As we cricket fans all around the world may be aware, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is around the corner, and we cannot wait to witness the epic clashes such as high-voltage India vs Pakistan, India vs Australia, Australia and New Zealand etc.
One Day Cricket has come a long way, and many might want to argue that, at a time when the short, entertainment-oriented T20 format is threatening to steal the show, and the sanctity of Test cricket seems endangered, ODIs are 'the' format to watch and judge a side.
It would be intriguing to see how the defending champions, Australia come up and perform, given the horrors of the ball tampering incident of early 2018. The national side has suffered largely due to the absence of their star player duo, David Warner and Steve Smith, and it is unknown how they would fare in the World Cup as they would have been out of International match practice for a year by then.
While teams such as England, India and New Zealand seem settled, others are yet to address issues regarding selection of the squads and first choice playing XIs. Given the state of cricketing affairs, as they presently are, we might want to have a look at the strongest possible playing XIs from across all nations.
Let us find out who all make the cut into the final XI based on their potential.
#1 Rohit Sharma
A young man from Mumbai, who was decent in the middle-order and could also finish off innings with a few big hits, was never an India regular, until ICC Champions Trophy 2013, when he was made to open by then Indian Captain MS Dhoni and the rest is history.
Not only was he instrumental in giving good starts along with Dhawan to India, which eventually led to India lifting the trophy, but he has also become a nightmare for bowlers. Every bowler wants to get him out early now, as they are well aware of the fact that if he gets on top of them, it wouldn't take long for him to convert the 50s into 100s and 100s into 200s, having touched the 200-mark thrice, including a 264.
If Sharma is able to go at the same rate for just a couple more years, he is certain to go down the lanes of the history of the game as a cricketing great!
#2 Johnny Bairstow
The English keeper batsman might be a bit of a surprise, just the way his performances were too, but he has shown tremendous potential and capability at the top for England. He has virtually replaced Alex Hales and the latter's place in the playing XIs for England's World Cup side is under grave threat.
Bairstow has scored 1025 runs in 22 matches at an average of 46.6 and a massive strike rate of 118. He has four hundreds and two fifties to justify his inclusion.
#3 Virat Kohli (C)
The Indian skipper is a no-brainer for any World XI side and the numbers he has are absolutely jaw-dropping. With 1200 runs in 14 innings of 2018 and also playing the captain's role well, Kohli walks in as the marquee player of the lineup. Not to forget his monstrous average of 133.5.
#4 Shai Hope
Shai Hope walks in as the wicket-keeper batsman at number 4. He has a remarkable average of 47.5 and offers stability to his West Indian side, which is full of big hitters who have seldom found it in their zone to play calm and composed knocks.
Hope has brought in what had been missing from the West Indian table for quite a while. He scored a hundred against the mighty Indians in India and backed it up with a 95 in the subsequent match and that spoke volumes of his consistency and adaptability.
#5 Shimron Hetmyer
The talk of the town, the man who wreaked havoc in the bilateral series against India has caught the attention of one and all with his fabulous hitting and innings building abilities. The West Indies never lacked firepower, having the likes of Gayle, Pollard, Russell and etc at their disposal, but what they did lack was firepower backed with consistency.
Hetmyer has come in and filled the role of that much needed attacking innings builder. The way he scored a 106 off just 78 balls and again a 94 off just 64 balls against India in two ODI games was proof of the fact that he can go on to be a modern day great. Hetmyer can be a brilliant asset for any side he plays for.