Five and a half years after the iconic line "Carlos Brathwaite, remember the name" was delivered, England are among the favourites to banish the memories of their T20 World Cup heartbreak.

Ian Bishop delivered those famous words from an Eden Gardens commentary box after watching Brathwaite win the 2016 T20 World Cup for West Indies in dramatic fashion.

Needing 19 off the final over for the Windies to be crowned champions for a record second time in Kolkata, Brathwaite launched Ben Stokes for four huge sixes in as many balls to leave England shell-shocked.

It remains to be seen who will make a name for themselves in the 2021 showpiece, which could not be staged in Australia last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and was then moved from India to the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Stats Perform pick out the contenders and key players ahead of a cricketing extravaganza that will finally get under way when Oman face Papua New Guinea on Sunday.

 

Gayle force to put Wind in champions' sails?

It is 22 years since Chris Gayle made his Windies debut, so there will be no need for a "remember the name" if the left-handed opener cuts loose.

Powerhouse Gayle cut short his latest Indian Premier League spell with Punjab Kings due to bubble fatigue to ensure he would be fresh for the T20 World Cup.

Gayle is the highest run-scorer in T20 history with a staggering 14,276 from 440 innings at an average of 36.79, with 22 centuries and a strike rate of 145.71.

The 42-year-old self-proclaimed 'Universe Boss' has proved to be the man for a big occasion time and again and he could produce more fireworks as a talented Windies squad, which does not include Brathwaite, target a hat-trick.

 

England could be Living it up

England won the last major international white-ball tournament on home soil with a dramatic Super Over-defeat of New Zealand in an incredible 2019 World Cup final at Lord's.

Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer were key to that stunning victory, but they will both be absent as Eoin Morgan attempts to lead England to T20 glory.

Top of the rankings and with the number one T20 batsman in the world in the shape of Dawid Malan, they have every chance of lifting the trophy in Dubai on November 14.

Destructive all-rounder Liam Livingstone can play a huge part, while Tymal Mills will be one to watch over three years after the left-arm paceman's last international appearance.

Kohli desperate to end reign on a high note

Virat Kohli will step down as India captain after the tournament, although the prolific right-hander will continue to play for his country in the shortest format.

Kohli has not won a major ICC trophy as skipper, but this competition represents another huge opportunity to put that unwanted record right.

The highest scorer in international T20 cricket, Kohli could take the World Cup by storm and he will lead a squad packed with firepower both with bat and ball.

Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant are just a few of the other key men for India.

 

Australia to put on 'Big Show'?

Preparation for some of the Australia players has been anything but ideal, having faced a strict lockdown in their homeland.

Yet captain Aaron Finch says they will be ready to go when they face South Africa in their first match of the Super 12 stage on October 23 as he steps up his recovery from knee surgery.

David Warner has been out of sorts, but Finch has backed his fellow opener and Australia have no shortage of potential match-winners in their squad.

All-rounder Glenn Maxwell may need to live up to his 'Big Show' nickname if Australia are to lift the trophy.

Black Caps and Pakistan can mount a challenge, outside chance for Proteas

New Zealand celebrated winning the first World Test Championship final this year and they have the armoury for T20 success under the inspirational leadership of Kane Williamson.

Kyle Jamieson and Trent Boult can spearhead a strong attack, while Williamson consistently racks up the runs in all formats and Devon Conway can make his mark.

Much rests on the shoulders of skipper Babar Azam in Pakistan's pursuit of glory, while the likes of Quinton de Kock, Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada will be key for South Africa.

After a COVID-19 enforced postponement, the T20 World Cup will finally get underway on Sunday.

Initially scheduled to take place in Australia last year, and then India following the postponement, the competition will now take place in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

A first round featuring eight teams, including debutants Namibia and Papua New Guinea as well as 2014 champions Sri Lanka (who have reached three T20 World Cup finals, more than any other side), gets the tournament up and running, with four teams progressing into the Super 12 stage.

The West Indies are aiming to defend their title, having edged out England in the 2016 edition. Eoin Morgan's team, who have the world's top T20 batsman in their ranks, are sure to be one of the main challengers for the Windies' crown.

Virat Kohli's India are among the favourites, while Pakistan will be hoping captain Babar Azam delivers. Australia and New Zealand (the most economic side when it came to bowling in 2016) cannot be discounted either, with South Africa also improving in recent years.

It promises to be a thrilling tournament and, with the help of Opta, Stats Perform looks at some of the key data points heading into the tournament.

 

Gayle on the record trail

The Windies have won two of the last three T20 World Cups, triumphing in 2016 and 2012 either side of Sri Lanka's success, and they remain the only team to have won the tournament on multiple occasions. Key to their sustained success has been Chris Gayle, who at 42, is still the face of the sport in the Caribbean.

