World T20: 5 Lessons Learned from 2016 Event

Alex Telfer@@troyspeerFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2016

World T20: 5 Lessons Learned from 2016 Event

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    While the dust is still settling on that final, the ICC's World Twenty20 tournament is about to go into a four-year hibernation until it resurfaces in Australia in 2020.

    However, while our memories are still fresh, what has become apparent over the course of the competition?

    Of course, we know who the ecstatic champions are. And we can suspect that poor old Ben Stokes is probably feeling, to put it politely, down in the dumps right now. 

    But what else?

    Here are five things, ranked loosely in ascending order of magnitude, that we have learned from the last few weeks of mouth-watering cricket.

5. A Captain Doesn't Actually Have to Participate

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    West Indian skipper Darren Sammy has evolved into a strange cricketer of late, and he took things to a new level in India.

    A typical Caribbean pace bowler who could, on his day, provide a few lusty blows down the order in his youth, Sammy's bowled less and less while becoming a specialist late-order finisher with the bat as the years have rolled by.

    At the World Cup, the 32-year-old hardly even did this! 

    In six games, he faced just 13 balls to score eight runs without a single boundary, and his three token overs of medium pace disappeared for 31 runs for the return of a single wicket.

    Of course, Sammy's contribution has, in fact, been immense but less easy to quantify in terms of cricket statistics.

    As well as calling the shots on the field, he has been an excellent spokesperson and, most importantly, a galvanising figure for the team's collection of egos and personalities.

    Whether we'll see such a non-participatory captain at such a high level of the sport again remains to be seen, but for now, Sammy deserves plenty of plaudits.

4. Afghanistan Are Here to Stay

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    Although they crashed out in the Super 10s stage, the tournament was a resounding success for the cricketing minnows of Afghanistan.

    After storming a strong group that contained Zimbabwe and Scotland to qualify with ease, the part-timers pushed England extremely close at Delhi.

    They then went one better to produce the shock of the tournament by defeating the eventual champions in West Indies.

    While Najibullah Zadran looks handy with the bat, Afghanistan's most impressive facet were their spin duo of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, who took 23 wickets between them and look capable of performing at a higher level.

    Let's hope the ICC gives them and the other Associate Nations more opportunities on the big stage over the next few years.

3. Kohli Confirms He's the Heir to Tendulkar

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    While many of Sachin Tendulkar's incredible feats and records may never be surpassed, the continued rise and rise of Virat Kohli is close to putting him in the Little Master's lofty league.

    Kohli had an incredible tournament, scoring 273 runs from five innings (the next highest Indian individual total was 89 runs from MS Dhoni) at an average of 136.50 and a stunning strike rate of 146.77.

    But it was the imperious nature of some of his innings, especially the 82 from 51 balls against Australia, that tested the commentators' stock of superlatives.

    What's more, Kohli was named as the captain of the ICC men's team of the tournament and also maintained his spot at the top of the ICC's T20 batting ratings

    Not bad eh?

    While Dhoni has ruled out retiring imminently, per BBC Sport, it seems only a matter of time before Kohli completes his takeover of India's teams across all formats to become the figurehead for years to come.

2. Former T20 Giants Need to Rebuild

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    Between them, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have made five appearances in the finals of the ICC World Twenty20 competition since its 2007 inception, with the former winning in 2009 and the latter lifting the cup in 2014.

    However, these two giants of cricket, especially the white-ball formats, had disastrous campaigns in India and both finished second from bottom of their respective groups.

    What's more, there doesn't appear to be too many rays of light for either in the near future.

    Sri Lanka are still struggling to rebuild from the loss of legends such as Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene and, while boasting some youthful prospects, often struggle for runs, especially away from home.

    While Pakistan, outside of fortress UAE, are notoriously inconsistent, and the post-World Cup fallout has already begun, with Shahid Afridi stepping down as captain and Waqar Younis, as reported by ESPN Cricinfo's Umar Farooq, resigning as coach.

    Any guesses how long it will be before these two cricket-mad nations are back competing at the business end of international tournaments?

1. Turns out the West Indies Do Have Brains

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    Yes, Mark Nicholas' pre-tournament article for ESPN Cricinfo, ill-advisedly describing the West Indies as being "short of brains," came back to haunt him emphatically with Darren Sammy's men beating England in electrifying fashion in the final.

    But for cricket fans in general, it's just good to see the men in maroon playing cohesively and at such a high level.

    The Windies test team has been a shadow of its former self over the past few years, with many of the Caribbean's star turns choosing to play on the lucrative T20 circuit instead.

    Furthermore, the West Indian Cricket Board often seems to struggle to attract positive propaganda.

    However, the performance of their men's and women's teams in India hopefully indicate a brighter future for this important cricketing nation.