T20 World Cup 2022: Wisden writers predict the winner, player of the tournament and breakout star
Wisden writers try and predict how the 2022 T20 World Cup will go, each choosing who they think will be the winning team, player of the tournament and breakout star this year.
The eighth edition of the T20 World Cup has begun with plenty of high-octane action already: given the form some of the teams are in, the tournament expected to be a tightly-contested affair. We got our writers to predict the outcome of the competition, asking them to pick the winners, a breakout star and a cricketer who could win the Player of the Tournament award.
Ben Gardner, Wisden.com managing editor
Yes, they are missing two of their best three seamers, and one of their best two batters. But England still have all the tools to go all the way. Jos Buttler is vying with Suryakumar Yadav for the title of ‘World’s best T20 batter’. Dawid Malan is in form and primed for the conditions. Mark Wood is the fastest bowler in the world on the pitches where that matters most. And Sam Curran’s improvement with the ball means England will have the batting depth to attack without fear.
Player of the Tournament: David Warner
There’s a heavy dose of #narrative influencing this pick. A final home world tournament for a legend of the game, with the building movement for a captaincy ban overturn also adding some intrigue. Warner will say he’s a leader anyway, no matter the title, and in grounds where hard running will be key, his ability as perhaps the best scamperer in the world will be key. Expect him to anchor Australia to the final, come up short against the old enemy in the showpiece clash, but take the individual prize again anyway.
Breakout star: Arshdeep Singh
In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, India’s success or failure may well be determined by the exploits of their newest death bowling sensation. And Arshdeep Singh, in his short international career so far, has shown he’s got everything needed to hold his mettle in the toughest moments.
Yas Rana, Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast host
There’s not much between the likely contenders but I’m expecting India to claim their first T20 World Cup since the IPL’s conception. They have an imposing batting lineup with players slotted in at positions that suit them. Virat Kohli is returning to somewhere near his best in T20 cricket, Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya can be brutal at the death while Suryakumar Yadav is surely the form T20 batter on the planet. The injury to Jasprit Bumrah is obviously a blow – he is in that very top category of T20 quicks alongside Shaheen Afridi. But I still back India to overcome his absence. Arshdeep Singh is a special talent with the ball and in Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel, their spin bowling options are up there with any other team in the competition.
Player of the Tournament: Jos Buttler
It’s a boring answer but it’s boring for a reason. There’s no T20 batter quite like Buttler. Destructive in the powerplay, relentless in the middle overs and brutal at the death – he’s the most complete T20 batter on the planet. If England go far in the tournament, which I expect they will, I’m sure Buttler will have had a standout tournament.
Breakout star: Arshdeep Singh
Only 23, Arshdeep has already demonstrated his pedigree as a supremely effective IPL operator, particularly at the death. In his brief T20I career he has shown that he is equally as lethal with the new ball. Without Bumrah, he will be India’s most dangerous quick. He’s tall and capable of touching 140mph – he’s the closest thing India have to Shaheen Afridi.
Abhishek Mukherjee, Wisden India head of content
England bat so deep that they left out Jason Roy, and did not pick him even when Jonny Bairstow was ruled out. That is because their batters, led by Jos Buttler in more ways than one, are among the most formidable, especially on true, fast pitches. The all-rounders provide them with enviable depth in both batting and bowling. Expect Mark Wood to undo top-orders with pace, Liam Livingstone to dominate the “biggest sixes” graphics, and Sam Curran to do Sam Curran things with bat and ball.
Player of the Tournament: Wanindu Hasaranga
Had the ICC rewarded the Player of the Tournament and not the Player of the Finalist Teams, Hasaranga – the leading wicket-taker, with quick runs to boot – should have won the award in 2021. Perhaps Sri Lanka will go further than last year. Or perhaps the organisers will, for once, reward a cricketer even if he is let down by his teammates. After all, they used to do that at the World Cup in the 1990s…
Breakout star: Suryakumar Yadav
If a 32-year-old qualifies as a “breakout star”, look no further than the man whose initials synchronise beautifully with the limits he has been setting for himself of late. Over a 1,000 T20I runs at a strike rate of 177. In this year, the strike rate is 184. True, he has not played in Australia, but he had not played in England either, and when he did, he slammed 171 runs at a rate of 201. The large venues are unlikely to deter a man who can pick up gaps at angles most batters are unlikely to even consider.
