Wisden’s writers look ahead to cricket in 2020 – a big year for the sport with two T20 World Cups, a new format with The Hundred, and much more.
There are legitimate calls for 2019 to be considered the most exciting year in the sport yet – well of course, with that World Cup final and those epics in Durban and Headingley – but 2020 promises to be just as thrilling.
There will be two separate T20 World Cups, the first edition of The Hundred, the World Test Championship getting on, and the steady diet of franchise T20 leagues … there is scope for plenty of action.
With that in mind, this is what some of Wisden’s writers are expecting from 2020:
2020 will be the year of …
Karunya Keshav: Australia – a resurgent men’s team, a dominant women’s team, and two big T20 tournaments at home.
Ben Gardner: Somerset. Despite being the outstanding Championship team of the decade, they are still yet to win their first title, forced to settle for second place five times in the 2010s. Vernon Philander’s arrival is surely the last piece of the puzzle.
Manoj Narayan: Batters. Two T20 World Cups, to go with the usual franchise T20 leagues, with The Hundred now being added to the mix. There will be a lot of big hitting.
Akshay Gopalakrishnan: Fast bowlers. From Newlands to Lord’s to Perth to Pune, the last two years have produced some seriously fast pitches. Expect 2020 to be about the Big Four – Cummins, Rabada, Bumrah and Ferguson.
Happy New Year to all our followers!
What a year 2019 was for cricket. pic.twitter.com/O0qtBaEu7l
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 1, 2020
Aadya Sharma: Steve Smith and Virat Kohli, competing neck-and-neck for the top honours, shattering batting records while doing so.
Sonali Dhulap: Associate cricket. People are finally taking notice of smaller, up and coming nations. Who would have thought Thailand and PNG would qualify for a world event?
Rupin Kale: Afghanistan. While it’s difficult to look past their 50-over World Cup debacle, Afghanistan remain a force to be reckoned with in the shortest format.
Garima Srivastava: Australia. Both their men’s and women’s teams are becoming dominant across all formats.
Roshan Gede: South Africa and West Indies; not in terms of dominance or winning results, but just the overall improvement in quality, especially with the Proteas getting some big names into the management.
Who will win the T20 World Cups?
KK: It’s impossible to look past Australia in the women’s competition. And perhaps even in the men’s at home.
MN: Australia to win the women’s event – it’s a no-brainer. The men’s event is a lot trickier, but have a sneaky feeling India will sort out their approach to T20s and Virat Kohli will finally have his first ICC trophy as captain.
BG: Australia in the women’s, and probably by the kind of distance that will cement them as one of the pre-eminent sports teams of the era. England and Australia may well contest both finals, but I’m backing Eoin Morgan’s men to go one better than Heather Knight’s women.
AG: Hard to look past Australia’s might in the women’s event – they are next to invincible at home. The men’s tournament figures to be a lot more competitive, but West Indies’ brutish six-hitting will take some outdoing.
AS: The Australia men have a knack for upping their game in time for big tournaments. Their women too, because of their all-round dominance.
SD: Is there any team even close to replicating the dominance of Australia women? Afraid not. I wouldn’t mind putting my money on West Indies for the men’s trophy.
RK: Has to be Australia at the women’s T20 World Cup. Kohli will claim his first ICC trophy as India’s skipper at the men’s event.
GS: The women’s World Cup? Definitely Australia. The men’s title … given the kind of team Virat Kohli has, he might lift his first ICC trophy as captain next year.
RG: Women? Australia, hands down. Among the men, India’s bowling unit and the solid top order gives them an edge over the rest.
This player will finally get their due this year
KK: KL Rahul. With plenty of limited-overs matches on the cards, he should be able to make the opener’s role his.
BG: Joe Denly. Though pundits have stopped suggesting every Test could, and sometimes should, be his last, he’s still being talked about as a stopgap first drop. One proper score in South Africa, something he’s more than capable of, should see him established as England’s first choice No.3 at least through the summer.
MN: Shreyas Iyer. A highly-rated batsman in domestic cricket, Iyer has been hanging around the fringes of the Indian side for a while now. That began changing towards the end of 2019, and the next year is set up for him to finally get his due.
AG: Chris Woakes. He continues to be seriously underutilised, but in a fluttering England side that has struggled to come back to the ground after the World Cup high, Woakes’ return, and possible establishment of a permanent spot in the England line-up, may be inevitable.
AS: Rishabh Pant might not suddenly turn out to be the match-winning superstar everyone expects him to be, but he will mature into an extremely valuable player no less.
“Cricket needs to do more against cases of sexual harassment. The #MeToo movement hit the BCCI in 2019 and the handling of the case by a three-member committee has left a lot of questions unanswered.”@Vegansportlover on what needs to change in 2020.https://t.co/a0pbATjqzE
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 1, 2020
SD: Neil Wagner. With the fiery duo of Tim Southee and Trent Boult in the team, he usually flies under the radar. But he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves, and he will be New Zealand’s most potent weapon in the World Test Championship.
RK: Colin de Grandhomme. He has gone under the radar throughout 2019, but stepped up when the team needed him the most. It was a breakthrough year for him as a bowler, expect him to build on it.
GS: KL Rahul. He’s had a year full of ups and downs, but his recent performance in the series against West Indies will give him much-needed confidence going into 2020.
RG: Nicholas Pooran. There’s a lot of flair in the way he bats, he can strike it well against both spin and pace, and it’s only a matter of time before he’ll be regarded as the one of the best middle-order batsman in limited-overs cricket.
Watch out for this U19 star …
KK: Shafali Verma. She’s only 15, but brings exciting ball-striking to an Indian side that desperately needs it in a T20 World Cup year.
MN: Yashasvi Jaiswal. He has already scored 779 runs in 13 List A games for Mumbai, including a double-century, against some of the best bowlers in India’s domestic circuit. It looks highly likely 2020 will be continuation of all that.
BG: Naseem Shah. Already looking the part at Test level, the news of his release from Pakistan’s Under-19 World Cup squad would have been music to the ears of number of young batsmen.
AG: Yashasvi Jaiswal’s rise has been meteoric. Jaiswal’s talents will be on the global map in 2020, first at the Under-19 World Cup in South Africa, and then in the IPL, if he’s able to crack the Rajasthan Royals XI.
AS: Shubhang Hegde. He’s got a lot of experience already, playing and succeeding in different levels of junior cricket. He’s got good control over his left-arm spin, is a handy bat, and seems to have matured way before his peers.
SD: Naseem Shah. Only 16, with barely any international exposure, the Pakistan senior and U19 sides are already fighting for him. Expect more.
RK: Naseem Shah. He’s already caught in a tug-of-war between Pakistan’s Test team and their U19 World Cup squad.
GS: Priyam Garg. He will be leading India at the Under-19 World Cup. In the last Ranji Trophy, he was Uttar Pradesh’s second-highest run-getter, with 814 runs at 67.83, including a career-best 208.
RG: Akash Singh. The Rajasthan quick possesses a genuine inswinger and a good yorker. His bowling action slightly resembles Trent Boult, he’s already been picked by Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, and India’s need for a quality left-arm quick makes Akash the man for the future.