The World Cup is around the corner, and every team in the competition is banking on their best players to change the course of history. No matter how many times a team has taken the trophy home, the taste of victory is always different. We at The News Tribe have come up with six players that might impact their team’s performance and if they end up in the last four, it will be because of their ability to change the course of the match, with their bat. Let’s analyze why these players will be the ones to look out for in the World Cup and what can be expected from them.
Babar Azam (Pakistan)
Every commentator in the world, most of the bowlers he has played against and nearly all his teammates are united when it comes to the greatness of Babar Azam. Yes, at 24 he is way too young to be the team’s best batsman but the truth is, he takes to new conditions as a fish takes to water.
He has scored centuries where not many of his teammates had done before, such as against Australia in Australia, in the West Indies, in England, etc. He also scored 9 centuries and 12 fifties in his 64-match career, has 2739 runs at an average of 51.67 and manages a strike rate of 85.69 that is acceptable, considering he mostly gets the job done. If he wants to do well in the mega event, he will try to go run-a-ball, take on the opposition’s best bowler and try not to get run out in the presence of Mohammad Hafeez and Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Chris Gayle (West Indies)
He is one of those batsmen who don’t get old (he is 39 years old), never get tired of their monotonous batting style and love to play fire with fire, no matter what the result.
The King of T20 leagues around the world (except PSL, of course) scores like a madman on the loose and with smaller boundaries in nearly every stadium and express pacers in every team, his work is half done even before the tournament starts. With over 10 thousand runs to his name in ODI Cricket, 25 Centuries and 51 fifties at a Strike Rate of 87, and an average of 38, Chris Gayle has been there, done that. Since this is going to be his final World Cup, he will try his level best to make it three out of three, considering he has won the ICC Champions Trophy and the World T20 for the West Indies. Only the World Cup remains!
David Warner (Australia)
If Chris Gayle is the king of T20 Leagues, David Warner isn’t far behind. The stage is all set for his return to ODI Cricket, now that he has completed the ban that took him away from the game he loves.
Just imagine how he will react on his return to the top order, channeling his anger on himself (he was part of the ball tampering trio in a Test match), and blasting whoever tries to send him back, away from the 22-yard pitch. With 4343 runs at an average of 43 and a strike rate of 96.5, he is the best candidate to open the innings for the defending champions. He also has a tremendous conversion rate because when he crossed fifty, he mostly ends up with a century. Let’s see how much he adds to his 14 ODI tons and 17 ODI half-centuries in a country where he has played County Cricket for Middlesex, Ashes for Australia and will now reach as part of the defending champion team.
Jos Buttler (England)
If England manages to break the jinx of never winning the World Cup and take the trophy home, it will be because of this ‘Buttler’ who goes crazy when he is out in the middle.
During the recently concluded Pakistan series, he was on fire belting good balls for four and little bad ones for sixes. He was unstoppable at home and he is likely to take the form into the mega event where his team is ranked world number 1. He has played most of his Cricket as a Wicket-Keeper but his record as a Batsman puts him at par with the best in the world. In 131 matches, he has scored 3531 runs at an impressive average of 41.54, at a whopping strike rate of 120 and has crossed 50 on 26 occasions, 8 of which have been scores of 100.
Ross Taylor (New Zealand)
He has been part of the Kiwi ODI team since 2006 and was instrumental in their rise in 2011 and 2015 where they qualified for the semifinal and final respectively.
He seems to have found his rhythm after an eye operation after which he has been acting ‘strange, very strange’, mostly for opposition bowlers. In the current year, he has played 11 matches and scored nearly 600 runs at an average of 74 and strike rate of 95. A veteran of 218 ODIs in which he has scored over 8000 runs at an average of 48 and strike rate of 83, with the help of 20 centuries and 47 fifties, Ross Taylor would love to go out in an emphatic fashion. What else could be bigger than winning the World Cup and then retiring into a life of contentment!
Virat Kohli (India)
They say that a batsman must be aggressive, must take others with him while at the crease, should instill fear in opposition, never shy away from taking chances and play according to the situation even if he has more to offer.
That’s the ideal description of Indian skipper Virat Kohli who is by far the most entertaining, the most successful and the most feared batsman in the world at the moment. He may not have scored a double century in ODIs but he is on the verge of reaching the milestone of 11 thousand runs in ODIs. He has scored more ODI centuries than any current batsman (41 to be exact) and the next time he scores a half-century, it will be his fiftieth. His average in ODIs is nearly 60 and strike rate is 93, making him the batsman everyone wants to dismiss so that they could tell their children that they once had dismissed the Great Virat Kohli, the master blaster.