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ZODIAC

Found 40 results

  1. Rains have been playing spoilsport in a wide majority of matches played in this year's edition of the ICC World Cup 2019. With 4 of the matches to be played in the World Cup already washed out, fans are increasingly concerned about what the rules are regarding rain and washouts. As per ICC guidelines, all matches are expected to wrap up within an 8 hour-long period and match officials are expected to follow due process regarding abandoning of a match. If conditions improve within this 8 hour period, a pitch inspection determines whether a game can start or resume and if so, then within how much time. If conditions do not improve or if the pitch is not worthy of a game of cricket, the match is abandoned. Reserve days for matches in the group stages have not been implemented this year and this resulted in World Cup chief David Richardson to weigh in on the issue. "Factoring in a reserve day for every match at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup would significantly increase the length of the tournament and practically would be extremely complex to deliver." Statement from David Richardson â¬ï¸ https://t.co/OEOXAJ4h8h — ICC (@ICC) June 11, 2019 Richardson claimed that the resulting longevity of the tournament and external factors like pitch preparation, venue availability, staffing, etc. make reserve days very difficult to incorporate. There is also no guarantee whether the rain will not interfere with matches in reserve days as well. “Factoring in a reserve day for every match at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup would significantly increase the length of the tournament and practically would be extremely complex to deliver,” he said. © Reuters This year's World Cup is also the first to feature a Super Over in cases of rain delays and match abandonments in the semi-final and final stage. In case of extreme weather conditions, it is once again at the discretion of the match officials whether to hold the Super Over at the official time which is 10 minutes after the game, or at a later time. Also weighing in on the debate of whether this was the wrong time to host a huge international competition in England, Richardson said in his statement, “this is extremely unseasonable weather. In the last couple of days we have experienced more than twice the average monthly rainfall for June which is usually the third driest month in the UK.” Whether or not the rules, scheduling and guidelines are appropriate is up for debate, but no cricket fan wants to see highly anticipated and exciting matches being abandoned due to rain.
  2. ICC World Cup 2019 has not seen a lot of cricketing action in the past two days thanks to England's heavy rains, but the enthusiastic cricketing fans present at the venue have plenty to get amused. According to a video that surfaced after the Indian cricket team's match against Aaron Finch's Team Australia, an Englishman named Agnus Denoon was located in front of The Oval in London, selling 'Jhal Muri' to the lot that visited the stadium to experience the spectacle that the match was. To quote one of the Bengali writers here at MensXP, "Jhal Muri is a nostalgic delicacy that takes you down memory lane, back to the train rides you used to take as a child in Kolkata, while relishing the spicy delight." Denoon, who runs an Instagram account by the username '@jhalmuriexpress', decided to surprise the Indian fans of the game in front of the stadium on Sunday evening, as he set up his trolly and sold the dish that he has spent years perfecting in Kolkata. “The only dish that I felt confident to cook was Jhal muri because there is no cooking,” Angus Denoon said. Denoon is not only a fan of Indian snacks but also stays true to the street art that beautifully promotes them and attracts people from all over to helplessly give in to the flavours of the various dishes. View this post on Instagram Give festival - the red one the hot one A post shared by Angus Denoon (@jhalmuriexpress) on Jul 17, 2018 at 2:51am PDT With the Indian cricket team looking to register their third consecutive win this World Cup at Trent Bridge against Kane Williamson's New Zealand cricket team, the fans would most definitely be looking forward to meeting Denoon in Nottinghamshire on Thursday.
