March 14 (Reuters) - The fifth edition of cricket’s World Twenty20, featuring 16 teams, will start in Bangladesh on Sunday. Following is a factbox on the bowlers to watch out for during the tournament:
Lasith Malinga, Sri Lanka
Malinga has now played international cricket for almost 10 years but batsmen still struggle to read the paceman with blond-tinted hair and a sling-shot action.
Malinga’s fast, unorthodox action, toe-crushing yorkers, slow bouncers and pinpoint accuracy make him one of modern day cricket’s most versatile bowlers.
The 30-year-old plays only the shorter formats these days and it is difficult to score briskly off him due to his subtle variations.
Mitchell Johnson, Australia
Johnson is nursing a toe infection and could miss the start of the tournament but, if fit, he is expected to spearhead Australia’s bowling attack.
The left-arm paceman will be tough to face even on the low and slow wickets in Bangladesh as he has the ability to generate express pace from the most docile of surfaces.
His accurate swinging deliveries with the new ball and his prowess of dishing out fast yorkers in the death overs make him a genuine match-winner in the 20-over format.
Umar Gul, Pakistan
The 29-year-old is a veteran of the Twenty20 format, having proved his utility time and again.
Gul was the highest wicket-taker in the inaugural edition of the 2007 event, when Pakistan finished as runner-up to India, and again in 2009 when his team won the title.
He has not been in prime form since returning from a long injury layoff but is still capable of generating disconcerting bounce and bowl yorkers at will in the closing stages.
Saeed Ajmal, Pakistan
Another key bowler in Pakistan’s World Twenty20 triumph, Ajmal, who was the joint second highest wicket-taker in 2009, will harass the batsmen with his bag of tricks.
The off-spinner, the best exponent of the other way turning ‘doosra’, is also the most successful bowler in the format. Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq will depend heavily on Ajmal’s knack of restricting the scoring rate and picking up wickets under pressure.
Along with Shahid Afridi, Ajmal quickly bowls through the middle overs to create extra pressure on the batsmen.
Sunil Narine, West Indies
The West Indian is the latest addition to the list of mystery spinners with his ability to turn the ball appreciably in both directions without any perceptible change in the bowling action.
Batsmen have found it extremely difficult to score against the off-spinner who enjoys an enviable economy rate of 5.85 in the batting-dominated format.
Narine’s miserly bowling puts extra pressure on the batsmen to score off the other bowlers and he is expected to be a key player during the defending champions’ campaign. (Compiled by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)