He is just 80 runs away from becoming the second player to score 1,000 runs at the T20 World Cup. In fact, he needs only 97 runs to surpass Mahela Jayawardene's record tally of 1,016. Gayle already holds one competition record, for the number of sixes (60), while he averages 40 across 26 innings at the tournament, with a brilliant strike rate of 146.7.

New Zealand great Brendon McCullum (123) is the only player to have a higher T20 World Cup score than Gayle's 117, and you would not bet against the Windies talisman claiming that record either.

Gayle will have able support from the likes of Kieron Pollard (1,378 T20 runs), Dwayne Bravo (1,229) and Lendl Simmons (1,508), not to mention Nicholas Pooran.

Despite batting in the middle order, Pooran hit the second-highest number of sixes in this year's Caribbean Premier League (25). He also has form in the middle east, having struck 350 runs at a rate of 170 in the most recent edition of the Indian Premier League.

 

Malan and Livingstone to lead England

The Windies' first opponents in the Super 12 phase will be England, who will be out for revenge. They had a batting strike rate of 148 in 2016, the best of any team, but still fell short. Yet while the West Indies are now ninth in the ICC's T20I rankings, Morgan's men sit top of the pile.

Dawid Malan is the star batsman. He is ranked number one in the world in T20Is, with a rating of 841, way clear of second-placed Babar (819). Over 30 innings, he has amassed 1,123 runs at an average of 43.2 and a strike rate of 139.3.

Morgan, not shy of a big innings himself, is also able to call on Liam Livingstone, who has made a fantastic start to his T20I career. 

From seven innings, Livingstone has hit 206 runs with a strike rate of 167.5. His high score of 103 is the joint-highest in England's squad, level with Malan (103 not out).

As was the case at the 2019 World Cup, England's batting depth is exceptional, though they are shorn of Ben Stokes, who always seems to deliver when it matters most.

 

Kohli's last shot

Not too far behind Malan in the ICC's T20I batsman rankings is India star Kohli, who is stepping down as the captain in the shortest format of the game following the World Cup.

Winners of the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, India have only reached one other final, back in 2014. Kohli was named player of the tournament, top-scoring with 319 runs, and as he prepares to bow out as captain, he will be determined to cap off his tenure on a high.

No player has made more half-centuries in the competition than the 32-year-old (level with Gayle on nine), though Kohli is yet to log a century.

Kohli's hopes may well rest on the shoulders of Rohit Sharma. The opener debuted with an unbeaten half-century back in 2007 and has made 111 T20I appearances, behind only Shoaib Malik (116) and Mohammed Hafeez (113).

Only Martin Guptill (147) has struck more sixes than Sharma (133) in the format, while over the last five years, India have won every time the batsman has scored 50+ runs.

 

Captain fantastic

Shahid Afridi has taken the most wickets of any player in T20 World Cup history (39). Indeed, Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan has taken the most wickets at the tournament of any player set to participate in this edition (30), which shows the void Pakistan are having to fill following Afridi's retirement.

They do, however, possess a supreme batsman in the form of captain Babar. 

Since his T20I bow in 2016, Babar has tallied up 2,204 runs. His average of 46.9 puts him third on the all-time T20I list (20+ innings), behind Kohli (52.7) and his fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan (48.4), who provides another string to Pakistan's bow.

Babar, who has only managed one century to date (122 from 59 balls against South Africa earlier this year) was the fastest player to 2,000 T20I runs (52 innings) beating Kohli's previous best of 56, and an enticing encounter between the sub-continental rivals takes place on October 24.

Sarfraz Ahmed, Haider Ali and Fakhar Zaman have been included in a revised Pakistan squad for the T20 World Cup.

The 34-year-old Sarfraz replaces Azam Khan for the upcoming tournament two years after he was sacked as captain.

Haider takes Mohammad Hasnain's spot, while fellow batter Fakhar comes into the 15-man squad at the expense of Khushdil Shah.

The selectors opted to tinker with the initial squad they named after keeping a close eye on performances in the National T20 Cup.

Sohaib Maqsood has retained his place after there were doubts over his participation due to a back injury.

The batter underwent an MRI scan this week but has been cleared to travel for the tournament in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Pakistan start their quest for T20 glory with a mouthwatering Group 2 clash against fierce rivals India at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on October 24.

 

Pakistan squad:

Babar Azam (captain) Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood.

West Indies bowling legend turned commentator Michael Holding has accused the England team of displaying ‘western arrogance’ following the decision to withdraw from the tour of Pakistan.

