ICC World Cup 2019: One impact player for each team
The biggest and the most prestigious tournament in cricket history, the ICC Cricket World Cup is scheduled to begin on May 30 next year in England. Hosts England will be up against the Proteas in the inaugural game of the high-intensity tournament. Defending champions Australia will begin their title defence on June 1, when they face Afghanistan at Bristol.
The preparations for the mega-event have already started. Experimentation amidst the teams has been common in the past few months as all the teams are trying to get their team composition in order. The ten countries featuring in the 2019 World Cup are Australia, England, South Africa, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indies, and Afghanistan.
England are the favourites to win the tournament whereas Asian giants such as India and Pakistan are not too far behind. Almost all teams have figured out their probable squads albeit all of them have a few concerns going into the World Cup. For India, their main concern is their unsettled middle order.
All the ten teams will have a player they could rely on, one that could create significant impact in the tournament. Some of these choices may be obvious but some might be surprising, on this note, let us take a look at one impact player from each team whose performance can turn the tables in his team's favour:
Pakistan - Shoaib Malik
Pakistan's most experienced campaigner Shoaib Malik will bid adieu to international cricket after the World Cup next year. Malik made his international debut in 1999 and has been serving Pakistan since then. The all-rounder was an integral part of Pakistan's squad in their 2009 T20 World Cup triumph, he also played a vital role in Pakistan's 2017 Champions Trophy victory.
Pace bowling has always been Pakistan's forte but their struggles with the bat are well known to all teams. Malik provides stability in the middle order as he plays the role of an anchor coming in to bat at number four or five. His ability to take on the spinners makes him a permanent choice for the role. The side led by Sarfaraz Ahmed have some wonderful and fierce pacers in their ranks but their main concern is their batting.
To solve their batting issues, Malik is one of the most important batsmen in the line-up. Pakistan will have high hopes from their veteran superstar as he aims to take Pakistan to victory one last time in the World Cup.