The ICC Cricket World Cup begins next Thursday with England taking on South Africa at The Oval. Eoin Morgan’s side, who are ranked number one in the world, will begin the competition as favourites in the 10-team field. Australia are the defending champions, with the Aussies winning four of the past five World Cup crowns. India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the West Indies are the remaining countries who have tasted World Cup glory, with the tournament making its debut in 1975. There is expected to be plenty of thrills and spills over the course of the six-week competition, however, who are the players to look out for? We’ve selected 25 players who could light up the tournament, featuring a mixture of batsman and bowlers.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan
All-rounder Shakib is one of Bangladesh’s key men and will surely play a vital role with both bat and ball if the Tigers are to make it past the group phase.
Pakistan: Mohammad Amir
Fast bowler Amir was a bold inclusion in the Pakistan squad. The 27-year-old has made over 50 ODI appearances for Pakistan, taking 60 wickets and could be one to excel in England.
England: Jofra Archer
Pace bowler Archer recently qualified to play for England and impressed in the recent 4-0 series win over Pakistan. He could give Eoin Morgan’s side that extra bowling dimension they have been craving.
Pakistan: Babar Azam
Azam is one of Pakistan’s stars with the bat and will provide Sarfaraz Ahmed with a back up wicket-keeping option.
New Zealand: Trent Boult
Pace bowler Boult is ranked second in the world in ODIs. The 29-year-old is one of the Kiwi’s key men in opening and closing the bowling.
India: Jasprit Bumrah
The number one ranked bowler, Bumrah is just one of many Indian stars. His variation in English conditions could prove pivotal for Virat Kohli’s side.
England: Jos Buttler
Possibly England’s best batsman. Buttler has the ability to take games away from the opposition in the closing stages with his power hitting. He is also handy behind the stumps too!
Australia: Pat Cummins
Cummins is Australia’s highest ranked ODI bowler. The 26-year-old has plenty of pace and could be key for the Aussies as they look to defend their World Cup crown. He’s handy with the bat too.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock
South Africa batsman de Kock has been in fine form this year and if he can continue that, could be in with a shot of leading the run-scoring charts over the next six weeks.
Sri Lanka: Niroshan Dickwella
Dickwella is Sri Lanka’s highest-ranked batsman and is also extremely talented behind the stumps. The 25-year-old could catch the eye with his batting in the powerplay or his quick wicket-keeping reactions.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill
Opening batsman Guptill tends to be the man who sets the tone for the Kiwis. The 32-year-old will once again provide entertainment with the bat with his power hitting.
West Indies: Shimron Hetmyer
Hetmyer burst onto the scene last year and the 22-year-old could really make a name for himself on the world stage with his explosive batting performances.
West Indies: Shai Hope
Hope is West Indies’ highest ranked batsman and his temperament along with his power hitting could result in the 25-year-old being one to keep a close eye on this summer.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal
Iqbal is ranked higher than the likes of MS Dhoni and Glenn Maxwell with the bat. The 30-year-old’s experience on the world stage could result in the opening batsman being one to watch for the underdogs.
Afghanistan: Rashid Khan
Young leg-spinner Khan has excelled over the past 24 months in various domestic limited-overs competitions. The 20-year-old will be Afghanistan’s main wicket-taking option and will certainly be one to look out for.
India: Virat Kohli
No introduction needed for the Indian captain. Kohli’s presence alone will light up the World Cup, let alone his batting.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Matthews
Experienced Sri Lankan all-rounder Matthews is another to keep a close eye on. Despite being extreme underdogs, the 31-year-old could lead a surprise charge for his country with both bat and ball.
England: Jason Roy
England’s opening batsman Roy is always brilliant to watch in the opening stages. Alongside Jonny Bairstow, Roy tends to take no time in clearing the ropes in the powerplay.
India: Rohit Sharma
Behind captain Kohli, Sharma is the second in the list of ODI ranked batsman. All of his previous experience could result in memorable displays alongside partner Shikhar Dhawan.
South Africa: Kagiso Rabada
Another exciting young bowler, South Africa’s Rabada has been a key member of the squad in all formats. The 23-year-old looks set to be the Proteas’ secret weapon at the beginning and end of the innings.
West Indies: Andre Russell
West Indies all-rounder Russell tends to be box office with both bat and ball. If the 31-year-old can keep fully fit, he could end up being one of the star performers of the tournament.
South Africa: Imran Tahir
South African spinner Tahir has been one of the Proteas’ main men with the ball in recent years. He is currently ranked fourth in the world and could end up near the top of the wicket-taking leaderboard if he produces his usual consistent displays.
Australia: David Warner
Controversial batsman Warner will more than likely receive a hostile welcome following his part in Australia’s ball-tampering scandal last year. Despite this, the 32-year-old could turn the crowds with thrilling displays with the bat. He comes into the tournament in great form after performing extremely well in the IPL.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson
Williamson tends to play New Zealand into match-winning positions with his calm approach. The 28-year-old can also be handy with the ball with his part-time off-spin bowling.
Afghanistan: Mujeeb Zadran
Another exciting Afghanistan bowler, Zadran is just 18-years-old but is already ranked 10th in the ODI list. The teenager could go under the radar due to teammate Rashid Khan, however, he is certainly one to look out for.
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