The seventh edition of the flagship Twenty20 World Cup was due to take place in India, but a COVID-19 wave in the country forced the country to relocate.
The tournament kicks off on Sunday with Oman co-hosted against debutants Papua New Guinea in a preparatory Group B match in Muscat.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will host the Super 12 stage and knockout matches in three venues – Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi – with a 70% capacity.
The 16-team tournament is the largest global cricket event since the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the event had to be rescheduled, even as the Indian board maintains its host status.
Kohli will step down as India’s Twenty20 captain after the tournament and his teammates hope to give him and outgoing head coach Ravi Shastri a fitting farewell.
Every member of the team has played the UAE stage of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and is familiar with the local conditions.
Kohli can benefit from team mentor’s experience Mahendra Singh Dhonic, which led India to the inaugural title in 2007.
England will be looking to become world champions in both white-ball formats two years after winning their first 50-overs World Cup under Eoin Morgan.
Morgan has endured a meager IPL, and they will be without explosive all-rounder Ben Stokes, who tackles mental health issues, as well as injured fast bowler Jofra Archer.
Bowling all-rounder Chris Jordan believes they still have the “talent and chemistry” to win a second 20-over world title.
“We’ve been together for so long, the chemistry is there, the talent is there — all the ingredients are there to put in a good performance in this campaign,” Jordan said.
“The squad is very, very strong and I’m quite optimistic.”
The West Indies, the only team to have won the tournament twice, will once again count on their awe-inspiring group of Twenty20 mercenaries, cricketers who practice their trade in the world’s lucrative T20 leagues, to reach a treble.
Captain Kieron Pollard and fellow all-rounders Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo are the three pillars of a party teeming with match winners.
New Zealand has reached the finals in three of the last four global tournaments and the reigning world champion test under Kane Williamson are once again strong title contenders.
Aaron Finch’s Australia will be on the hunt for the only major trophy that has eluded them, but their recent form does not inspire confidence.
They enter the tournament after losing their last five Twenty20 series, including a 4-1 thump from their exhausted team in Bangladesh.
Former champions Pakistan will go into the tournament a little undercooked, but the motivation will be high.
Babar Azam and his teammates were furious when New Zealand and England withdrew from their Pakistani tour due to safety concerns, and plan to channel their anger to improve their performance on the pitch.
Afghanistan has seen an even more tumultuous build since the Taliban took power in August.
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