  3. While the Indian cricket team is set to finally make their ICC World Cup 2019 debut against Faf du Plessis' Team South Africa at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground in Hampshire the news of an alternate jersey for Virat Kohli's boys is making rounds in the cricketing world. "For televised ICC events all participating teams will be required to provide for two different coloured kits, except for the host country who has a preference in the choice of colour and may, if it chooses to do so, provide only one coloured kit to be worn in all matches throughout the event. In advance of the event the teams will be notified which coloured kit will be worn in each match," the ICC had said in a release. In essence, during the Cricket World Cup 2019, the hosts ie; Eoin Morgan's Team England have the luxury to play in their traditional 1992 World Cup throwback jersey which is light blue in colour. The Men in Blue, ironically enough, will be wearing their alternate jersey which is being speculated to be orange with dark blue designs all over. Abiding by this new rule made by the ICC, countries such as Bangladesh and South Africa have already released their second kit: Who else is excited about the World Cup ? :) pic.twitter.com/PyiBKPHRud — Tamim Iqbal Khan (@TamimOfficial28) May 25, 2019 Team India however have managed to maintain a sense of suspense about their new look. "The BCCI marketing team is still working on the design and the jersey will be unveiled very soon," a BCCI source told PTI. Having said that, IANS has released a tentative design for the new look that India might wear against their match against the World Cup hosts on 30th June 2019. Credit: IANS And while people are presuming this orange jersey to be Team India's 'away kit', IANS quoted a source saying: "There has been a lot of talks and speculation and people have been calling it an away jersey. But it isn't. It is an alternate jersey that the team will wear when they play England on June 30. As per the new rules, the hosts get to retain their jersey colour when they play an ICC event. Since India also have a blue jersey like England, there is a slight change in colour.” Ever since 1992, Team India has been known to don blue jerseys in the shorter formats of the game with slight modifications being made to the uniform every year ever since. Sure, blue is one of the more popular colours in the sporting fraternity but the Bleed Blue squad has established a sense of ownership to the colour with their brilliance on a cricketing field. Watching them play in a different shade will surely be an uncanny experience but hey, change is always good, right?
  4. The Pakistan cricket team is probably the most unpredictable thing about the ICC World Cup 2019, which begins in a couple of days in England & Wales. While their loss to a team like Afghanistan in their warm-up games shows just how bad the team can be, they consist of a few extremely talented players who can take Pakistan cricket to a new high, maybe even get their first ever World Cup victory against the Indian cricket team. Here are the five key players of the team who can win it all for the cricket-crazy nation: 1. Babar Azam © Reuters Referred to as the “Virat Kohli of Pakistan”, Babar Azam plays like the Indian skipper too. At the age of 24, Azam easily dominated some of the deadliest of bowlers on the current time in Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier at the Proteas' home ground in South Africa a couple of months ago and seems to never lose his form with the bat. In his career in adolescence, Azam has scored 2544 runs in just 62 ODIs which includes 8 tons and 11 half-centuries. In 2019, Azam has batted in 10 innings for his team and scored 472 runs with an average of 52.4 runs per innings. 2. Imam-ul-Haq © Reuters Being the nephew of Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imam faced a lot of pressure during his introduction to international cricket during the U-19 Asia Cup in 2012. A fighter that he is, Imam has brought his flamboyant stroke-play to every match that he has played ever since. His debut for the national team of Pakistan occurred in 2017 against Sri Lanka, in which he not only chased the total and won the match but also struck his first ODI hundred. Imam's ODI journey has seen him play in 27 games while scoring a total of 1381 runs including his career's best single-inning performance, a 151 against the World Cup 2019 hosts a couple of weeks ago. 3. Fakhar Zaman © Reuters Probably as unpredictable as the Pakistan team, Fakhar Zaman is the opening batsman who will either bring you runs in big bundles or will not bring them at all. The series against England was the perfect example of his uncertainty as a batsman. Having said that, when he does stick to the crease, there is no force in the cricketing world that could stop him from getting a half-ton for his side. In his career, Zaman has featured in 34 ODIs, putting up 1585 runs on the board with a decent strike rate of 97.83 through his career. He has batted in 10 ODI innings this year and scored 367 runs. 4. Hasan Ali © Reuters While the team, which was once feared for their bowling attack, is now in search for some good bowlers themselves, 24-year-old Hasan Ali is probably the best they have heading into the World Cup, who's reverse swing with a slightly-used ball has got him some important wickets throughout his career. Ever since his 2016 debut in the ODI format of the game, Ali has scalped 78 wickets in just 47 matches with an economy rate of 5.56. 2019 has been a little expensive for the bowler as he has given an average of six runs per over in the past five months while collecting only five wickets. 5. Asif Ali © Reuters Pakistan's bravest athlete, Asif Ali faced a tragic loss in his personal life when cancer took away his two-year-old daughter from him a week ago. Aware of his duties towards the team and his fans, Asif returned to England to join the squad yet again before they take on West Indies on 31st May 2019. Stepping onto the crease at the number seven spot, Ali is known for hitting it strong and long on command. Ali has mustered 342 runs in the 16 games that he has played in the ODI format with a fierce strike rate of 131.03. In 2019, two of the four ODIs that he was a part of saw him raising his bat in the air for half-tons scoring 142 in total this year.
