So here we are all set for the biggest event in the cricket world, the ICC World Cup 2019. All ten participating countries have announced their preliminary squads and we are just weeks away from witnessing the enthralling action.
Thus, this is the perfect time to look at all the teams and their capabilities.
The debutants in the ICC 2019 World Cup, Afghanistan have made giant strides in the recent past but they still are a work in progress when it comes to challenging the big boys. Very little is known about their team as a whole and this surprise element can be their strength.
But importantly their strong point has been spin but the pitches in England will not favor spin. So inexperience of playing at the top level and the alien conditions are the weaknesses for Afghanistan.
Key Players: A no brainer. Rashid Khan is arguably the best white-ball bowler in the world while Mohammad Nabi is an effective all-rounder too.
Players to watch out for: Mohammad Shahzad doesn’t have good numbers to prove his worth but he will be critical on the flat English pitches with his aggressive approach. Mujeb Ur Rahman is worth mentioning too as his spin bowling can cause a headache for the batsmen.
The defending champions don’t have the momentum with them but they surely have a strong squad. Their bowling line-up is their strength as on flat grounds, it is the bowlers who make the difference.
With two players coming back in the batting order there can be some instability and confusion and this can well become Australia’s weakness.
Key Players: David Warner has made a massive statement by hammering 692 runs in IPL 2019. Watch out for him. Glenn Maxwell is known for stepping up during the big occasions. He can demolish opponents in no time.
Players to watch out for: Steve Smith was outstanding in 2015 especially in the knock-outs. Can he replicate his magic? Adam Zampa will have tremendous pressure on him but he has done well in the recent past. He is the X factor for Australia.
The quarter-finalists of the last edition will have to work extremely hard to reach that stage once again. Their squad looks solid but does it have enough power to punch above its weight?
The experienced core players are their strength but once again their weakness is their lack of temperament of big matches.
Key Players: Tamim Iqbal‘s batting will set the tone for Bangladesh in this World Cup. Shakib Al Hasan has massive experience and he contributes with the bat and the ball.
Players to watch out for: Mahmuddullah has emerged as the team’s crisis man. He has the patience and the skills while Mashrafe Mortaza can make a huge difference with his pace bowling.
If there is a team that deserves to win the World Cup then that is England. They have a squad tailor-made for these conditions and their all-out aggression is their strength. But the same cannot be said about their bowling as they are the weak link here. But their batsmen can make up for the short-comings of their bowling.
Key Players: Jos Buttler is scoring runs and nailing sixes for fun. He can finish the innings on a high note and can rebuild a batting collapse. Liam Plunkett is one of England’s key bowlers in this tournament and his death bowling is a big asset.
Players to watch out for: Jason Roy can explode in the Powerplays and even before the opposition realizes they are out of the contest. Ben Stokes strives on big matches and he can make the difference. Eoin Morgan is a force to reckon with too.
With the world’s best batsman and the best death-over bowler, India shouldn’t surprise anyone if they walk out with the trophy.
But then there lies the fragile middle-order and the over-reliance on the top-three batsmen can become their weakness.
Key Players: Virat Kohli hands down. His numbers are jaw-dropping, his strokes mind-boggling and his intent is a sign of worry for his opponents. Jasprit Bumrah‘s death overs will once again decide India’s fate on flat wickets. Shikhar Dhawan loves playing ICC tournaments. His runs will make an impact for sure.
Players to watch out for: MS Dhoni is in supreme touch in 2019 and his experience behind the stumps can prove invaluable. Hardik Pandya has become more dangerous as he has added new strokes in his armoury. His bowling has become sharper too.
This year too Pakistan holds the tag of ‘unpredictables’. Their bowling is strong but their batting doesn’t look good for the high scoring games. But again with Pakistan anything is possible.
Key Players: Babar Azam is Pakistan’s key batsmen and he will have to anchor the innings. Hasan Ali may well control the middle overs and the game for Pakistan.
Players to watch out for: Fakhar Zaman is an impact player. If he stays long, it is game over for opposition. Shoaib Malik has tons of experience and he can be expected to strengthen the batting order.
The nice guys of cricket have an ideal team for the English conditions. Their pace bowling department can wreak havoc and is their biggest strength but the lack of depth in the spin bowling department may bite them.
Key Players: Kane Williamson loves big occasions and is known for his classy innings. Trent Boult is a dangerous customer to handle when the ball does something in the air or off the surface.
Players to watch out for: Little is said about Mitchell Santner’s effectiveness and this World Cup might be his ticket to glory. Ross Taylor has some good numbers recently and he can play some big knocks too.
An uphill task for South Africa as they lack the experience especially in the batting department. But the depth of their bowling department and the individual capabilities of their pacers is their strength. They have the squad to make it to the top four but considering the chinks in their armor don’t be surprised if they lose steam soon.
Key Players: Quinton de Kock is in massive form in 2019 and he loves pace on the ball. The England pitches will suit him. Kagiso Rabada is in fine form too and with he having the support of other pacers in the South African camp, Rabada becomes a massive force. He can well be the Mitchell Starc for 2019.
Players to watch out for: Hashim Amla is not having a good time but his experience makes him a key player while Imran Tahir’s leg-spin can be South Africa’s wicket-taking weapon on the flat pitches.
The most unsettled team of ICC World Cup 2019. They have plenty of issues but the lack of confidence is their biggest weakness. One has to search hard for the strengths but the fact that some of their players are match-winners is worth mentioning.
Key Players: Thisara Perera has regained his mojo and his aggressive batting can rejuvenate Sri Lanka. Lasith Malinga has just shown that he still has the fire in him and his experience can come in handy too.
Players to watch out for: Isuru Udana may be an unknown entity to the world but he has already shown glimpses of his potential. Suranga Lakmal can dent batting line-ups with his swing.
The Caribbean kings are here to prove that they belong to this stage. As individuals they are rockstars but can they come together and stand up as a team?
Key Players: Chris Gayle tormented England recently and can be unstoppable in the World Cup. Andre Russell is fresh from a sensational IPL season. Count him to make some big runs.
Players to watch out for: Shimron Hetmyer is a very promising talent while Oshane Thomas can garner eyeballs with his accurate and smart pace bowling.