World T20 to IPL: Windies stars to watch out for

Five West Indian stars from the memorable World T20 triumph, who could grab eyeballs in IPL’s ninth edition.

Chris Gayle celebrates after West Indies won the ICC World T20 after defeating England in the final by four wickets.   -  K.R. Deepak

Carlos Brathwaite celebrates after dismissing Joe Root during the final.   -  Getty Images

Lendl Simmons smashed five sixes and seven fours in his match winning knock of 51-ball 82 against India in the semi-final.   -  Vivek Bendre

Andre Russell celebrates after semi-final victory over India. He scored 20-ball 43 and remained not out. He had a batting strike-rate of 215 in the match.   -  Reuters

Samuel Badree picked up nine wickets from six matches in World T20 at an economy rate of 5.39.   -  PTI

The West Indians rocked in the ICC World T20 with their exhilarating brand of cricket. A tournament, they won with a blaze of sixes. We take a look at five stars from that memorable triumph who could grab eyeballs in IPL’s ninth edition. It’s still a formidable group of players in the game’s shortest format. The sunshine boys from the Caribbean could waltz in the Indian summer.

The list, however, does not include Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine, two match-winners, who did not feature in World T20 2016.

Chris Gayle: Nobody hits them longer. When this brooding left-hander opens his shoulders, the ball disappears into the stands. With a staggering 230 sixes in the IPL, he is way ahead of the pack in clearing the ground. His brutal attack on the English bowling at Mumbai in World T20 during group stage showed the 36-year-old Jamaican still had the hunger. For Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gayle will be a formidable force at the top of the order, seriously denting bowlers’ figures and hurting them psychologically. His 3199 runs in 82 IPL games before the current edition have been made at a fear evoking average and strike-rate combo of 46.36 and 153.42. Nobody does it better.

Carlos Brathwaite: When he was bought for a whopping Rs. 4.2 crore by Delhi Daredevils at the IPL auction this year, many asked ‘Carlos who?’ Nobody would do so now after Brathwaite’s jaw-dropping trophy lifting ‘four-successive-sixes-act’ against a devastated England and Ben Stokes in the World T20 final at the Eden Gardens. Big, muscular and languid, Brathwaite is someone who can swing games with his ferocious hitting and lively medium pace bowling. A rather late developer in international cricket, the 27-year-old Barbadian is rapidly climbing the rungs after an uneventful start in 2011. Backing his astonishing power is Brathwaite’s temperament. He is calm under pressure, doesn’t allow situations to get the better of him. With the bat he picks his spots, with the ball he uses his height and delivers a ‘heavy ball’. This Brathwaite is real deal.

Lendl Simmons: The manner, in which Lendl Simmons shrugged away jet lag and mounted that stunning chase against India in the World T20 semi-final in Mumbai, reflected his belief and skill. It was not surprising that he comprehended the conditions at the Wankhede Stadium so well. After all, he has been key factor in the Mumbai Indians’ top-order over the years. With his bat-speed and timing, Simmons flashes the ball through the infield in the powerplay overs and can consolidate on starts. The rather small-made Simmons is light on his feet and heavy with his strokes. Importantly, he has a shrewd cricketing mind. Not a shining star, but influential nevertheless.

Andre Russell: The Jamaican began his sporting journey as a sprinter before turning his attention to cricket. And he brings that explosive energy and searing intensity into the game. His all-action, frenetic and athletic brand of cricket is of the game-changing variety for the Kolkata Knight Riders. The Indians bore the brunt of Russell’s bludgeoning willow at the death in the World T20 semi-final. This swashbuckler hits enormous sixes that often land on the stadium roof or travel beyond it. A dangerous floater in the order he forces bowlers to change game-plan, often with disastrous consequences for the opposition. Russell’s bustling fast medium bowling — he does have the knack of picking wickets with changes in pace and length — adds value to the team. And the lithe Russell can pluck sensational catches out of thin air. A powerhouse of a cricketer, he is.

Samuel Badree: Given his exploits during West Indies’ triumphant campaign in World T20, Badree is a steal for Royal Challengers Bangalore at Rs. 50 lakh. This wily 35-year-old Trinidadian has turned bowling leg-spin in the shortest form of the game into a fine art. He operates with the new ball, bowls wicket-to-wicket, cramps the batsmen for room and brings in subtle variations. Badree doesn’t turn his leg-spinners much but delivers a googly that just does enough to beat the bat, and picks wickets with his sliders and top-spinners. In short, he cuts down scoring options for the batsmen and then scalps them with judicious mix of deliveries. And he is adept at changing his line to the left-handers. Control is Badree’s strength. Courage too, for he is up against those big bats in the powerplay overs. Still, this spinner is invariably a winner.