Last month, the England Cricket Board announced the decision to pull out of the tour of Pakistan, which was expected to include matches for both the men’s and women’s teams.  The decision came sharply on the back of the New Zealand’s team's choice to pull out of a similarly planned tour after citing security concerns.

The ECB cited a concern for "mental and physical well-being" as the primary reason for taking the decision particularly as the group had ‘already coped with a long period of operating in restricted Covid environments’.  Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chair Ramiz Raja accused the ECB of failing a fellow member of the cricket fraternity and Holding was also not convinced by the body’s reasons.

"The ECB statement doesn't wash with me," the always forthright Holding said. "No substance."

"Nobody wants to come forward and face up to anything because they know what they did was wrong,” he added.

"So they put out a statement and hid behind a statement. It just reminds me of the rubbish they did with Black Lives Matter.

"I won't go back into that because I've said enough about that. But what that signal sends to me, is the same Western arrogance.

"I will treat you how I feel like treating you, it doesn't matter what you think, I'll just do what I want."

 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed the men's and women's teams will not travel to Pakistan for scheduled tours in October. 

England had been due to play two warm-up matches ahead of the men's T20 World Cup, with the women's team also set to play a double-header in the shortest format, followed by three one-day fixtures. 

However, following New Zealand's decision to withdraw from a white-ball series in Pakistan due to security concerns, the ECB has announced the upcoming tours will not now take place as planned. 

A statement released on Monday explained that "the mental and physical well-being of our players and support staff" remained the governing body's highest priority. 

The statement read: "The ECB has a longstanding commitment to tour Pakistan as part of the Men's Future Tours Programme in 2022. 

"Earlier this year, we agreed to play two additional T20 World Cup warm-up games in Pakistan in October, adding a short women's tour with double headers alongside the men's games. 

"The ECB board convened this weekend to discuss these extra England women's and men's games in Pakistan and we can confirm that the board has reluctantly decided to withdraw both teams from the October trip. 

"There is the added complexity for our men's T20 squad. We believe that touring under these conditions will not be ideal preparation for the ICC men's T20 World Cup, where performing well remains a top priority for 2021. 

"We understand that this decision will be a significant disappointment to the PCB, who have worked tirelessly to host the return of international cricket in their country. Their support of English and Welsh cricket over the last two summers has been a huge demonstration of friendship. 

"We are sincerely sorry for the impact this will have on cricket in Pakistan and emphasise an ongoing commitment to our main touring plans there for 2022." 

Pakistan did not host international cricket for six years following the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009. 

Friday's decision by New Zealand Cricket to pull out of the ODI and T20I series just hours before the start of the opening match was met with disappointment from the Pakistan Cricket Board. 

PCB chairman Ramiz Raja used social media to convey his sorrow at England "failing a member of their cricket fraternity when it needed it most" following the latest development in the situation.

"Disappointed with England, pulling out of their commitment and failing a member of their cricket fraternity when it needed it most," he posted on Twitter.  

"Survive we will inshallah. A wake-up call for Pakistan team to become the best team in the world for teams to line up to play them without making excuses."

England could follow New Zealand in cancelling their cricket tour to Pakistan amid new security concerns about visiting the country.

The England men's and women's teams are due to face Pakistan next month, with Eoin Morgan's side set for a two-match T20I series starting on October 13.

However, New Zealand's series against Pakistan was called off on Friday amid growing worries over player safety, and England are now assessing the situation.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement: "We're aware of New Zealand's decision to pull out of the Pakistan tour due to a security alert.

"We are liaising with our security team who are on the ground in Pakistan to fully understand the situation.

"The ECB board will then decide in the next 24-48 hours whether our planned tour should proceed."

Friday's decision by New Zealand Cricket to pull the ODI and T20I series, hours before the first match was due to be played, was met with disappointment from the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam echoed the PCB's sentiments, indicating that he trusted the security services would have ensured it took place in safe conditions.

"Extremely disappointed on the abrupt postponement of the series, which could have brought the smiles back for millions of Pakistan cricket fans," Babar wrote on Twitter.

"I've full trust in the capabilities and credibility of our security agencies. They are our pride and always will be! Pakistan Zindabad!"

New Zealand have called off their cricket tour of Pakistan amid growing security concerns, on the day when the opening match was due to take place.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) stated its disappointment after New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced the team would be returning home.

Pakistan and the Black Caps were due to meet in three ODIs and five T20Is, with the first fixture set for Friday in Rawalpindi, but the entire tour has been called off.

Neither team left their hotel on Friday morning and spectators were not allowed to enter the stadium.

