The aim of those sides with ambitions of lifting the trophy at the World Cup will be team consistency. However, it’ll be a handful of influential players who have the sublime ability to inspire their team in moments of need who can have the biggest effect on the end result. If you’re looking for examples of this sort of inspiration in past UK World Cups, think Clive Lloyd 1975, Viv Richards 1979, Kapil Dev 1983 and Steve Waugh 1999.
Who are the players most likely to provide their team with this sort of impetus in the chase for the 2019 trophy? (Full Coverage of ICC World Cup 2019)
Top of the list has to be India’s skipper Virat Kohli. He is the outstanding short form batsman and he’s on track to be deemed the greatest of all time. His technique is such that he scores quickly with less risk than others because he predominately keeps the ball on the ground and eschews the fancy shots that increase a player’s vulnerability.
Because Kohli relies on a traditional technique he’s better able to cope with the variable conditions faced during a lengthy tournament. Kohli, along with the heavy scoring, six-hitting machine Rohit Sharma, will be a crucial part of India’s bid for a second World Cup triumph in the UK.
England’s hopes of a first World Cup victory are based on a powerful batting line-up. They can post a target that is well out of reach by plundering the opposition bowling from the first over to the last. While England look for a fast start to their innings, the man who can put the target out of reach in a hurry is Jos Buttler.
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Buttler possesses immense power in a wide range of shots and his strike rate in the last couple of years even surpasses muscle-man Chris Gayle. England need players like Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root to fire with the bat and Ben Stokes to be at his mercurial best but if Buttler is on form the opposition is in for some leather hunting.
Mention of Stokes is a reminder that all-rounders who possess batting power are crucial to teams performing well. Players to watch in this category in addition to Stokes are Quinton de Kock, Glenn Maxwell, and I wouldn’t overlook Hardik Pandya.
Pandya has run into form at the right time and his chastening experience with a television chat show appears to have had a positive effect on his cricket.
Explosive openers have become a must in successful ODI sides with Gayle and David Warner setting the standard. If Australia bat Warner anywhere but at the top of the order it’ll be welcomed by the opposition.
Wicket-taking bowlers are like gold in an era of heavily muscled batsmen wielding weighty implements. Among the faster bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah has excelled with a combination of a good strike rate and a reasonable economy rate. Like Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Kagiso Rabada and Trent Boult, Bumrah’s great value is the ability to strike early and late in an innings.
In an era where totals have increased markedly thanks to the six-hitting exploits of the batsmen, bowlers who can take wickets in the middle overs are a must to keep targets in check.
India is fortunate to have a pair of wrist-spinners who combine neatly to bamboozle batsmen. If the pitches in the UK show signs of wear and tear late in the tournament, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will be of immense value to India.
Adil Rashid is another wrist spinner who excels with the white ball and his knowledge of local conditions will help England’s cause. If the feisty Afghanistan team is to make a mark in this tournament the ebullient Rashid Khan will be in the thick of things.
India has many of the individual ingredients required for success at this World Cup. However, so also do England and Australia and winning the trophy will require an inspired individual performance timed to perfection.
May 26, 2019 11:06 IST
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