Watch Out For These Guys!

The big stars have always risen to the occasion in World Cups, be it Kapil Dev in 1983, Sanath Jayasurya in 1996, Ricky Ponting in 2003, Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2011 or Ben Stokes in 2019.

This World up, cricketers from around the world will be vying to make a name for themselves and play a role in their team’s winning moments.

The top stars who could light up World Cup 2023:

Virat Kohli

Kohli has been the standout ODI player of this generation.

He along with Ravichandran Ashwin are the only two surviving members from India’s World Cup team in 2011 and their winning experience could be vital for the hosts.

Kohli has been among the runs recently, stroking a century against Pakistan in the Asia Cup and a fifty against Australia.

He has a terrific ODI record of 13,083 runs in 281 ODIs at an average of 53 with 47 centuries and 66 fifties.

This will be Kohli’s last ODI World Cup and he would no doubt like to finish off in style.

Shubman Gill

Gill has enjoyed a dream run with the bat across formats this year.

The young opener leads the way in 2023 with 1m230 runs from 20 matches, averaging 72, having hit five centuries and as many fifties.

He looked in ominous touch in the recent ODI series in Australia, scoring 74 and 104 in the two games he played.

Rohit Sharma

When in full flow, there is no stopping Rohit.

The India captain relishes 50 overs cricket and is the only player to hit a world record three double centuries in the ODI format.

Rohit proved to be unstoppable in the last World Cup in 2019, when he hit a record five centuries to finish as the highest run-getter in the tournament with 648 runs in nine matches at an average of 81.

Having narrowly missed out on making it to the 2011 World Cup, Rohit will be keen for redemption by leading India to the title at home.

Jasprit Bumrah

Indian cricket fans were much relieved when Bumrah finally recovered from a long-standing injury in time for the World Cup.

The returning Bumrah slowly but surely got into stride during the Asia Cup last month, with four wickets in three games, and then picked another four wickets in two matches gainst Australia.

Bumrah was India’s leading wicket-taker in the 2019 World Cup with 18 wickets from nine games and he will once again shoulder the burden with the ball for India.

Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep has been splendid with the ball in ODIs this year.

He has been India’s leading wicket-taker in 2023 with 33 wickets from 17 matches at an economy rate of 4.72.

Even the Pakistan and Sri Lankan batters renowned for their batting against spin struggled to pick Kuldeep, who picked up a total of nine wickets against them in the Asia Cup.

Kuldeep could be prove to be a handful with the ball if the pitches offer a bit of assistance during the competition.

Ben Stokes

Stokes responded to England’s SOS for the World Cup as he reversed his retirement from ODIs.

His unbeaten 84 helped England tie the 2019 World Cup final against New Zealand before they prevailed on the boundary count rule after the Super Over also finished in a tie.

While his troublesome knee may prevent Stokes from bowling in the World Cup, he commands a place in the team on his batting alone.

Stokes, who featured in an ODI match after more than a year, played a sensational innings of 182 from 124 balls, hitting 15 fours and nine sixes against New Zealand last month to warm up in style for the World Cup.

Jos Buttler

Buttler will be aiming to repeat England’s triumph from four years ago.

He is one of the most dangerous batters in white ball cricket and his experience of playing the IPL over the years will come in very handy on Indian pitches.

Buttler, who plays the role of finisher in ODIs, has a pretty impressive record with 4,823 runs in 169 matches at a strike rate of 118, with 11 centuries and 25 fifties.

Babar Azam

Babar has been tipped by many to take the World Cup by storm.

The Pakistan captain is one of the most consistent batters in international cricket across formats.

He struggled for runs in the Asia Cup, but has warmed up nicely with two fifties in the practice games against New Zealand and Australia.

Babar is one player who has matched Kohli for his consistency in 50 overs cricket, scoring 5,409 runs in 108 matches at an average of 58.

Shaheen Shah Afridi

Pakistan’s pace spearhead has been the standout bowler for his country.

What makes Afridi such a lethal bowler is his ability to swing the new ball and pick wickets upfront, while producing the yorkers consistently at the depth.

The 23-year-old fast bowler always targets the top batters in the opposition team, as he proved when he took 4/35 in the rain-abandoned match against India in the Asia Cup.

Heinrich Klaasen

The South African batting sensation is in amazing form going into the World Cup.

This year he has scored 527 runs in 11 matches at an amazing strike rate of 151, with two centuries and a fifty.

The big-hitter recently took the Australian bowlers apart, blazing his way to a brilliant 174 from 83 balls, with 13 sixes and as many fours to power South Africa to a huge 416/5 in their 50 overs.

Marco Jansen

Another key player for South Africa, who are looking to win their first World Cup.

He came up with a superb all-round showing to power South Africa to victory against Australia in September, taking 5/39 with the ball after he had stroked 47 from 23 balls.

Jansen has good experience of Indian conditions courtesy of his showing for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL. In IPL 2023, he was one of SRH’s key bowlers, as he claimed 10 wickets from eight games.

Rashid Khan

One of the most dangerous spinners in world cricket.

He has a good record in India, picking up 23 wickets from 13 games. He has also bagged 139 wickets from 109 games in the IPL.

Overall, the leg-spinner has a good record of 172 wickets from 94 ODIs at an economy rate of 4.21.

Rashid is also quite handy with the bat lower down the order.

Devon Conway

With Kane Williamson coming back from an injury, Conway will lead New Zealand’s hopes with the bat at the World Cup.

The Kiwi top order batter was one of CSK’s star performers in IPL 2023 with 672 runs at an average of 51, with six half-centuries.

His form was a bit of worry coming into the World Cup with four failures in a row before he bounced back with a solid 78 in the warm-up game against South Africa.

Trent Boult

Such is Boult’s importance to New Zealand that the fast bowler was offered the luxury of a casual playing agreement to get him back for the World Cup.

Boult and the New Zealand cricket board agreed to a central contract release back in August last year, allowing the 33 year old to play in various domestic leagues around the world and spend more time with his family.

The pacer was part of New Zealand’s team in the last two World Cups in which they finished runners up, having taken 39 wickets at an economy rate of 4.62.

What also makes him a vital part of the Kiwi set-up is his IPL experience, having featured in the last nine seasons of the T20 league in which he has claimed 105 wickets in 88 games.

Glenn Maxwell

Maxwell has made a good comeback from an ankle injury leading into the World Cup.

Maxwell took 4/40 in an ODI against India last month to fire Australia to victory, while hitting 77 in the World Cup warm-up against Pakistan.

With Australia having just one specialist spinner in the squad in Adam Zampa, Maxwell will play a big role with the ball in the middle overs, while his explosive batting will power their batting department.

Mitchell Marsh

Mitch is set to open the innings for Australia with Travis Head set to miss the first half of the World Cup because of injury.

Marsh, who has switched from middle order to opener, is a clean hitter of the ball and is quite destructive in the Powerplay.

He is also more than a handy medium pacer, capable of breaking partnerships, giving Australia much needed balance.

The right-hander is in good knick coming into the World Cup, with a power-packed 96 against India in the Rajkot ODI; he took three wickets in the two warm-up matches against Pakistan and the Netherlands.

Photographs: BCCI, ANI, Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters, PCB/X, Asian Cricket Council/X, Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters, Alex Davidson/Getty Images from the Rediff Archives

  • World Cup 2023

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