A statement from NZC declared the team had decided to withdraw from the tour "following an escalation in the New Zealand government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground".

NZC chief executive David White said: "I understand this will be a blow for the PCB, who have been wonderful hosts, but player safety is paramount and we believe this is the only responsible option."

The PCB did not agree with NZC's decision, however, insisting the Pakistan government had been in contact with New Zealand's government to appease any fears over the security and safety of the travelling party.

"Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series," a PCB statement read.

"Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured New Zealand Cricket of the same. The Pakistan prime minister [Imran Khan] spoke personally to the prime minister of New Zealand [Jacinda Ardern] and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team.

"The security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan government throughout their stay here.

"PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last-minute withdrawal."

Pakistan did not host Test matches from 2009 to 2019 after a terror attack on the touring Sri Lanka team, which left six players, two staff members and an umpire wounded, and eight others – six Pakistani police officers and two civilians – dead.

Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis have resigned from their roles a little over a month before the T20 World Cup begins.

The pair were appointed in September 2019 and were under contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for another year.

However, Misbah and Waqar informed the PCB of their decision to leave on Monday ahead of the upcoming three ODIs and five T20Is against New Zealand, with the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman also on the horizon.

Saqlain Mushtaq and Abdul Razzaq have joined the Pakistan management team as interim coaches for that New Zealand series, which begins on September 17.

Misbah's decision to step down was for family reasons amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the 47-year-old having recently spent time self-isolating in Jamaica after testing positive for COVID-19.

"The quarantine in Jamaica post the West Indies series provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the past 24 months as well as the schedule for international cricket ahead," Misbah said in a statement. 

"Considering that I would have had to continue to spend considerable time away from my family and that too in a bio-secure environment, I have decided to step down from the role.

"I understand that the timing may not be ideal but I don't think I am in the right frame of mind for the upcoming challenges and it makes sense for someone fresh to step in and take the side forward.

"The past 24 months have been thoroughly enjoyable and I want to thank my team and the management for their support. 

"I wish the Pakistan cricket team best of luck in the upcoming events and will continue to support them every time they will take the field to represent Pakistan."

Waqar's decision to step down was linked to Misbah's departure. 

"After Misbah shared with me his decision and future plans, it was a straightforward one for me to resign as we had walked into the roles together, had worked collectively as a pair and now also step down together," Waqar said.

"Working with the Pakistan bowlers, including the youngsters, has been most satisfying as they have now started to show progress. 

"Bio-secure environments in the past 16 months have had their impact, something we had never experienced during our playing days.

"The next eight months will be busy and exciting for the Pakistan team and, like in the past, I will continue to back and cheer them. 

"I want to thank each and every member of the Pakistan cricket team set-up as we stayed united in good and bad days, and hope there will be brighter days ahead."

The shock double exit came two hours after Pakistan had named their squad for the T20 World Cup, as well as the warm-up internationals against New Zealand and England.

Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah were among the surprise inclusions in the 15-man selection.

 

Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Asif Ali, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Azam Khan, Shadab Khan, Sohaib Maqsood, Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Rizwan, Khushdil Shah, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Wasim.

Misbah-ul-Haq will remain in the Caribbean when the Pakistan squad fly home on Wednesday after the head coach tested positive for coronavirus.

The former Pakistan batsman must quarantine for 10 days after he was the only member of the touring party to return a positive PCR test.

Misbah had been due to head home a day after Pakistan salvaged a 1-1 Test series draw with West Indies, winning by 109 runs at Sabina Park.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) statement said: "Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has tested positive and, as such, will not depart for Lahore with his side later today (Wednesday).

"Misbah, who is asymptomatic, will now undergo a 10-day quarantine, following which he will depart for Pakistan.

"Misbah was the only Pakistan squad member who failed two pre-departure PCR tests. All other members will leave Jamaica as per schedule later today.

"The PCB is constantly in touch with Cricket West Indies who have confirmed that Misbah will be shifted to another hotel for the 10-day quarantine with a medical specialist assigned to look after his health and wellbeing."

Pakistan's next assignment is a home ODI series against New Zealand next month.

Pakistan levelled their Test series against the West Indies as a Shaheen Afridi masterclass led them to a 109-run victory in Kingston on Tuesday.

Shaheen's career-best bowling figures of 6-51 helped put the balance firmly in Pakistan's favour heading into the final day, and he was on point again with another four wickets to round off the triumph.

The Windies needed 280 runs at the start of the day's play, with nine wickets remaining, but after meeting initial resistance, Shaheen struck to get the ball rolling.

He finished with figures of 4-43 for the innings, taking his match haul to 10 wickets.

