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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: 5 players to watch

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The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup begins this week, with the first game being between England vs South Africa at the Oval on Thursday 30th May.

Arguably, for the first time in the history of the Cricket World Cup, England go into the tournament as favourites. This is something that would have been inconceivable little more than three years ago.

 

England’s meteoric rise as the best one day team in the world is in short thanks to the emergence of genuine world-class players such as Jos Butler and Ben Stokes. The World Cup is a platform where the next generation of great players emerge.

The World Cup even has its own song. Drum and bass band Rudimental have teamed up with Canadian singer LORYN for ' Stand By', a song about togetherness and bringing people from all walks of life together through music. 

Piers Agett of Rudimental said: "Celebrating our diversity is a key message of the band. Obviously, we've all got different heritages, we're from London, one of the most diverse cities in the world, and we like to celebrate our differences - that's our vibe."

Here are five players who could set this competition alight.

1. Chris Gayle

Chris Gayle is an individual who very much brought cricket into the 21st Century, with his no-nonsense striking of the ball. The West Indian has only recently returned to the ODI set-up, announcing that the World Cup would be his final one-day tournament. He returned to the fold in style scoring 424 runs against the tournament favourites England at an average of 106 with a top score of 162. He is most definitely in the top 10 greatest ODI and T20 batters in the history of the game, holding multiple records. These records include the Fastest ever ODI Double century, which he hit during the 2015 World Cup, off only 138 balls. He has a history of performing on the big stage, and if he is in the mood there is no reason as to why the West Indies could not go all the way providing some upsets.

 Image Credit: Nev1 via Wikimedia Commons

2. Shimron Hetmyer

Another West Indian, Shimron Hetmyer is number two on my list. A relative newbie on the international scene having only played 16 ODIs his short career to date, he has been nothing short of outstanding. Like his compatriot, Chris Gayle, he has the ability to toy with the bowling attacks, with pure power as well as a degree of finesse. In the recent ODI series, he scored the quickest West Indian Century against England. If both him and Chris Gayle are firing on all cylinders the West Indies are going to be a formidable force.

3. Babar Azam

Babar Azam is one of the most gifted white ball batsmen in the world at the moment, being a record breaker in both T20s and ODIs. He holds some notable records in the one day game such as being the Only ODI batsman to score five consecutive centuries in one country, in addition to being the second youngest player to score three consecutive centuries. As an opening batsmen his ability to keep the scoreboard ticking over while holding his wicket will be key to any success which Pakistan may have. Although he is not a renowned big hitter in a similar vein to Chris Gayle, Azam is no less talented or suited to the one day game is one of the best batsmen to watch at the moment.

 

4. Jasprit Bumrah

Jasprit Bumrah will be one of the star bowlers of the tournament. A lot of the focus on the Indian team centres Virat Kohli and his status as arguably the best batsmen of the current decade in all formats of the game. This often leads to Bumrahs ability as a bowler goes unnoticed, without gaining the plaudits he deserves. He is one of the best death bowlers in the game with the ability to bowl unplayable yorkers at over 90 mph, something which will be important to any Indian success. It would be no surprise if he does not single-handedly keep the Indian team in certain games. I quite fancy Bumrah to be one of the top wicket takers in this tournament.

 

5. Jofra Archer

Jofra Archer is the newest addition to the English International Setup, with his call-up causing debate throughout the English game. Is it arguably one of the most exciting players in world cricket at the moment; England are lucky to possess another player with the x-factor that for many years they were short of. Archer has the ability to win games single-handedly, whether that be nonchalantly bowling yorkers at speeds over 90 mph or his clean striking of the ball when batting. It would be no surprise to me if Archer finds himself within the leading wicket takers of the tournament.

 

This tournament is going to be exhilarating, and for the first time in many years, any team has the capability of going all the way. Ultimately it is England’s to lose, but stranger things have happened in sport.

The first match of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, England vs South Africa, takes place at the Oval on Thursday 30th May.

Lead Image Credit: Stemoc via Wikimedia Commons




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