The World Twenty20 gets underway in India on Tuesday, with the leading nations starting their campaigns the following week in the Super 10 stage.
Here, we take a look at six players who are expected to prove integral to the hopes of their respective countries:
Kohli enters the World T20 in formidable form: in 16 international innings in the sprint format since the start of 2014, he has scored 781 runs at an astonishing average of 86.77. The 27-year-old hit a career-best 90 not out in the first of three matches against Australia in January, before recording further half-centuries in Melbourne and Sydney as India completed a 3-0 whitewash. Kohli also impressed at the recent Asia Cup and was the top-scorer at the 2014 World T20 as India finished runners-up to Sri Lanka.
AB DE VILLIERS
Perhaps the ultimate limited-overs batsman, due to his capacity to score all around the ground, De Villiers holds the record for the fastest one-day international hundred and often proves devastating in the shortest form of the game. A spectacular 29-ball 71 against England in Johannesburg last month provided a reminder of his talent, not that one was needed, and De Villiers will be confident of impressing in sub-continental conditions, having played frequently in the Indian Premier League. The Proteas' Test and ODI captain will surely come to the fore if South Africa are to break their World T20 duck.
Despite being dropped from England's Test squad last year, with Jonny Bairstow taking over behind the stumps, Buttler has continued to excel in limited-overs cricket. The scorer of England's three fastest hundreds in ODIs, he comfortably surpassed his previous record with a stunning 46-ball century against Pakistan in Dubai last November. Another majestic ton followed against South Africa last month and Buttler appears primed to enhance his reputation in India.
Amir's name will forever be tied to the spot-fixing scandal that marred Pakistan's tour of England in 2010 and resulted in the left-arm paceman receiving a brief prison sentence and a five-year ban from international cricket. However, his talent with the ball cannot be questioned and he has wasted little time in reminding people of his potency since returning to Pakistan's team in January. Still only 23, Amir's best years are surely ahead of him and he will be eager to make the most of his second chance at the highest level.
Now 36 and not seen on the international stage for the past 12 months, Gayle remains arguably the most destructive batsman in a West Indies squad packed with powerful strikers of the ball. Comfortably the most prolific scorer in Twenty20 cricket, albeit largely due to his decision to prioritise the format in recent years with appearances in a variety of domestic competitions, the tall left-hander can clear the boundary almost at will and is another player with vast IPL experience.
One of several talented all-rounders at Australia's disposal, Maxwell is capable of making a significant impact in all three aspects of the game. His off-spin bowling can be expected to come in handy on Indian pitches and he also ranks among the better fielders in world cricket. However, it is with the bat that Maxwell is most likely to shine, given his capacity to pull off audacious, unorthodox strokes that make life a misery for opposition captains. He heads into the tournament in form, having clubbed a spectacular 43-ball 75 as Australia pulled off a thrilling pursuit of 205 against South Africa in Johannesburg on Sunday.