The Debutants To Look Out For At The 2019 Cricket World Cup (Part 1)
May 20, 2019
The Cricket World Cup is undoubtedly the biggest stage in the game of cricket.
Held once in every four years, teams and players from across the globe come together to fight it out for the coveted trophy. The last edition of the tournament was held in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand, when the Michael Clarke-led Australian side defeated New Zealand in the finals.
After 20 years, the World Cup will be held in England, and as teams gear up for the extravaganza, here’s looking at the World Cup debutants from each country who are expected to shine for their team.
In Part I, we look at players from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England and India who can be the X-factor.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
The wily Afghan spinner is the second highest wicket-taker since the last World Cup that was staged Down Under. With 125 wickets in 55 innings and a stunning average of only 15.08, Khan will have an important role to play for his team in the upcoming edition. Though it might be argued that a majority of his wickets have come against weaker teams, his skills can in no way be questioned. Having played T20 leagues across the globe, the 20-year old has been creating waves for his mature bowling, his variations and his ability to outwit the batters at will.
The fact that he bowls in the Powerplays and can stall the runs upfront thus creating pressure further works in his favour. Afghanistan qualified for the tournament largely due to his efforts, and if the team has any hopes of staging a few upsets, Khan’s contributions will be vital.
Marcus Stoinis (Australia)
All-rounders have always held a paramount role in the game of cricket, and with veteran player Clive Lloyd suggesting that all-rounders will shine in England, Stoinis will be fancying his chances. The Australian had a good tournament in the Big Bash League, where he equaled Shaun Marsh’s record of scoring eight consecutive 30+ scores in the tournament. He followed it up with 140 runs in four innings in the series against India, which included a crucial 52 at Nagpur.
He was grossly under-utilized with the ball during the Indian Premier League, but made up for it with the bat, as he amassed 211 runs at a strike rate of 135.25. His recent form, coupled with his ability to pick up crucial wickets in the middle overs and his skills with the bat down the order make him a crucial cog in Australia’s line-up.
Mehidy Hasan (Bangladesh)
The player first burst onto the scene when Bangladesh were hosting England back in 2016 for a Test series. The off-spinner picked up 19 wickets in the two-game series – a record for any debutant. He will play an extremely important role for Bangladesh in the upcoming World Cup, especially in the second half of the tournament when the pitches start turning due to the dry summer that is predicted. Bowling wicket-to-wicket, Mehidy can be a tough bowler to score against, though he is yet to stamp a mark overseas.
He can also be a handy batsman, with his most memorable innings to date being his contribution as an opener in the Asia Cup Final against India in 2018, when he and Liton Das scored 120 for the first wicket on a tough pitch.
Jason Roy (England)
The Surrey opener played his first ODI against Ireland after England’s awful outing at the World Cup four years ago and has been a constant since. He has scored 2938 runs in 74 innings since then to put him in the top 20 English run-getters of all time, and his strike rate of 106.29 is second only to Jos Buttler’s in this list. The aggressive opener also has the highest score for an England player – achieved when he made 180 against Australia early last year. England’s rise to the top can in many ways be attributed to the form that their openers Roy and Jonny Bairstow have displayed in the last few seasons.
Despite Alex Hales’ absence from the Cricket World Cup squad after his ban for using recreational drugs, the form of Roy and Bairstow ensures that the squad will walk into the event without too many issues up top. Though Roy was struggling in the early part of the English season, he is back to his emphatic best in the ongoing series against Pakistan. Scores of 87, 76 and an emotional 114, scored despite spending the night in the hospital with his 2 month daughter, can be seen as a prelude for greater feats during the Cricket World Cup. Being accustomed to the home conditions will further help him out, and if England are to fulfil their dream of being world champions, Roy’s form will be of utter importance.
Jasprit Bumrah (India)
Team India enter the World Cup with many first-timers in their ranks, including Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya. Yet, it is Bumrah who will hold the aces, and his performance will go a long way in determining India’s fate in the event. The pacer from Gujarat is almost everything that a captain could ask for. Possessing the ability to bowl in the Powerplays and at the death economically, he nails the inch-perfect yorkers, generates pace to unsettle the best of batters and upsets their rhythm with his variations. Uncompromising on his accuracy, Bumrah has picked up 85 wickets in 49 matches since his debut in 2016 with a strike rate of 29.4 – the best among fast bowlers who have bowled with an economy rate of of under 4.5 in the last four years.
Though this event is likely to be skewed majorly in favour of the batsmen, bowlers who can strike at crucial intervals and bowl tight line and lengths will be in high demand. Bumrah with his uncanny action is capable of just that and much more, which makes him one of the key players.