Nick Spearing picks out half a dozen up-and-coming stars with the potential to make a splash at the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
Adam Milne – New Zealand
Role: Right-arm fast bowler
The selection of Milne came as a surprise to some, with the paceman’s last appearance for the Kiwis coming more than 18 months ago. However, the raw youngster – who has been clocked at upwards of 93mph – brings a new element to the Black Caps’ rather one-paced attack, as demonstrated by an impressive display in the warm-up fixture against South Africa, which saw him take 2-26 in four overs.
He may prove expensive but the Kiwis are prepared to take that risk for the wicket threat this exciting youngster poses.
Last Word: “Adam Milne has impressed during his time with the winter development squad and his extra pace offers something a little different.” Kim Littlejohn, New Zealand national selector
Pat Cummins – Australia
Role: Right-arm fast bowler
Having appeared across all formats for Australia over the past year, Cummins is hardly an unknown quantity and with the ability to bowl in excess of 90mph, coupled with excellent changes of pace, he is a serious handful.
Cummins has shone particularly in Twenty20, topping the wicket-taking charts in his debut season in the Big Bash and taking 28 wickets in 16 domestic Twenty20s at an average of 16 in his fledging career. Combine that with an economy rate of just over six and it no wonder he is so highly rated.
If he can emulate his pre-tournament form, which included an explosive 3-15 against Pakistan, he could be one of the stars of the tournament.
Last Word: “Pat is obviously a very highly skilled young man. The pace and control he bowls with makes him a handful.” Shane Watson
Paul Stirling – Ireland
Role: Right-hand opening batsman; off-spin bowler
Having developed his game through Irish age-group cricket from as young as the under-13s, the big-hitting opener has already intimated that he plans to resist the lure of playing for England should the opportunity arise.
He is vastly experienced in the shortest form of the game, having made 50 domestic appearances and boasting an impressive strike rate of over 130 in the process.
On the surface things look sweet at the top level for Stirling, where he matches his domestic average of 27 in the international game. However, fine form against Associate nations has yet to transfer into runs at the World Twenty20 – in 2010, he failed to get off the mark in his two appearances and he scored just 17 runs in 2009.
He will be out to replicate his form from the 2012 Friends Life t20 campaign – where he scored 271 runs at a strike rate of 142.63 – and in the World Twenty20 qualifier final, in which he scored 79 in just 38 balls in a match-winning performance against Afghanistan.
Last Word: “He’s the most gifted Irish player I’ve ever seen.” Niall O’Brien
Paul Stirling hits out on his way to match-winning knock against Afghanistan
Hamid Hassan – Afghanistan
Role: Right-arm fast-medium bowler
Having missed eight months of cricket with an ankle injury, nobody knows quite how the paceman will fare in the World Twenty20. He is the most talented bowler in the Afghanistan set-up, combining pace with swing and deadly accuracy, and he is adept at bowling in the powerplay and at the death.
He had an impressive World Twenty20 in 2010, bowling particularly well against South Africa as he dismissed Kallis, Duminy and Boucher on his way to figures of 3-21 to restrict the Proteas to 139. This time around he will be looking to spring a surprise against England and India in Group A.
Last Word: “He is a bowler who is good enough to represent even a full nation in a developed team. He is a thinking bowler and has good control over swing.” Rashid Latif, former Afghanistan coach
Nasir Jamshed – Pakistan
Role: Left-hand opening batsman
The start of the Jamshed’s career has been eventful. After impressing in his first ODI appearances Jamshed was another Pakistani cricketer to be dragged into scandal in 2010 when he was arrested for cheating in a school exam after allegedly letting someone else answer questions for him.
Since then he has hit the headlines for the right reasons after successful campaigns in the Asia Cup and against Australia in the 50-over game and Pakistan have now decided to blood the young batsman in international Twenty20. He debuted in the recent three-match series against Australia, averaging 24, including a 36-ball 45.
He has a stand-and-deliver style that has seen him deployed in the powerplay overs in ODI cricket, with bludgeoned pull shots combined with classy drives finding him success in the early stages of his international career.
Last Word: “Nasir Jamshed has been a great addition. I think he has been outstanding and has improved a great deal.” Ramiz Raja, former Pakistan batsman