DURBAN – The Cricket World Cup his upon us. With the tournament now consisting of just 10 teams, this promises to be one of the most competitive tournaments in history.
Each team have match winners within their line-up.
The following are one player from every nation represented at the tournament that you should look out for…
1 India: Virat Kohli
Kohli is probably currently the most recognisable cricketer throughout the world and the face of Indian cricket. He is arguably the most naturally gifted batsman in the world following the shock retirement of AB de Villiers in 2018.
If India are to win the 2019 World Cup, Kohli’s batting performances will probably have to be on point.
2 Afghanistan: Rashid Khan
The 20-year-old Khan is arguably one of the best cricketers to come from outside the nations that one would traditionally associate with cricket.
He is regarded as being one of the top T20 bowlers in the world, and boasts an impressive bowling average of 22.80.
Afghanistan may be regarded as minnows in the World Cup, but Khan is capable of doing damage against any side.
"He's a white-ball genius". High praise from Ricky Ponting for Afghan star Rashid Khan ahead of the World Cup pic.twitter.com/IoHxIhPEiy
South Africa’s batting tends to be inconsistent and they are prone to collapses. One man who regularly saves the day for the Proteas with his calm demeanour and astute leadership is captain Faf du Plessis.
Du Plessis is a player that any nation would love to have in their side. The Proteas may not be among the favourites to win the World Cup, but if Du Plessis has a good run of form, they could surprise many.
With David Warner and Steve Smith back in the Australia team after serving one-year bans for ball tampering against South Africa early in 2018, Australia could very well stand a chance of retaining the World Cup winners trophy, which they claimed in 2015.
Warner was in brilliant form during the recent IPL, and finished as the leading run-scorer in the tournament with 692 runs under his belt. If he is to carry over that form to the World Cup, the Aussies will go far.
5 New Zealand: Kane Williamson
With a One-Day average of 45.9, Williamson is regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world. While not among the favourites, New Zealand have a team who are worthy of going far in this tournament. Not many will argue that Williamson is one of the most gifted players for the Kiwis.
6 West Indies: Chris Gayle
The 39-year-old is one of the hardest hitting cricketers in the World. If Gayle gets going, he can score runs against any of the sides. He became the first batsman to score a double century in the World Cup when he recorded 215 against Bangladesh in 2015. This is the legendary batsman’s final World Cup and he will be looking to go out in style.
England are the favourites to win this World Cup and they have the most balanced side from all nations participating in the tournament.
While all players from the English side are capable of winning matches, the team will need Jos Buttler to excellently finish off matches if they are to prevail.
8 Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews
The Lankans are in the midst of a cricketing crisis amidst behind the scenes turmoil as well as poor performances on the field.
They will be looking to deliver competitive performances in this tournament, and due to his experience and skills with bat and ball, Mathews will be arguably the most key player for the Asian side.
9 Pakistan: Shakib Al Hasan
The Bangladeshi captain has been one of the best all-rounders in world cricket for more than a decade. He is currently second on the ICC all-rounders rankings, behind only Jason Holder of the West Indies.
Al Hasan will need to deliver with bat and ball if Bangladesh are to be competitive during this World Cup.
10 Pakistan: Babar Azam
Pakistan are probably the most unpredictable team in world cricket throughout history. They can play inconsistent cricket throughout the season, and then suddenly turn up at a major tournament.
The Pakistanis do not have the most talented of sides heading into the World Cup, but they do know what it takes to win trophies in England – they won the 2009 ICC T20 Championship and the 2017 Champions Trophy in England.
With an ODI average of more than 50, Azam is a world-class batsman. If he has a good World Cup, Pakistan could go far in the tournament.