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The crowd will gather in jam packed stadiums to see their favourite superstars in action and be entertained by some good hitting from the batsmen. Pramod Ananth lists batsmen to watch out for in ICC World T20 2016. The ICC World T20 2016 underway and it is one of the much cricketing events of the year. The tournament will take place in India this time amidst much fanfare. Being the hosts India will start as favourites, especially after dominating in the shortest format over the last couple of months. There are other contenders like South Africa and Australia as well. READ: ICC T20 World Cup 2016: Cricketers who may retire after World T20

1. Chris Gayle (West Indies): Gayle is easily one of the most destructive batsmen in the world. With a strike rate of well over 140 in T20 Internationals (T20I) Gayle’s wicket will be of great importance for any opposition. He hits the balls out of the park with ease and when in flow is a treat to watch. His destructive approach has earned him opportunities to play in T20 leagues all over the world.

2. AB de Villiers (South Africa): There is not a single format in which de Villiers has failed in and there also isn’t a single shot de Villiers cannot play on a cricket field. South Africa’s most versatile player, de Villiers can change the course of a match at a blink of an eye. Be it in international cricket or in the Indian Premier League (IPL) de Villiers on his day can destroy any bowling attack in the world. De Villiers is most likely to bat at No.4 for South Africa in the World Cup but he has also opened for them in the recent past. He can also keep wickets, if needed, which gives room for another player in the playing XI. READ: Dear AB de Villiers, why do you need an improvement?

3. Virat Kohli (India): Kohli has been in tremendous form in T20Is this year and he will be India’s key player even in this tournament. Kohli tore the Australian bowlers apart Down Under and followed it up with a superb show in the Asia Cup T20 2016 as well. Kohli has struck four fifties out of his last seven innings going into the tournament, which makes him an obvious threat. He thrives in stiff and tricky run chases and has a cool head under pressure. Kohli is India’s go to player under any circumstance.

4. Rohit Sharma (India): India’s excellent show in limited overs fixtures of late has been due to the consistency Rohit has shown opening the innings. He was excellent in the One-Day International (ODI) series against Australia and had performed well in the series to follow after that. Even in the Asia Cup, his knock of 83 in the opening match against Bangladesh in tricky conditions, helped India post a commendable score. Rohit is one of the most elegant batsmen in world cricket and can take the match away from anyone in a span of few deliveries. READ: Rohit Sharma, how can you call Mohammad Aamer just ‘a normal bowler’?

5. David Warner (Australia): Warner has found a new role in the Australian side, which is to bat in the middle-order instead of opening — a position in which he has played throughout his career. He has taken up the role really well and in his last three innings has scored 20, 77 and 33. With a strike rate in excess of 140, Warner can demoralise any bowling attack in the world. If he bats at No. 3 or No. 4 in the tournament, there will be no respite for the bowlers even if they manage to pick up an early wicket or two, knowing Warner will walk out to the crease.

6. Sabbir Rahman (Bangladesh): Sabbir looks like a batsman filled with confidence and a hunger to do well in the grandest stage. He scored a match-winning 54-ball 80 against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup T20, when his team needed it the most. Sabbir seems to have made the No.3 position his own and will be crucial in Bangladesh’s success in the tournament.

7. Sarfraz Ahmed (Pakistan): Tipped to take over captaincy from Shahid Afridi after the tournament, Sarfraz is certainly making the right noises with bat in hand as well. He had a good outing in the Asia Cup and was one of Pakistan’s bright stars to emerge out of the tournament. He showed great determination in the match against India, top-scoring with 25 in a total of 83. He followed it up with two brilliant innings against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Sarfraz can bat anywhere in the batting order and can be equally productive. Pakistan will have to utilise him efficiently.

8. Martin Guptill (New Zealand): Guptill has been in phenomenal form in the shortest format, having scored five fifties in his last six innings for New Zealand. He was brilliant in the home series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan and he will look to impose his authority over the bowlers in India as well. He seems to have struck a good partnership with Kane Williamson at the top of the innings, which is certainly beneficial for New Zealand. Guptill strikes at close to 130, which is just what New Zealand would want from him.

9. Jos Buttler (England): Buttler is an asset for England low down the order. He will be able to change England’s score from a par score to a match-winning one in quick time. With Joe Root and Eoin Morgan batting above him in the line-up, Buttler’s job will perhaps be to close the innings with few huge blows. But he is capable of playing the long innings and getting big scores on the board when needed as well.

10. Babar Hayat (Hong Kong): Hayat’s magnificent 60-ball 122 almost took Hong Kong to the cusp of victory against Oman in the Asia Cup, but wasn’t to be. Hayat’s biggest test will come in the World Cup, where he will come up against some of the best bowlers in the world. His first task however will be to help Hong Kong win the group, which consists of Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Scotland and make it to the Super 10s.

This article first appeared in Criclife

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)