets in 28 matches at an average of 27.05.
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Evin Lewis (West Indies)
Teams are used to the West Indies having a fearsome left-hander at the top of the order in Twenty20s.
When that man is talented enough to send Chris Gayle to No.3 and beats Caribbean Premier League records set by the 'Universe Boss', you know he's the real deal.
That's exactly what Evin Lewis has done in recent years.
The 27-year-old is as destructive as they come in the shortest format of the game, evidenced by his phenomenal strike rate of 158.03 in 45 T20s for the Windies.
Lewis was insane in the 2021 CPL, pounding a league-record 38 sixes in 11 innings en-route to 426 runs.
Much like Gayle, Lewis has become a gun for hire in domestic T20 competitions all over the world, with a stint in the IPL with the Mumbai Indians.
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Tymal Mills (England)
Tymal Mills earned a recall to England's squad for the T20 World Cup after four-and-a-half years in the wilderness.
The 29-year-old's once-promising career has been threatened by injuries, but he could now be ready to set the international stage alight.
The left-armer isn't the tallest man in the world, but don't let that make you think he doesn't come with serious, serious pace.
Mills is one of the most explosive pacemen in English cricket and a proven T20 specialist all over the world, having played domestically in Australia, India and New Zealand as well as at home in the UK.
He has 156 domestic T20 wickets in 142 appearances with an impressive average of 24.23 and a strike rate of 7.77.
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Shamim Hossain (Bangladesh)
The young left-hander hasn't really had a full chance to stamp his mark on the international stage just yet, but the power is there to see.
The batting all-rounder has a healthy strike rate of 144 at T20 international level and 145.97 in other T20 competitions.
At just 21 years of age, his place in squad comes with a look to the future, but they'll be looking to him for some early contributions in the opening round, with Bangladesh needing to navigate some tricky ties in order to reach the Super 12.
He made his international debut earlier this year against Zimbabwe, after first appearing in the Dhaka Premier Division as a teenager in 2019.
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Afif Hossain (Bangladesh)
No relation to Shamim Hossain, Afif has been a mainstay in the team for several years now.
Also a left-handed batting all-rounder, Hossain has enjoyed easily his best year to date in 2021.
The 22-year-old has scored 260 runs in 14 innings at international level this year at an average of 23.93 - his best score of 49* coming against New Zealand.
When he was just 17 years old, he became the youngest to take a T20 five-for on debut while playing for the Rajshahi Kings in the Bangladesh Premier League.
His 5 for 21 against the Chittagong Vikings included the prize wicket of Chris Gayle.
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Mitchell Swepson (Australia)
The leg-spinner has enjoyed small amounts of success in the Australian national team over the past few years since his debut in 2018, and will be looking to make his mark in Qatar.
A permanent fixture for the Brisbane Heat over the past six years, Swepson comes into the World Cup with seven caps for Australia and best bowling figures of 3-12.
He has chipped in valuably for the Aussies in that time, taking 11 wickets at an average of 15.71.
Swepson also has one first class hat trick to his name, for Queensland in the 2019-20 Sheffield Shield against Victoria.
It's not clear how much game time he'll get as the third spinner behind behind Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar, but his inclusion in the squad is well-earned after a solid BBL career.
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Josh Inglis (Australia)
Inglis will be the back-up wicketkeeper behind Alex Carey, and is yet to represent Australia.
The 26-year-old debuted for the Perth Scorchers just after Christmas in 2017, and last year notched his maiden Sheffield Shield century, scoring 153* for WA against South Australia.
Inglis has spent considerable time in the English T20 Blast as well, and recorded his first T20 century in June, scoring an unbeaten 103 for Leicestershire.
A month later, he smashed a brilliant 118 not out from 61 balls against Worcestershire, hitting ten fours and eight sixes in a sparkling performance.
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Liam Livingstone (England)
The big-hitting Englishman has made the most of his recent run in the English team, plundering 206 runs in seven digs, with a strike rate of 167.47.
He averaged 43 in the T20 series against Sri Lanka earlier this year, and picked up a man of the match award in the second game.
A month later against Pakistan he celebrated his maiden international century in the format, scoring 103.
Given they are already without Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, eyebrows were raised when Livingstone was left out of the England squad for the Ashes.
In Qatar, he'll be looking to show the selectors what they missed out on.
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Ishan Kishan (India)
Kishan will serve as the backup glovesman to Rishabh Pant, having posted a half century in one of his three appearances for India in T20s so far.
The 23-year-old left hander was the Mumbai Indians' highest run scorer in the 2020 IPL and also hit the most sixes of any player.
His most recent appearance for Mumbai in this year's IPL was incredible, when he opened the batting against Sunrisers Hyderabad and posted 84 from just 32 balls.
The blistering knock included 11 fours and four sixes.
He was the captain of the Indian team at the 2016 under-19s World Cup, where they lost the final.
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Suryakumar Yadav (India)
One of the oldest players in this list, he's a delightful story - after making his IPL debut all the way back in 2012, Yadav's decade of patience was rewarded earlier this year.
The 31-year-old was called up to both the T20 and ODI squads for India earlier in 2021, and scored a half century in each format of the game this year.
In fact, his first ball faced in a T20 international against England was hit for six - a feat not many players can say they've acheieved.
Yadav's most-recent IPL performance was almost as good as Kishan's.
He actually came to the crease to replace the young gun, and smashed 82 from 40 balls en route to a staggering total of 235.
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Haider Ali (Pakistan)
Vice-captain of Pakistan's under-19 World Cup team last year, Ali has taken his chances at the highest level eagerly so far.
The 21-year-old was handed an emerging stars contract by the Pakistan Cricket Board in 2020, and that move has paid off so far.
The big right-hander made his debut for both the T20 and ODI international teams late last year, and has two half centuries so far in 14 T20 innings.
In March of 2020, he became the youngest player to score a half century in the Pakistan Super League.
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Devon Conway (New Zealand)
The past year has been a whirlwind for Conway, representing New Zealand in all three formats of the sport.
The South African-born left-hander moved to New Zealand to pursue a cricket career when he was 26, and just four years later has achieved a list of goals that most could only dream of.
His first T20 international was last November, and he has blasted 473 runs in just 11 innings so far.
He had a dream Test debut in June, becoming just the seventh man ever to score a double century in his maiden appearance.
Right now Conway has international averages of 63.16 in Test cricket, 75.00 in ODIs, and 59.12 in T20s. Absolutely staggering stuff.
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Wanindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka)
You may remember Hasaranga from a few years ago, when he became the youngest ever player to take a hat trick on debut in a One Day International back in 2017.
He found his way into the T20 setup two years later, and into the Test side on Boxing Day of last year as well.
A true all-rounder, Hasaranga has half centuries in both Test and ODI cricket, and a top score of 44 in T20 internationals.
His bowling is where he's really sparkled in T20 cricket, however - sporting a very tidy average of 15.47 with 557 balls bowled in that format for Sri Lanka.