  5. For a team that upstaged the mighty Australians in the final to win the 1996 World Cup, Sri Lanka has, sadly, failed to follow it up at the major ICC events. The Lankan brigade came mighty close to securing their second World title in 2011, only to suffer a brutal heartbreak at the hands of Team India in the final. Since then, a lot has changed, but, sadly for Sri Lanka, not for the greater good. With their decorated cricketers calling time on their respective careers, needless to mention the deep infighting and disharmony, the Lankans have struggled for experience, with the young guns in desperate need for guidance and experience. Having lost the ODI and T20I series against England in October 2018, the Lankans were forced to endure whitewash defeats in New Zealand (3-0) and South Africa (5-0) which pretty much sums up their sorry state of affairs. Going into the World Cup, the Lankan fans will have bare minimum hopes (on realistic grounds) as this squad looks far from Arjuna Ranatunga's champion side from the 1996 edition. While getting their players acclimatised to the English conditions will be the first of the many hurdles they'll face, Sri Lanka will surely need the following players to step up big time if they intend to challenge stronger teams at the World Cup: Lasith Malinga © Reuters For a man who has 322 wickets in 218 ODIs, Lasith Malinga needs no introduction to seam bowling. The 35-year-old has been one of the impactful players for Sri Lanka over the years. And, going into the World Cup this year, the Lankans will desperately need the veteran to once again deliver the goods to pin down the opposition. Age might be catching up with the right-arm bowler, but Malinga's searing inswinging yorkers from his peculiar round-arm action are as destructive and distinctive as they were in the past. His cunning variations and lengths are one of the reasons why he still holds the record for most wickets in consecutive deliveries at the World Cup - something he achieved against South Africa at the 2007 edition. Angelo Mathews © Reuters One of the highly-rated players in the Lankan squad, Angelo Mathews has had his share of ups and downs in the recent past. In 2018, he was stripped of his captaincy owing to Sri Lanka's disastrous campaign at the 2018 Asia Cup. Since then, Mathews has claimed that he was made a "scapegoat" for his side's dismal show and continues to have his differences with coach Chandika Hathurusingha. But, despite his troubles, Mathews remains a vital cog in the Lankan set-up, especially at the coveted World Cup. His presence in the squad not only provides the much-needed solidarity to the otherwise brittle middle-order but also bolsters their bowling attack. Given his recent rifts with the management, Mathews should use the World Cup as an opportunity to reaffirm his credentials as a vital player. Dimuth Karunaratne © Reuters With Malinga struggling to keep the team together and Mathews unable to strike a chord with the team management, the Sri Lankan selectors were left with no choice but to appoint a total outsider - DimuthKarunaratne (coach Hobson's preferred choice) - as the captain of their World Cup side. Returning to ODI cricket after four years, Karunaratne began his captaincy stint on a positive note. During their ODI match against Scotland earlier this month, the left-hander led from the front scoring 77 runs in Sri Lanka's 35-run triumph (D/L) - a victory after eight straight defeats. He might not have been around as much as one would've liked, but Lanka will surely need Karunaratne's leadership skills to bolster their chances at the ICC mega event. Thisara Perera © Reuters Another veteran in the Lankan brigade, Thisara Perera has rediscovered his form to become a key player in recent times. While bowling is ostensibly Perera's major skill, often deployed in the middle-order, he is also capable of delivering furious finishes to an innings. Perera will need to deliver the goods with both bat and ball as an inexperienced side like Sri Lanka could surely use his all-round abilities to stay afloat in the tournament. Kusal Perera © Reuters Making his debut in 2013, Kusal Perera was immediately likened to batting great Sanath Jayasuriya for his style of play. Forging his career with aggression and reliability in equal parts, the left-handed batsman established himself as one of Sri Lanka's go-to openers in limited-overs cricket. Battling injuries in the recent past has surely affected Perera's form, but the strokeplay, the range of shots and the power-hitting style that he possesses will surely be crucial for Sri Lanka in England &Wales. Opening the innings, the Lankan fans will hope Perera rediscovers his form quickly to get them off to flying starts in the tournament.
