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5 things we will see in 2016

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We are beginning a new year, and as a result it is vital that we all make baseless predictions on what will happen that will be used as an embarrassing stick with which to beat us. With that in mind, here are five things that will definitely happen in 2016. Maybe.

The Year of Amir

Almost regardless of how he plays, we will be talking about Mohammad Amir. The Pakistani pace-man has returned from a five year ban and a spell in prison and has lost none of his skill as a bowler. He is without question one of the best bowlers that Pakistan have available to them. If only it was that simple…

Many feel he should never return to the game, but that was not the punishment he was given. He has the backing of current T20 captain, Shahid Afridi, and the board are keen for him to be reintegrated. When he made his return for Pakistan against New Zealand, he did not explode but showed enormous promise. He has all of the skills he needs, and in a perverse way this long layoff while his body was still developing could actually extend his career. He will have a great 2016, on the field at least.

 

England_Ashes_Test_cricket_World_beater_best_teamEngland will win a second World T20

Outlandish, granted, but this current England side is properly exciting. They have a truly attacking batting line up, aggressive seam bowlers and Adil Rashid. The Yorkshire leggie has a chance at the World T20 to make a name for himself in a big way. Indian pitches will suit his bowling well and he can become a worldwide superstar. He is already bossing it at the Big Bash, sitting at the top of the wicket taking tables. A World T20 where he does well will see the IPL come calling. If Rashid does well, England are in with a great chance.

 

Chris Gayle_West Indies_cricketA return to T20 focus will help the West Indies

The plight of cricket in the West Indies has been the big story in the second half of 2015, and most of the first half too. While in Test cricket they are woeful, they remain a force in T20s. The reasons for their Test struggles are as much about economics as anything else – the best Australian Test players are earning several times what the West Indies players earn. The best West Indies players would have to make massive financial sacrifices to play Tests, and quite frankly, why should they do that?

Come the World T20 and its lead up, the West Indies will have Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle and Andre Russell. They will be a force to be reckoned with.

 

South_Africa_India_cricket_Test_battingSouth Africa will lose the Test number one spot

South Africa are struggling. They haven’t found a replacement for Graeme Smith. It is impossible to find a replacement for Jacques Kallis. When Dale Steyn calls it a day, the Proteas will yearn after him more than a lovelorn teenager in a long distance relationship. Amla’s captaincy was a massive worry; he seemed passive and short of ideas. Even with de Villiers taking over, the worries still haven't ceased. Australia are coming up fast on the inside and if this young England side plays to their potential, there is a real chance they can oust them.

The surprise candidate may well be India, who are now fantastic at home, but the real challenge for the Kohli led Test team will be to succeed outside Asia.

 

Misbah_ul_Haq_Pakistan_cricketMisbah will retire and it will make us all sad

Misbah-ul-Haq is approaching the end. The absence of a Test series against India made that denouement even closer. He has been an absolute rock for Pakistan. He took over in the wake of the Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif spot fixing nightmare, and the fact that he is still leading the side five years later, and that they are doing so well, is nothing short of miraculous.

He will be in England for a Test series this summer, and it will be interesting how he goes about leading the side. England has been the site of so many Pakistani meltdowns. There was spot fixing in 2010, a forfeited Test in 2006, ball tampering in 1992. Let’s hope Misbah is a steadying hand on the tiller in what could well be his last tour.



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