T20 World Cup to turn fantasy into reality once again

The countdown is very much on the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, with the best in the business when it comes to white-ball cricket preparing to chase down major silverware once again in Australia.

The hosts will have been defending champions for just 12 months by the time tournament rolls around, with memories still fresh of their comprehensive victory over neighbours New Zealand in Dubai from November 2021.

Home comforts will be sought by Aaron Finch’s side, but they currently sit at 10/3 behind 3/1 pre-tournament favourites India in the cricket betting odds. There is plenty of time for those standings to change, though, particularly when the competition begins in earnest. Expect Australia to feature heavily in the cricket tips as they will be tough to beat on their own patch. However, it certainly won’t be an easy feat with the level of competition for this year’s event.

Millions of spectators from around the world will be tuning in to get a glimpse of their favourite superstars in action, with many preparing to put their fandom to the test in a virtual gaming world. There are apps and console simulators aplenty to get stuck into before competitive action gets underway Down Under, with online action helping to whet the appetite before the real business starts on October 16.

Ahead of the first ball being bowled and a first six being sent sailing into the stands, armchair coaches across the globe will be able to piece together their own dream XI when fantasy games return to the fore in various guises.

The ICC runs its own official version and can be expected to lure in supporters from every corner of the planet as an extra dimension to the fun is added for those who are being forced to watch on from afar. Maybe even a few of those out in the middle will cobble together a star-studded side made up of talismanic performers from a league of nations.

Winning formula

When it comes to fantasy selections, balance is imperative – with it important to avoid leaning too heavily on bat or ball – and it comes as no surprise to find that all-rounders are among the most popular picks for those endeavouring to find the greatest value.

Shakib Al Hasan, Glenn Maxwell, Ravi Jadeja and Wanindu Hasaranga all sat inside the top 10 for most-selected players in the 2021 T20 World Cup, with Bangladesh’s star man making it into 38.83% of all the teams compiled in the official ICC game.

Big hitters such as KL Rahul, Babar Azam and Jason Roy also made the top 10, while Indian icon Jasprit Bumrah was the most popular fast bowler.

Pakistan batsman Azam proved to be a shrewd selection, as he plundered the most runs (303) at the tournament, but England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler boasted the highest average (89.66) and hit the only hundred.

When it came to the business of taking wickets, Sri Lanka star Hasaranga justified the faith shown in him as he finished with a tournament-high 16 victims to his name, while also being the only man to take a three-wicket haul in any individual contest.

Some of the familiar names mentioned above can be expected to figure prominently again when new fantasy teams are selected for 2022, with the race now on for ultimate glory on and off the field.