The biggest event in the cricketing world is all set to begin from the 30th of May. With ten teams participating in the upcoming World Cup and every team is scheduled to face-off each other at least once. It is quite evident that the competition is going to be extremely stiff. England seems to be the favorites already as they are the hosting country and also the No.1 ranked team in the ICC ODI rankings. As of now, every team has announced its preliminary squad for the mega event. However, they are allowed to make changes till the 23rd of May. Here is a list of all the squads and a little bit background of their best performance in World Cup history.
Best performance: Winners of 1983 and 2011 World Cup
One of the favorites of the upcoming World Cup, India have had a significant ODI record in the last few years. The Men in Blue have registered 50 wins since January 2016 which is the highest by any team. Led by Virat Kohli and with the presence of an experienced campaigner and World Cup winning captain in MS Dhoni, India looks all set. The bowling lineup has shown some fantastic improvement and looks one of the strongest in the tournament. However, the middle order has been a problem for India and it will be interesting to see who walks out at the coveted No.4 position as India take the field during the World Cup.
Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni(wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik(wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami.
Best performance: Winners of 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015 World Cup
The Australian team has struck form at the right time. After going through a series of losses, they have managed to defeat India at their own backyard followed by a 5-0 whitewash against Pakistan. Skipper Aaron Finch who was going through a rough patch announced his arrival to form by plundering 451 runs in five games against Pakistan. Also, the inclusion of David Warner and Steve Smith has further bolstered the batting lineup for Australia. Both have shown splendid form in the ongoing IPL. The pace bowling also possesses a lot of firepower in Starc, Cummins and Behrendorff.
Squad: Aaron Finch (captain), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
3. SOUTH AFRICA
Best Performance: Semifinalists in 1999, 2007 and 2015 World Cup
With the retirement of AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla’s poor run, the Proteas batting lineup has not been quite threatening to the opposition. Quinton de Kock has been carrying the burden alongside skipper Faf du Plessis. However, youngster Rassie van der Dussen has also been quite promising and displayed exceptional form recently. The pace bowling looks absolutely sharp with Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi. Overall, if their batting can handle the mantle without being overreliant on some batsmen, South Africa will be a tough to team to beat.
Squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), JP Duminy, David Miller, Dale Steyn, Andile Phehlukwayo, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pretorius, Quinton de Kock (wk), Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Hashim Amla, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Best performance: Runners up in 1979, 1987 and 1992 World Cup
The hosts will be starting as favorites to win the World Cup. Ranked as the No.1 ODI team in the world, England boast of a quality side. While they bowed down of the previous edition in the group stages following a shock loss to Bangladesh, they have followed it up with some spectacular performances in the last couple of years. England would be keen to not repeat mistakes. Their batting seems absolutely magnificent though the bowling lacks intensity.
Squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow(wk), Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.
Best Performance: Winners of 1992 World Cup
A team that can never be written off. From struggling to make it to the cut off for the Champions Trophy to going around and winning it. And just when you thought Pakistan has arrived, they were back to old ways. They have won just four ODIs out of the 13 they have played since the 2017 win. Mohammed Amir missed out due to his poor run and it remains to be seen if he will be considered later on. Sarfaraz Ahmed hasn’t been the best captain but he surely knows how to lead the way in big tournaments.
Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (wk)(captain), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-Ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Hassan Ali, Abid Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Sohail.
6. NEW ZEALAND
Best performance: Runners up of 2015 World Cup
The Kiwis have always been a dominant force to reckon with at home. They had a forgettable campaign in the Champions Trophy, failing to win a single game in the tournament. The recent loss against India may have also shaken them up. However, Kane Williamson will be looking to deliver for New Zealand with his fluent batting as well as captaincy. They came really close the last time and would be looking forward to win their maiden World Cup.
Squad: Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.
7. SRI LANKA
Best performance: Winners of 1996 World Cup
The Sri Lankan team underwent a transition period after the retirement of heavyweights like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tilekaratne Dilshan. However things haven’t been great in their camp. The captaincy has been changed 7 times since the previous World Cup. The batting order looks really tweaky and inexperienced. Their bowling has failed to display any agility. The Islanders have lost 50 One Dayers since 2016 and remains the only team in the world to be at the receiving end this many times during this phase. Also with Chandimal and Dananjaya dropped for unknown reasons, it will only take a miracle for Sri Lanka to come anywhere near the semifinal spot.
Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga, Kusal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jefferey Vandersay, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Jeewan Mendis and Milinda Siriwardana.
Best Performance: Quarterfinals of 2015 World Cup
A team that has shown some splendid improvement over the last few years. The Bangladesh team qualified for the quarterfinals last World Cup after a nail biting encounter against the Englishmen. They also had a fantastic campaign in the Asia Cup though they were defeated by India in the final. The fact they were the semifinalists in the Champions Trophy shall give them a morale boost.
Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan (vice captain), Mohammad Mithun, Shabbir Rahaman, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed.
9. WEST INDIES
Best Performance: Winners of 1975 and 1979 World Cup
The Caribbeans have been long suffering due to board and financial conflicts time and again. They even had to play the World Cup Qualifiers to seize their spot for the main event. However, the current World Cup squad looks absolutely strong. With star players like Chris Gayle and Andre Russell in magnificent form, ths timing couldn’t have been better for the West Indies. Also with skipper Jason Holder leading the bunch, the Caribbean team would be looking to qualify for their first semifinals in 23 years. With the amount of power hitters in the team, no target seems safe against them.
Squad: Jason Holder (captain), Andre Russell, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Kemar Roach, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope(wk), Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer.
Best performance: Group stage in 2015 World Cup
The rapid rise of Afghan cricket has managed to garner the interest of fans across the world. Not only did they win the World Cup Qualifiers but also defeated the West Indies in the process. They also displayed some phenomenal form in the Asia Cup last year as they defeated both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. With the likes of Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi and Shahzad, the Afghanistan team will surely be the dark horses for the tournament. With a new captain in Gulbadin Naib, Afghanistan will look to make history as they set foot in England.
Squad: Gulbadin Naib (captain), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Each team plays 9 games in the group stages, with the top four progressing to the semifinals. There is no doubt that the tournament will garner a lot of interest. After all, it’s the Cricket World Cup at stake.