  6. Despite participating in the tournament since its advent in 1975, New Zealand are yet to lift the coveted trophy. But, under the leadership of Brendon McCullum, the Kiwis came mighty close to clinching the World Cup title in 2015, but a seven-wicket loss at the hands of Australia left them heartbroken. Irrespective of their previous failings, Kane Williamson-led New Zealand has been in good form and are still one of the top contenders for the World Cup title this year. Their 15-man squad is comprised of proven match-winners who are more than capable of powering them to the all-important final of the ICC spectacle. In Williamson and Ross Taylor, the Kiwis have enough experience which adds stability to their batting order. And, the likes of Tim Southee and Trent Boult are more than capable of running through the opposition's batting line-up. May the wicket provide some turn, their spin duo of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi can also come in handy. On paper, New Zealand undoubtedly look solid and fit the profile of a top contender. But, if the Kiwis intend to script a successful campaign, the following five players must come to the party: Trent Boult © Reuters Owing to his ability to move the ball both ways even in unresponsive conditions, Trent Boult, over the years, has established his reputation as one of the most feared fast bowlers in international cricket. The left-arm seamer has been a force to be reckoned with in limited-overs cricket for New Zealand and going into the World Cup, he'll undoubtedly carry the baton for his side. His lightening quick speed and swing abilities given him an unpredictable nature with the new ball which he can execute to perfection in English conditions - something that was in full display during New Zealand's warm-up tie against India recently. Making full use of the conditions, Boult was at his menacing best as he claimed impressive figures of 4-33 to script a comprehensive six-wicket win for his side. Kane Williamson © Reuters Arguably one the of the best batsmen in the world, Kane Williamson has been carrying New Zealand, at times single-handedly, to victories over the years. A true leader and great batsman, Williamson has proved to be the decisive factor for his side in crunch matches. The top-order batsman exudes calm at the crease and frequently puts together stubborn knocks before meticulously organising his field and arranging his bowling attacks to successfully defend low totals. Going into the ICC spectacle, New Zealand will once again look up to their pragmatic captain for inspiration as they aim to clinch their maiden World Cup trophy this year. Ross Taylor © Reuters An aggressive top-order batsman who's capable of taking up the challenge to any bowling attack, Ross Taylor has been living up to the reputation of one of New Zealand's batting mainstays over the years. The right-handed batsman boasts of a vast experience and enough know-how of the game, making him a vital cog in New Zealand's batting line-up. For someone who can adapt to any situation, Taylor's temperament and skills were in full display during New Zealand's six-wicket win over tournament hot-shots India in the warm-up tie recently. With his methodical knock of 71 runs, Taylor anchored the chase for the Kiwis with captain Williamson who smashed 67 runs. His ability to stitch partnerships down in the middle is something that his team will rely upon should they find themselves in a crunch situation at the World Cup. Martin Guptill © Reuters Owing to his explosive batting at the top, Martin Guptill has established himself as one of the most efficient openers in limited-overs cricket. Capable of playing all the shots in the books, Guptill's short-arm pull on one leg is arguably the one that stands out. When it comes to the big events, Guptill thrives on challenges which makes him key to New Zealand's success in England & Wales this year. The 32-year-old finished as tournament's leading run-scorer in the 2015 edition where he scored 547 runs including the blistering double-hundred against West Indies that powered New Zealand into the semifinals. In the upcoming mega event, Guptill will once again be expected to put his best foot forward as the Kiwis aim to avenge their 2015 heartbreak. Mitchell Santner © Reuters An efficient spinner and a capable batsman, Mitchell Santner was labelled as New Zealand's next Daniel Vettori when he first surfaced on international circuit in 2015. Though he might have struggled to keep his place in the side, but there is little doubt over the left-arm spinner's capabilities. In 90 limited-overs matches, Santner has done his bit with a tally of 97 wickets to his name. His bowling expertise was in full display during his last match for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL where he registered impressive figures of 2-13 earlier this year. Apart from spin bowling, Santner is more than handy with the bat. In pressure situations, the 27-year-old can hold fort at one end and, if need be, can go hammer and tongs at the opposition bowlers.
