The shortened 20 over format of cricket is on display at the International Cricket Council Twenty 20 Cricket World Cup tournament currently underway at various sites in the Caribbean. Matches began on April 30th, with twelve teams from all over the world chasing the title that currently belongs to defending champion Pakistan. But there is Muslim talent sprinkled throughout this yearâ€™s tournament.
The Pakistani team, unfortunately, enters this yearâ€™s tournament with a dark cloud over its head. A disastrous tour of Australia in February led not only to poor results on the pitch, but also to infighting that resulted in multiple suspensions and replacement of the team captain. But the dust appears to have finally settled, and the team, led by bowler Shahed Afridi, and batsman Salman Butt, is still one of the favorites to win this year.
Bangladesh, led by captain Shakib Al Hasan, is a team loaded with Muslim talent as well. Afghanistan is one of the Cinderella stories of the tournament. While they arenâ€™t expected to contend for the title, they have ascended despite minimal facilities and training to establish their place on the big stage.
Several Muslim players have risen to prominence on other teams as well. Yusuf Pathan and Zaheer Khan are major players on the Indian team. Hashim Amla plies his wares as a batsman for South Africa but fell just short of this yearâ€™s T20 team. And Ajmal Shahzad is a rising all-rounder on the British team.
So, as the wickets start falling, watch for Muslim cream to rise to the top of the cricket ranks at this yearâ€™s ICC T20 World Cup.