Alzarri Joseph (17) was the first Windies batsman to fall, with Nkrumah Bonner and Roston Chase swiftly following suit, both to Hasan Ali (2-37).

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who scored 39 from 147 deliveries (and 250 minutes at the crease), was dismissed early in the afternoon session, leaving Pakistan on the verge of victory before tea, yet the Windies fought back again, with a rain delay then threatening to halt their procession.

Thankfully for the tourists, the inclement weather did not hold, and when they returned for the final session, it was Shaheen who offered the inspiration, drawing an edge from the impressive Kyle Mayers (32), with Jason Holder's subsequent dismissal on 47 leaving the Windies with little chance.

Shaheen finished things off, sending Kemar Roach and Joshua Da Silva packing in the space of two overs to ensure the series ended on level terms.

West Indies' wait goes on

In 2005, 2011 and now 2021, the Windies have taken the lead in a two-match home Test series against Pakistan, only for the tourists to hit them back on each occasion.

The Windies have now not beaten Pakistan in a Test series – home or away – since 2000.

Career-best bowling figures from Shaheen Afridi and brilliance from Mohammad Abbas put Pakistan in a strong position in the second Test against West Indies.

Shaheen's 6-51 helped the tourists to skittle their hosts for 150 after having declared at 302-9 in their first innings.

Pakistan followed up with 176-6 declared to seize control of the match, the Windies needing 280 on day five to avoid defeat.

Pakistan set up a strong day four when they tore through West Indies' middle order, taking four wickets for the loss of just 11 runs in Kingston on Monday.

Shaheen accounted for Kieran Powell (5) and Kraigg Brathwaite (4) early doors, with Roston Chase (10) and Alzarri Joseph (4) mustering just 14 between them.

Jermaine Blackwood's 33 steadied the ship until Abbas was unleashed, Nkrumah Bonner (37) and Kyle Mayers (0) falling to successive deliveries before Blackwood and Joshua Da Silva (6) followed.

With their opponents all out for 150, Pakistan built a strong second innings as Imran Butt (37) and Babar Azam (33) led the way before they declared at 176-6.

Powell and Brathwaite's stand of 34 got the West Indies' chase off to a promising start, but the former was run out after a somewhat lethargic attempt to get his bat down as they chased a third off an extra cover drive.

Still, after reaching 49 at stumps, the final day promises to be a riveting affair.

West Indies undone in torrid 10 minutes

A 60-run fifth-wicket partnership between Blackwood and Bonner kept Pakistan frustrated until Shaheen and Abbas produced some sensational bowling.

Their efforts mean Babar's men still have a chance of levelling the series.

 

Fawad Alam dragged Pakistan past 300 with his fifth Test century before their bowlers made early inroads against West Indies on the third day of the Second Test in Kingston.

There was no play on the second day of the second Test between West Indies and Pakistan, with the weather frustrating the sides after Friday's gripping action.

Repeated inspections of a wet outfield did not yield suitable conditions, as rain continued to fall throughout Saturday.

It meant Pakistan remained on 212-4, as they were at stumps the previous day having staged a recovery from a rocky start.

West Indies had the tourists on the ropes in Kingston when they were put in to bat and remarkably reduced to 2-3.

Yet a huge partnership between Fawad Alam and Babar Azam lasted for 298 balls and 158 runs and was only ended when the former retired hurt with cramps.

That stand brought Pakistan firmly back into contention, and they would have hoped to set a big total on day two, only for the rain to intervene.

West Indies won the first match of the two-Test series.

Half-centuries from Babar Azam and Fawad Alam wrested the early initiative from the West Indies and put Pakistan in a position of strength at the end of the first day of the second Betway Test at Sabina Park on Friday.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has hailed the contribution of allrounder and former captain Jason Holder as the team looks to secure its first Test series win over Pakistan in almost two decades.

Holder crafted a crucial second-innings knock of 58 and took 4 wickets as the team held on for a nail-biting one-wicket win to take the lead.

However, the top allrounder has also gained plenty of attention for his actions off the field, particularly for the mentorship shown to young fast-bowler Jayden Seales.  Seales was one of the highlights of the first match for the Windies after claiming an impressive five-wicket second innings haul.

“Obviously, Jason is the number one all-rounder in the world.  He is very crucial, and he has done a fantastic job, obviously with Jayden.  I see them having a lot of chats,” Brathwaite told members of the media via an online press conference on Thursday.

“All the guys are doing a good job, they all came together but obviously Jason is the number one all-rounder in the world so obviously he brings a lot of value.”

Brathwaite replaced Holder as captain of the team in February, following a successful tour of Bangladesh, the team has since drawn with Sri Lanka and lost to South Africa.

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