  7. The Englishmen might have given us the sport that we've come to know as cricket, but the cricketing giants are yet to taste success at the ICC World Cup. In the decorated history of the tournament, England have bottled away three chances to lift the coveted trophy. They lost the 1979 final to West Indies before enduring successive heartbreaks in 1987 and 1992 to Australia and Pakistan respectively. But, that was a long time ago, and the upcoming World Cup promises England a chance to redemption, especially when they have the luxury to play in familiar conditions at home. However, that's not the only thing that makes them one of the top title contenders this year. Comprised of proven match-winners, England's 15-man squad looks solid on paper and their recent form is exactly why they've been tipped as one of the top contenders at the ICC spectacle this year. With star players like Joe Root, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler bolstering their batting and the likes of Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood and David Willey aiding the bowling department, England surely have a real chance of thriving at home. But, for the coveted World Cup trophy to be won at home, England will need their players to step up and make an impression in the tournament. Going into the World Cup, here are five key players who can help England establish world domination this year: Joe Root © Reuters For someone who was tipped as a future England captain at the age of 23, Joe Root has not only lived up to the billing, but has also successfully managed to rally his troops in the build-up to the World Cup at home. Rated amongst the top batsmen in the world, Root, on his day, is more than capable of running away with the game. At this year's World Cup, Root will surely be a key player, providing the much-needed stability to their batting line-up. If playing at home doesn't strengthen his case, the fact that Root has slammed 3,498 runs at an average of 58.30 in ODIs (since the 2015 World Cup) arguably makes him a vital cog in England's title aspirations this year. Eoin Morgan © Reuters One of the batting mainstays for England over the years, Eoin Morgan will once again be seen stabilising the innings for his side while plying his trade in the middle-order. The left-handed batsman has all the experience he needs to make this event his own and playing in familiar conditions further helps his cause. Predictions apart, according to the numbers, believe it or not, Morgan is placed fourth in the list of leading run-scorers in ODIs since the 2015 World Cup. The left-hander has scored 3,039 runs at an average of 46.75 - something that will surely bolster England's charge at the World Cup this year. Jos Buttler © Reuters A global T20 superstar, Jos Buttler needs no introduction to superlative batting. Owing to his wide array of strokeplay, the right-handed batsman has been a key contributor to England's cause in limited-overs cricket. Depending on the ever-changing match situations, the 28-year-old is more than capable of handling pressure and batting at any position to help his team. His batting might allows him to bat at the top and get his team off to a flyer, and, if need be, he can also bat down the order and unleash hell on the opposition bowlers to accelerate the innings in death overs. If that's not enough, Buttler's recent form further makes him a nightmare for the opposition. Coming off a brilliant run in the IPL this year, Buttler's skills were in full display during his unbeaten 110-run knock against Pakistan earlier this month. Jofra Archer © Reuters A towering Barbadian, similar to his fellow countryman Chris Jordan, Jofra Archer has been nothing short of being sensational in recent times. After much hue and cry, needless to mention careful deliberation by the selectors, the aggressive pacer was a late addition to England's 15-man squad for the World Cup. While the England team management and selectors took their own time to decide, Archer's inclusion comes as no surprise for the fans. After proving his mettle in the IPL, the 24-year-old also looked impressive against Pakistan in the ODI series earlier this month. The left-arm seamer's blistering speed and cunning variations saw him bagging five wickets including his personal best bowling spell of 1-6 in the recently-concluded series. Jonny Bairstow © Reuters Last, but definitely not the least. Jonny Bairstow has been one of the most consistent and impressive performers with the willow in recent times. His rediscovered form was key to Sunrisers Hyderabad's good show in the IPL earlier this year. The right-handed batsman scored 445 runs in just 10 games for Hyderabad before cutting short his IPL stint to join England's training camp for the World Cup. Expected to open the innings alongside Jason Roy, Bairstow will be expected to get England to a flying start in the World Cup. Batting in familiar conditions, with field restrictions early on, the 29-year-old can prove to be the difference for England. But, apart from smashing opposition bowlers all around the park, Bairstow is also capable of converting his starts into big individual scores - something that will surely come in handy for his team at the World Cup.
