Players to watch out for

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is on the horizon as the cricket extravaganza will start form May 30 in England and Wales, with 10 participating teams. Bangladesh Post looks at the skills of key players and estimates the impact they might put for their respective team in the World Cup.

Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh

When it comes to key players for any team, ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan comes to the forefront. He is the one whom the whole Bangladesh team will be relying on in English soil. Now 32, Shakib is the number one all-rounder in the world and one of Bangladesh’s most iconic players. Shakib has recently batted at No 3 and has openly expressed his desire to retain this position in the World Cup. Though the think-tank is yet to take a final call on whether to promote Shakib higher up the batting order, in a high-pressure event like the World Cup, Shakib's experience is an absolute necessity in the middle-order. Ideally, he should not expose himself against the new ball.

Virat Kohli, India

For India all the focus remains on captain Kohli, the number one batsman in the world in the 50-over format and Test cricket. Skipper Virat Kohli, 30, has scored more than 19,000 runs across all formats of the international game and shone during India’s tour of England last year, despite defeats in the Test and ODI series for the visitors.

Imam-ul-Haq, Pakistan

Many might think that Imam-ul-Haq, a nephew of one of Pakistan’s greatest batsmen Inzamam-ul-Haq, would be under pressure to prove himself at the World Cup. But, in his brief career so far, the southpaw’s bat has done the talking and justified his place in the Pakistan playing 11 at the top of the batting order. In 28 One Day International (ODI) matches played so far, Haq has amassed over 1,300 runs at an average of 57.79, including six hundreds and five fifties.

David Warner, Australia

The excellent form of Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja raised questions as to whether David Warner would even find a place in the Australian World Cup squad. Warner answered the questions in perfect style, not only demanding a place at the World Cup but confirming he will be one of the box-office attractions. The big-hitting southpaw scored 692 runs in 12 innings at the IPL, including eight fifties and one unbeaten century. He averaged 69.20 and boasted a strike rate of 143.86. After his role in the ball-tampering scandal, and subsequent one-year ban, Warner has plenty to prove and leading them to World Cup success could be the perfect reply.

Rashid Khan, Afghanistan

Rashid Khan is one of the important factors that have helped Afghanistan in qualifying for the ICC World Cup 2019, despite the marquee event being reduced to just 10 participants this year. In the ICC ODI bowling rankings, he is placed at number 3 and that should be a proof of his prowess in recent months. Few would be expecting Afghanistan to qualify for semis, but none would deny that they have the goods to inflict a few upsets, with Rashid Khan playing a crucial role.

Ben Stokes, England

A genuine all-rounder who can add fire power lower down the order, Ben Stokes bowls with a pace of over 140 kmph and is an exceptional fielder. He has proved himself as one of the factors that make the England cricket team favourites to win the World Cup. He is extremely passionate in everything he does and his aggression ensures there is seldom a dull moment with him around on the field. He can provide crucial breakthroughs while bowling in the middle overs and change the complexion of the game with a brilliant run-out or a catch at the boundary.