World Cup 2019: Each country’s best player based on recent performances
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 has begun in England and Wales with the teams gearing up for the competition ahead. Preceding the main event, all 10 participating countries tried to get their best combination on the field as they looked to iron out a few pertinent issues and add the much needed stability to their playing line-up.
Ahead of the World Cup, we take a look at the one player from each of the 10 sides who impressed the most with his performances based on recently concluded matches and could prove to be pivotal player for his country in this tournament.
India - Ravindra Jadeja
With centuries against Bangladesh, MS Dhoni and KL Rahul both impressed and made a strong case for themselves. However, Ravindra Jadeja's half-century against New Zealand paired with 1-27 and 1-40 in the two warm-up matches earned a lot of praise, one that could well see him claim a major stake for a spot in the playing eleven.
England - Joe Root
One of the most stylish batsmen of his generation, Joe Root will hold the key for England and with figures of 3-22 from his 6 overs against Afghanistan, Root's all-round skill could be a major feature in England's campaign.
Root's approach towards batting is one with determination and a resolve to score big that makes watching him bat something to look out for. Not one for throwing his wicket away, Root's patience at the crease can go a long way in getting England to large totals.
Australia - Steve Smith
Smith's 116-run innings against England will hold him in good stead for the rest of the tournament and will look to make it big in this edition of the World Cup on his return from the ban.
What made Smith's knock a lot more special was the fact that he was unfazed by the chants as a result of which his century propelled Australia to a strong total of 297 and with the tournament bound to demand consistency, Smith's assurance in the middle will be important for the defending champions.
Sri Lanka - Dimuth Karunaratne
Dimuth Karunaratne's promotion to captaining the Sri Lankan squad in this World Cup came as a major surprise to many and with an added pressure on him to perform, it will be interesting to see how the captain leads the way at the top of the inning.
Karunaratne has started strong with an impressive half-century against New Zealand and will need to take up the mantle of scoring a majority of the runs in order to see his team go far in this tournament.
Pakistan - Babar Azam
With their match against Bangladesh abandoned owing to inclement weather, Pakistan were faced a shock defeat against Afghanistan from the warm-up matches. Battered and rattled in recent times, Pakistan also came up a cropper against West Indies in their opening encounter.
However, one player who has been good for them all throughout is Babar Azam. His ability to soak in the pressure and stitch together and important knock in the middle overs will need to come to the fore in order to see his team make a strong case for themselves in this tournament.
Afghanistan - Mohammad Nabi
Mohammad Nabi was in fine form during the warm-up matches as he contributed with some solid knocks of 34 against Pakistan and 44 against England which will infuse confidence in him and the team as they go through their league stage matches.
More importantly, Nabi's understanding of the game and his craftiness with the ball in hand added to his acres of experience will be one of the key areas for Afghanistan to succeed in this tournament.
Bangladesh - Mushfiqur Rahim
Bangladesh's Mushfiqur Rahim has been one of the most consistent batsmen for Bangladesh and plays a huge role with his ability to stroke the ball to all parts of the ground. Rahim averages 34.74 in ODI cricket and being one of the seniormost players in the team, the wicket-keeper batsman will be hoping to produce the goods.
New Zealand - Trent Boult
Boult blew India apart with figures of 4-33 but perhaps what was even more impressive was his 4-50 against West Indies. The spell came in at a time and in a match when New Zealand were pummelled by West Indies who went on to amass a mammoth 421 runs from 50 overs.
Boult has been in some stunning form off-late, without a doubt emerging as the finest pacer with his ability to bowl the ball a treacherous trajectory and procure formidable swing. A quintessential figure for New Zealand, Boult could well lead New Zealand to their first World Cup title.
West Indies - Shai Hope
His century against New Zealand saw him continue on his merry way in international cricket. Over the last two months, he has emerged as the fulcrum of the West Indian batting unit, amassing a lot of runs. With Shai Hope enjoying a purple patch in 2019 with 596 runs from 11 matches at an average of 59.60, Hope's alliance with Chris Gayle at the top of the order will be of prime importance for West Indies.
South Africa - Andile Phehlukwayo
A quick fire innings of 35 against Sri Lanka and 4-36 in the same match stamped his authority and showed how well equipped he is in both the departments. He is someone who could prove to be the difference maker in this South African side. One can expect him to come up with several performances of fruition, some of them even capable of winning matches single-handedly for the country.
Also read - Cricket world cup records