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10 things we learned from the T20 World Cup 2016


ICC_T20_World_Cup_2016_India_WorldT20_cricketWhen the T20 World Cup was first played back in 2007, it was seen as a genuine breath of fresh air, and something that cricket really needed at the time after a pretty dire ICC World Cup in the West Indies.

The same could be said for the 2016 playing of the tournament. Amidst increasing frustration of the Big 3 Nations wrestling more and more power (and profits) towards themselves, this platform allowed the other nations to have a good at the establishment so to speak.

The West Indies victory in the final will be spoken about for years to come, but here are 10 other things we learned from the tournament.

The only way ahead for cricket is to expand

As Al Gore would say, this is an ‘inconvenient truth’ and one that the BCCI/ICC need to realise and act upon. Nothing good will come from excluding teams from tournaments in future, and trying to make the game exclusive. There is so much love for the game across the globe, and such an incredible hunger from these ‘fringe teams’ to succeed. Afghanistan were again a beautiful example of this, and the inclusion of the women within the Cricket tournament showed how growth in another sense is also adding so much to the sport.

The West Indies is a cricketing super power again

I know what you are saying, a WT20 win doesn’t make you a world power in cricket. But it was more than a WT20 win, it was a WT20 for both men and women, plus there is the U19 World Cup title for the Windies. T20 is a big deal nowadays in cricket, so it’s not a terrible pile to be on top of. The women’s game is something on the rise, and naturally having strong youth talent is a substantial asset. The challenge now lies with administration and logistics. Can the Windies translate T20 success into ODI success? They have Australia and South Africa in a home tri-series in June, hopefully they can sort out all their issues by then, and select all their stars for the occasion to confirm this status.

Virat Kohli is amazing

There must be nothing more stressful than being an Indian superstar playing on Indian soil. Well there is, being an Indian superstar playing on Indian soil, when the rest of your team combined aren’t as good as you. Every time Kohli came out to bat this tournament he literally had the weight of a nation on him, but he looked like a guy without a care in the world. He will never be known as a master blaster, but he never has to be one. His stroke play is as intelligent as it is elegant, his desire as fierce as his competitiveness, and reading of the game means he is always a step ahead of the opposition, and the rest of the world’s batsmen.

T20 is a beautiful thing

It really is, and makes for a truly exciting spectacle. The IPL will sadly lead to T20 overload in the coming weeks, but this T20 World Cup showed us how the format continues to offer something special to cricket. We are seeing players doing incredible things in this format, teams achieving the impossible, and fans finding new enthusiasm for the game because of it. We are also seeing men and women playing on the same day at the same ground, something that is going to grow the game in all new ways.

Spin is king in limited overs cricket

T20 was never meant to be for the spinners, but they just keep coming out on top in this form of the game. Badree prevented any team from posting big totals against the West Indies, Santner and Sodhi enabled New Zealand to defend just about anything, and Tahir kept South Africa in matches even when the seamers couldn’t. Speaking of South Africa, when they eventually decided to play two spinners, their attack looked positively dominant. Sure, it’s easy for spinners to look good in India, but they have a huge role to play in limited over cricket, and can be used anywhere. Batsmen love the ball coming on, so captains in future will do well to use them more to take the pace off, as sometimes change of pace is just as important as rapid turn.

Cricket thankfully still has a soul

Sport continues to become more clinical and performance orientated. There seems to be no time for fun, no time for expression. Well this is not the case with the West Indies, a team that just does what they like. They had nobody to impress but each other and their fans, and played accordingly. This is why so many people love them, because they wish they could be more like them. Same can be said for a team like Afghanistan, a team without any big stars, but they are still a team that believes they can beat anyone on their day. And when they do, they are totally up for dancing with them too.

Shane Warne will never be out of the news

Long retired, and without bowling a ball in the tournament, Shane Warne still managed to attract a lot of attention in the final. Marlon Samuels called him out, using his magnificent performance with the bat to prove a point to the ex-Aussie great. It stemmed from an incident in the past, but Samuels made it current when referring to Warne’s face. Love him or hate him, you got to hand it to Warne. The guy will simply never go away.

Dhoni has no intentions of retiring

As an international journalist found out the hard way, MS Dhoni is going nowhere. And why should he when he believes he is still fit enough and good enough to be there? He also believes there is nobody better than him as a wicket-keeper batsman, so good luck to any player thinking his time is now, as for as long as MS can literally run a batsman out at the death, he ain’t going anywhere.

Yorkers are still golden

There was no Lasith Malinga in the tournament, but there were still some quality yorkers to be seen. They were more noted in their absence though as some teams just could find the all important length, and therefore could not restrict the opposition in pressure situation. This was cruelly observed with England in the final against the West Indies. Jordan had the ball on a string, Stokes couldn’t get the ball in the blockhole and 6-6-6-6 was the result at the end.

England really really don’t need KP anymore

It now really is just Piers Morgan who is saying England need KP. Despite losing in the final, England have shown how they have moved on from the KP era, moved on from the 2015 ICC World Cup disaster, and moved into a new era where talent is trumping reputation. But they might need to get rid of Morgan now, Root can lead this team, and do so by example.

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Ben Karpinski is a South African sports blogger/MC/tweeter with a heart so broken by the Proteas, t...

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