The Sevens grounds in Dubai will host the fourth annual Emirates Airline Twenty20 on March 22. Four teams are taking part: the MCC, Sussex, Lancashire and an Emirates XI. Osman Samiuddin looks at five players to watch.
1 Rahul Dravid, MCC The biggest name in this year’s event, Dravid will be turning out for the MCC. He hardly needs an introduction, having brought the curtain down on one the of most glittering modern careers last year. He might not seem an ideal fit in Twenty20 cricket, but he hit three sixes in his only T20 game for India in 2011. He is a modern-day great.
2 Dale Benkenstein, MCC There was a time when Benkenstein was spoken of as a potential successor to Hansie Cronje as the South African captain. His career with South Africa (23 ODIs) never really showcased his batting virtues, but he went on to become a legend on domestic circuits at home and in England. He was one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year as recently as 2009.
3 Ed Joyce, Sussex It will not be a long journey for Joyce to get to The Sevens, given that he has been in the UAE representing Ireland for a while now. Joyce was good enough to play 17 ODIs for England over 10 months in 2006/07. And he was good enough to make his only ODI ton against Australia. He has since switched back to representing Ireland.
4 Rory Hamilton-Brown, Sussex It has been a tough year or so for Hamilton-Brown, especially since the death of friend and teammate Tom Maynard. It has pulled him back from where, once, he was almost certainly a future England player and a young, audacious choice as captain of Surrey. He has moved back to his original county Sussex now and when in form, he is a flowing batsman.
5 Joe Denly, MCC Denly is a gifted enough opening batsman to have played for England’s ODI side as recently as 2009. He did well enough without ever making the position his own and a prolonged slump in domestic form after that saw him slip out of international contention. He moved to Middlesex at the end of the 2011 season and has since recaptured some of his old form.