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Slowly, the eyes of the sporting world are turning to the sub-continent, where India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be jointly hosting the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
For those lucky enough to be there, all the action will unfold in front of their eyes. But for the rest of the world, watching from afar, the best way to get behind the scenes and find out what’s really happening is via Twitter. Some of the teams at the World Cup have embraced micro-blogging wholeheartedly, while others have barely any presence at all on Twitter.
Memeburn has put together a comprehensive list of all the players, past and present, who are likely to have great insights and opinions about the action on the field.
Graeme Smith: Prolific, informative and a consummate pro, even on Twitter
AB De Villiers: Media-savvy, enthusiastic, talented and very popular with fans and players alike
JP Duminy: Master batsman, x-box fan, and rapidly growing a big Twitter following
Dale Steyn: The speedster opens a window into his life and relationships for all to see
Morne Morkel: Only 56 tweets so far but seems to be getting into it at the World Cup.
Wayne Parnell: Enthusiastic, stylish, full of team news. Worth following.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe: One of the new stars of the team, most tweets are personal replies to followers, but also gathering a lot of support.
Johan Botha: Shy, softly spoken, Christian, all around nice guy.
Francois Du Plessis: The youngster is bursting with excitement at being at the World Cup and it shows through his Twitter feed.
Herschelle Gibbs: Controversial, outspoken, talented and left out of the squad. Guaranteed to have thoughts on the games.
Home-town heroes, the pressure on the Indians is going to be intense. Twitter may act as a pressure valve that helps relieve some of the pressure, or it could serve to ramp up the spotlight even further for the cricket-loving fans.
The numbers tell an interesting story. When the South African stars have 10 000 followers on Twitter, some of the Indians have over 100 000 followers.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: 40 000 followers but hasn’t been active for over a year now. Needs to start tweeting for the big games.
Anil Kumble: The master spinner comes across as very humble and grounded on his Twitter account. Full of insights into Indian cricket and the personalities.
Sachin Tendulkar: The iconic batsman is practically a deity in India and has nearly a million followers. He hasn’t tweeted for a while but sure to get going again around World Cup
Virender Sehwag: Short, simple, heartfelt messages and pics about his life.
Zaheer Khan: Keeps friends and fans updated with his movements and fitness issues.
Virat Kohli: Short, sharp simple tweets – all about the cricket.
Rahul Dravid: Lots of love for Sachin and the Indian team on his Twitter feed.
Shanthakumaran Sreesanth : Check out his great bio – “spiritual, musically inclined, pianist, dancer, poet, tattoo-lover, god-loving, national cricketer and a very proud Indian”. Sounds like a genuine all-rounder
Gautam Gambhir – How do 17 tweets get you nearly 80 000 followers? Guess it helps to be a national cricket star.
Kevin Pietersen: Needs no introduction. KP is big, brash and known to shoot his mouth off. Perfect for Twitter.
Stuart Broad: Likeable and media-savvy player with a large presence on Twitter. If England do well, Stuart will be tweeting a happy tune.
Jimmy Anderson: Extremely popular, web-savvy, serving a Twitter audience of over 120 000.
Michael Vaughan: The former England captain waxes lyrical on cricket, golf, football, cooking…pretty much anything he can think of.
Graeme Swann: Great sense of humour, he barely even talks about cricket at all, yet still has over 140 000 Twitter fans.
Eion Morgan: Injured and likely to miss the World Cup, but Morgan is a key member of the team and gives great insight into the life he leads.
Simon Kerrigan: Tweeting his experiences of what it’s like in India during the World Cup
Barmy Army: Relatively tame tweets from the Barmy Army. Perhaps it’ll hot up when the action gets going.
Andrew Flintoff: A bona-fide celebrity now, Flintoff talks about his TV show and the famous people he’s interacting with. Cricket? Not so much.
Not a particularly strong showing on the Twitter front from the Aussies. Perhaps they’re saving all their energy for the games?
Michael Clarke: Nice and relaxed insight into his life and how he’s feeling as the cup gets closer.
Shane Warne: Larger than life, Warne lives the life of a global playboy. Expect anything to come out of his mouth when you follow him.
Damien Martyn: Ex-cricketer seems to be loving his retirement. Shares his thoughts on the state of the game.
Nathan Bracken: Just retired, sure to have lots to say about the progress of his former team-mates.
Jason Krezja: Still can’t quite believe he’s in India and about to play in the World Cup. Unusually small number of followers.
Cricket Australia: Now you can receive the official line from the Australian cricket board during the Cup.
Very small showing from the Pakistani team in the game of microblogging.
Shahid Afridi: The Pakistani captain keeps it quite general. Doesn’t like to discuss his personal life.
Imran Khan: Hasn’t tweeted since August, but his legacy hangs over Pakistani cricket, and is always one to watch.
Wasim Akram: Former captain who is right there on the ground and giving details about all the team’s preparation. Could end up being essential to follow.
Is that really it for the Pakistani team? Send us a comment if there are any others that we have left out.
Scott Styris: Easy going, enjoying the World Cup, and staying in touch with the folks back home.
Ross Taylor: Nice, simple account from Taylor about life on the road.
Tim Southee: A few days ago, he was the most popular Black Cap on Twitter. Now, after a string of accusations of lewd behaviour, Southee has suddenly left Twitter. We hope he’ll be back.
Official West Indies account: Ball-by-ball coverage of relevant matches.
Chris Gayle: Nearly missed this one as he goes by the name of Henry Gayle, but has a strong following and sure to be a wealth of insights during the tournament
Dwayne Bravo: Bravo seems to be really excited for the World Cup. Would do better on Twitter if he started following someone….anyone, really.
Darren Sammy: Another enthusiastic player looking forward to the World Cup. Tweeting about his preparations.
Jerome Taylor: Only four tweets but he may get going again for the World Cup.
Sulieman Benn: Specialises in the short, sharp 3 word tweet. Definitely up for the coming action though!
Nikita Miller: Power player with the strangest Twitter bio: “From nothing to something ….Russian”. What could that possibly mean?
No doubt this list will keep growing as the World Cup gets into full swing. Keep sending us your comments about who to add and we’ll build the ultimate Twitter guide to the 2011 World Cup.