India is all set to stage the 2023 Cricket World Cup, set to take place in India which is a highly anticipated sporting extravaganza. Without a doubt, this event will capture the hearts of cricket enthusiasts across the world. Though bilateral cricket is losing its sheen thanks to franchise T20 cricket, I am one of those purists who is looking forward to the pinnacle of One Day Cricket. 10 teams and 150 players, some of the world’s finest talent are going to compete for the coveted trophy. As a cricket fan, here are my top 5 teams and some of their stars to watch out for.
The Topic Pick
The defending champions, England is my top pick. Their cricket has undergone a transformation in the recent years. Eoin Morgan was key to this change. Their full on attack approach won them the last world cup and they still have the core team intact. Bring back Ben Stokes from his retirement was a masterstroke from England. Also, their side is full of power hitters like Brook, Bairstow, Butler and fantastic all rounders in Moeen, Sam Curran, Livingstone, and Willey. Undoubtedly, Jofra Archer injury and forms of Joe Root and Brook are a concern. But, this side still has the firepower to reach the semi-finals.
Star to watch out for: Sam Curran, he is very reliable bowler who can bat down the order. Despite having all the power hitters in the team, England will rely a lot on this guy for sure. I am also see him as a handy opener.
On Song Hosts
India as host nation is a firm favorite to make it to the semi-finals. After the debacle of 2007 World Cup, India has been a consistent performer in ICC events. But, they have struggled to make it to the finals or clinch the trophy since 2013 Champions Trophy. Their formidable batting lineup consisting of Gill, Rohit and Virat should give bowlers nightmares. Also, their bowling is well led by Intelligent Bumrah and Siraj who is on fire. Their spin department is well stocked with Kuldeep, Jadeja and Ashwin. Additionally, all their batsmen got some good runs against quality opponents in Australia. Their major concern would be keeper slot which is held by Rahul and the lack of batting all rounders.
Star to watch out for: Gill is in the form of his life and Kuldeep since his resurgence has been difficult to handle. But, Hardik Pandya is who I will put my bets on. His bowling is key to India’s balance. Besides, his batting down the order will make the difference between a good score and above par score.
The Mighty Giants
Aussies are serial winners and are usually ruthless when it comes to World Cups. Similar to England, Australia are loaded with talent. Also, they are well well stocked across all departments. David Warner has come back to form at the right time and their star all rounders give them multiple options. Mitchell Starc and his colleagues will be licking their lips to have a go. In Adam Zampa, they have a good limited overs spinner. However, Pat Cummin’s inexperience in ODI captaincy and lack of good back ups to Zampa will be a concern.
Star to watch out for: Adam Zampa. If he can spin his web around the opponents and keep it tight, other bowlers will roll over the sides. The pitches in India should assist him.
The Usual Suspects
New Zealand has consistently punched above its weight in global cricket tournaments, and the 2023 World Cup is no exception. The black caps have always been consistently reaching the semi-finals of ICC events. Recently, in 2019 and 2015, they reached the finals only to lose the title showdown. Firstly, They are loaded with experienced campaigners in Kane Williamson, Tom Latham and Trent Boult. Additionally, rising stars like Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra and Glen Phillips gives them great balance. Furthermore, they have able spinners in Ish Sodhi and Santner. Therefore, I believe the black caps will be gunnings for the title this time around.
Star to watch out for: Kane Williamson and his calm leadership under pressure will help the team a lot to breach the final frontier.
The Wild Cards
Pakistan and South Africa can add spice to this mixture by getting their combinations right. Pakistan has some terrific batting and bowling but lack a genuine spinner in their side. Pakistan’s fielding is also a concern. As a result, Pakistan will suffer. South Africa are a terrific side on any given day but lack consistency. When their batting clicks, their bowling lets them down and vice-versa. South Africa suffers from lack of continuity and consistency. The star players to watch out for in Pakistan and South Africa would be Afridi and Klassen. These 2 stars can take the game away from the opponents in a matter of few overs.
Will there be a repeat of an upset like, Kenya beating West Indies in 1996? Can India break the ICC curse in the post-Dhoni era? Will there be a first time champion like 2019? As fans, let’s prepare ourselves for a rollercoaster ride of emotions and hope this ODI world cup reginites in the interest in ODIs. May the best team win and etch their name in the cricketing history books.