Aadya Sharma, Wisden India editor
I would have initially said Australia – they have a knack for stepping up when the shiny silverware’s around – but I managed to see their opening-game capitulation just in time. It’s now Pakistan for me, a team that has it all, but somehow misfires in the final few laps. It could all come together this time. Rizwan, Shaheen, Rauf, Babar, Naseem – there’s no dearth of match-winners in there, and I have a feeling they’ll all click in sync in Australia.
Player of the tournament: Haris Rauf
Give it to a bowler, please. It might be a long shot, but I am pinning my hopes on Haris Rauf. He’s rapid, he’s clever, he knows the Australian pitches well. And he has had a good 2022 already (23 wickets at 20.21). Probably the guy who helps materialise the prediction right above this one.
Breakout star: Finn Allen
It’s not just his assault against Australia; those following him for a while would know of the destruction he can cause. He’s so pleasing to watch, almost like a tall version of Brendon McCullum, probably a touch more graceful. His strike rate in T20s, since the start of 2021, is 174.06.
Katya Witney, Wisden.com staff writer
Since failing to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2021, India have had a phenomenal year in T20 cricket, especially with the bat. Their only T20I series defeat came in the Asia Cup in which their campaign was still notable for some brilliant individual performances. The emergence of Suryakumar Yadav on the international stage, along with Arshdeep Singh has given them an added layer of performance.
With Rohit as captain and strong signs that Virat Kohli is starting to regain some of the international form he’s been missing over the past few years, the signs are positive for a successful India campaign this year.
While there are weaknesses, particularly in their bowling attack with the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, this is a tournament where it is easy to pick holes in all of the front-runner sides. India’s strengths will be able to smooth over their weaknesses the best.
Player of the Tournament: Suryakumar Yadav
A strike rate of 184.56 (!) and the second-highest scoring T20I batter this year, it’s hard to argue against Yadav providing yet more explosions in this tournament. He’s integral to India’s chances of victory and, as the best power hitter in the world, his role in the tournament will be providing excitement for the fans as well as boosting India’s scoring rate in the middle overs.
Breakout star: Harry Brook
Only making his T20I debut this year, Brook has quickly made himself undroppable for England. Capable of both playing the anchor role and blasting boundaries all-round the wicket, England will need their new batting sensation to continue justifying his place in their big-name middle-order – something he is more than capable of doing.
Shashwat Kumar, Wisden India staff writer
One of the usual suspects. What sets England apart is how many match-winners they have in their squad. Their batting unit is stacked with exceptional ball-strikers and if their bowlers can hold their own, which they did during the recent series against Australia, they might just win the entire thing. Oh, and they have Alex Hales and Ben Stokes playing together, alongside arguably the best T20 batter in the world in Jos Buttler. Surely that must count for something, right?
Player of the Tournament: Ben Stokes
Alright, this might come as a bit of a shock to some, considering Ben Stokes’ place in England’s T20I side was being questioned not too long ago. But how can you write off this champion cricketer, especially at a World Cup? His last T20 World Cup contribution was that over to Carlos Brathwaite in the 2016 final. So, he has a score to settle. And given how he completed a redemption arc at the 2019 50-over World Cup, another herculean performance seems written in the stars.
Breakout star: Rilee Rossouw
This was a tough one, and I had to eventually choose between Arshdeep Singh, Sam Curran and Rossouw. In the end, the South African edged it, purely because he is expected to play more regularly than the others. He only returned to the South African fold in July 2022 but has not missed a beat since. With Temba Bavuma struggling for runs, Rossouw could find himself in the thick of the action often. His range of strokes seems a perfect fit for Australian conditions. Most importantly, he has to make up for lost time.
Sarah Waris, Wisden India staff writer
Australia are on the back foot after a poor start to the T20 World Cup but they have plenty of experience and firepower to turn it around. They are playing at home and have a very similar team to the squad that won the edition last year. The only change is the addition of Tim David, who can be the X-factor in the remaining games. They have arguably the strongest bowling attack in the competition, while the batting prowess begins from the very top.
Player of the Tournament: Jos Buttler
Buttler will be eager to lead from the front in his maiden ICC event as full-time captain. He seems to have found his form at the right time, scoring a couple of sixties against Australia, striking at 213 and 159, respectively. He was unstoppable in the IPL at the start of the year, and Buttler always seems to raise his game in crucial moments.
Breakout star: Tim David
The big-hitter has shown what he can do in franchise cricket, and now he has the opportunity to excel for Australia. The defending champions have backed David heavily, picking him only recently in the team, and he is expected to increase the fire-power in the middle order even more.
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