Cricket World Cup 2019: The X-Factor for each team in the tournament
With just days to go before the biggest cricket carnival in the world begins, the final preparations and team selections have assumed paramount importance. The action kicks off in style on May 30th in a mouth-watering encounter between South Africa and the hosts, England. Teams still have a couple of days left i.e. till the 23rd of May to submit their final 15-man-squads for the ICC World Cup.
Given the favourable conditions, fan support and recent form, England is definitely the team to beat this summer. Possessing one of the strongest batting line-ups in the world, England is well on its way to sit atop the 'Iron Throne' of the cricket world. They were instrumental in their 4-0 whitewashing of Pakistan, scoring over 340 in all the four ODIs played in the series, with the first game being washed out. But one must also not sleep on the teams ranked lower in the pecking order, as far as ICC ODI Rankings go. Bangladesh remained undefeated in the Ireland Tri-Nation Series and showed all-round brilliance in this short tournament.
T20 cricket has changed the dynamics of the game with bat undoubtedly getting the better of the ball 9 out of 10 times. It looks like that the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup will be a batsman-friendly tournament, and the white ball might have to take a backseat. A similar emotion was echoed by Harsha Bhogle, who is part of the 24-man commentary team for the World Cup. On the other hand, Clive Lloyd has expressed that this year's World Cup will be defined and known for the performances of the different all-rounders.
This will unquestionably be a long tournament, and teams with stronger depth in their squads will be the ones who will make it through to the semis. In this article, we will be looking at the X-factor that each team possess – the one player who can change the entire complexion of the game in favour of their respective sides.
#10 Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
Afghanistan's 'Man with the Golden Arm', Rashid Khan, will certainly be the team's go-to-man to pick up crucial wickets in the middle overs of the innings. His variations make him one of the most difficult bowlers to pick in the world. Fans of IPL would know that he's no mug with the bat and we could see him play a few quick-fire innings.
His strong fielding skills make an all-round brilliant performer and that is the reason why ICC has named him one of the five most exciting prospects to look forward to in the upcoming tournament.
#9 Jason Holder (West Indies)
Jason Holder is the glue that has been holding the West Indies Cricket Team together and is one of the major reasons behind their rejuvenation of sorts. The West Indies, despite being on the losing side in the recently conducted tri-nation series, are quite an unpredictable team, and given the arsenal they possess in the form of Gayle, Russell, Shai Hope and Roach, it would be foolish to write them off before the tournament begins.
Holder can contribute with both the bat and bowl in his hand, and he has really come into his own as a leader of the group. If the 'Windies' aim to bag the crown a third time, they would want him to fire on all cylinders.