All the 10 teams competing in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 are fully prepared. While the Indian cricket team players were busy fulfilling their IPL commitments, hosts England are busy playing a ODI series against Pakistan while Ireland is hosting a triseries with West Indies and Bangladesh. (FULL ICC WORLD CUP 2019 SCHEDULE)
While form on a given day will be the biggest factor that will influence a result, certain trends can be inferred depending on past performances and records. Unlike the Twenty-20 format where cricket grammar takes a backseat, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 will see the classic players thrive as the longer format demands both application and temperament.
Outlook analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the 10 teams to be in action.
Virat Kohli (c)
Two-time winners and among favourites to win the 2019 edition. Led by the mercurial Virat Kohli and supported in the middle by the ageless M.S. Dhoni, one of the best finishers.
- Strength: A strong top order in batting and a bowling attack led by Jasprit Bumrah, one of the best ‘death’ bowlers in limited overs cricket. Two wrist spinners add teeth to their bowling.
- Weakness: Over-reliance on the top three batsmen and an untested number 4.
- Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, M.S. Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Shami, Vijay Shankar, Dinesh Karthik, K.L. Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja.
Aaron Finch (c)
Not exactly the world-beaters they once were, the Kangaroos still pack enough punch to lift the cup for the sixth time. No other team has won the title more than twice.
- Strength: The return of Steve Smith and David Warner (in pic) gives the team strength and stability in batting.
- Weakness: Injury-prone bowlers are a big worry. No back-up for specialist wicket-keeper Alex Carrey.
Kane Williamson (c)
Perennial underdogs in World Cup. Finalists in 2015, the Kiwis will look to end the drought in England where conditions will suit their batsmen and bowlers.
- Strength: Led by their run-machine captain, the Kiwi squad boasts of quality all-rounders who can carry the match on strong shoulders
- Weakness: Despite its strength on paper, the team often fails to play to its potential. A misfiring top order turns out to be its biggest lialibiity.
Eoin Morgan (c)
The number one ODI side is looking to bury the heartbreaks of three final defeats to finally bring the Cup to the birthplace of cricket.
- Strength: One of the best batting sides packed with power-hitters like Jos Butler and Joe Root and Ben Stokes. A very good pace attack backed by Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid’s spin.
- Weakness: The weight of expectations can prove to be too heavy a burden and ruin their campaign.
Mashrafe Mortaza (c)
The giant-killers of world cricket, Bangladesh have grown in strength and stature in the past few years. Packs a bunch of talented players who can turn the tables on any team.
- Strength: The experience of several battle-hardened veterans complement the exuberance of youngsters. All-rounders give balance to the team which had shocked Australia in the global event.
- Weakness: The bowling attack is hamstrung by the absence of specialist wrist-spinners. Despite their talent, the batting line-up is fragile, especially against quality fast bowling.
Faf du Plessis (c)
The Proteas carry the unflattering tag of ‘chokers’ for losing matches from winning positions, sometimes for no fault of theirs. This mercurial side will look to put the record straight.
- Strength: One of the best bowling attacks in the world. If the pace of Dale Steyn or Kagiso Rabada doesn’t get you, look out for the spin of the irrepressible Imran Tahir (in pic).
- Weakness: Absence of batting lynchpin A.B. de Villiers is a huge setback. The unreliable batting could be their weakest link.
Dimuth Karunaratne (c)
Champions in 1996 and a powerhouse till recently, the Lankan team is today at its lowest point. Led by a new captain, the team will look to history to pull itself up. And also to Lasith Malinga (in pic) to fire its hopes...besides lethal yorkers.
- Strength: While Malinga can win a match or two single-handedly, young spinner Akila Dhananjaya can also spin a web.
- Weakness: That the team is in complete disarray is an understatement. Batting is fragile; star players like Angelo Mathews is fighting his own demons.
Jason Holder (c)
Winners of the first two World Cups, West Indies are rediscovering their mojo after a long slump. Led by the charismatic Jason Holder, who has brought self-belief back to the team.
- Strength: Powerful and fearless batsmen like Andre Russel (in pic), and lethal fast bowlers, the Windies have all the weapons to win the Cup.
- Weakness: The biggest problem is temperament. The team crumbles at the very sight of pressure.
Sarfaraz Ahmed (c)
If anything defines Pakistan cricket, it’s unpredictability. The 1992 champions are capable of beating any team on their day, as the 2017 Champions Trophy triumph against India proves.
- Strength: A solid middle order that bats around the exciting talent Fakhar Zaman (in pic). A good bowling attack with quality pacers.
- Weakness: Lack of power-hitters and batsmen who can play through an innings. History of self-destruction.
Gulbadin Naib (c)
The most-improved team which can actually dream of a miracle despite entering the World Cup as underdogs.
- Strength: Spin is their biggest strength. Led by the talismanic Rashid Khan (in pic) and M. Nabi, they have some of finest tweakers in world cricket.
- Weakness: Batting is a cause of concern for Afghanistan. New captain Gulbadin Naib is yet to prove his mettle; the World Cup may not be the right place for experimentation.
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