  8. Having won two successive World Cups in 1975 and 1979, West Indies almost came close to securing their third, only to lose the final to India in 1983. Since that fateful day, the Windies have managed to enter the playoff stage only on three occasions - a semifinal entry in 1996 and a last-eight place in 2011 and 2015. Needless to mention, their ODI record, over the last five years, has been abysmal by any standards. But, despite their troubles in recent past, their 15-man squad is not the one to be underestimated. The power-packed entertainers like Chris Gayle and Andre Russell are more than capable of winning the matches for their side single-handedly. The two super stars will also have adequate backing from swashbuckling Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope and Darren Bravo. © Reuters The Windies also have the luxurious services of Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse and Carlos Brathwaite at their disposal. These men will not only provide depth to their batting, but are more than capable of giving the ball a fair tonk. The pace attack, that has been their weapon of mass destruction in the early years, looks intimidating and dangerous with the availability of Shannon Gabriel, Oshane Thomas, Kemar Roach and Sheldon Cottrell. On paper at least, the Windies do look like a side that can not only cause problems to the tournament favourites, but can also potentially reach the final. But, for that to happen, the following individuals must step up to the task: Chris Gayle © Reuters One of the most feared and a destructive opening batsman, Chris Gayle has undoubtedly lived up to his reputation as the 'Universe Boss'. The Jamaican marauder has been a force to reckon with in the limited-overs format, clearing the fence and tormenting the opposition bowlers at will. He might have struggled with his running between the wickets, but who cares about taking singles when you can send almost every ball in the stratosphere. A vital cog in the batting line-up for the Windies, the 39-year-old powerhouse has been in ominous form since his return to the ODI set-up after seven months in February this year. In his last five ODI innings, the left-hander has scored 424 runs including two hundreds and as many fifties. And, the fact that the Jamaican marauder is set to retire from ODIs after the World Cup further makes him a threat for the opposition. Andre Russell © Reuters While Gayle has reigned supreme at the top, Andre Russell has carved his own niche to become a key member in West Indies' middle-order. A sweet timer of the ball with enough experience to mould his innings, the 31-year-old's versatility to literally bat anywhere in the middle-order gives his team that extra cushion they'll need in crunch situations. But, that's not the only thing Russell is good at. Sprinting in to deliver his medium-paced deliveries, the right-arm bowler can also be more than handy with the ball. His cunning variations and testing lengths can give the Windies vital breakthroughs in dire situations. For the Windies to launch a stern title charge this year, Russell must carry on his fine form from the IPL to England & Wales. Shimron Hetmyer © Reuters One of the youngest members in the squad, Shimron Hetmyer might lack experience going into the World Cup, but make no mistake, this young gun is more than capable of running away with the game single-handedly. His brutal hitting abilities saw him rapidly gain a reputation as one of most destructive batsmen in recent times. Though the Windies batting line-up has numerous hard-hitting batsmen aiding their cause, but the presence of Hetmyer further bolsters what appears to be a solid middle-order. The youngster has already proven how devastating he can be against the quicks, but negating spin has proved to be a challenge for him in the recent past. With the Windies gunning for the title this year, Hetmyer will surely be expected to come to the party. Jason Holder © Reuters Tasked with the responsibility of leading the side at the age of just 23, Jason Holder might have taken his time, but he has surely emerged as the potent leader of the Windies brigade. A reliable lower middle-order batsman and a steady medium-pace bowler, Holder is also level-headed and mature - something that makes him a befitting captain. In this year's World Cup, Holder will not only be expected to deliver with ball (and bat, if required), but his decision-making abilities on the field and finding the right team balance will have on mark if the Windies intend to give their opponents a run for their money. Carlos Brathwaite © Reuters For someone who wrote himself in the history books by smashing Ben Stokes for four successive sixes to seal the World T20 title in 2016, Carlos Brathwaite has been relatively quiet in the recent years. But, the big Windies all-rounder remains key to his team's success in this year's World Cup. Owing to his explosive batting skills, Brathwaite is more than capable of providing the final flourish to West Indies in the death overs. His hitting abilities can help his team get that extra leeway over their opponents, while his innings can make all the difference in a crunch match. When it comes to bowling, Brathwaite might not be the West Indies' go-to wicket-taking option, but his medium-paced deliveries surely provide them an extra bowling option.
  9. The ICC World Cup 2019 begins in less than a week and fans from all over the world have begun to touch base on the English soil to watch some of their favourite cricketers take on each other in the quest for the greatest honour in the world of the sport, the World Cup trophy, which currently rests with Aaron Finch's Team Australia. In what has come to become more of a ritual than a rivalry between the neighbouring cricketing giants in India and Pakistan, the sledging between the fans from either countries has already begun. Chants of “Mauka Mauka” for example are on the rise yet again. Eagerly awaiting #MaukaMauka series during the #ICCWorldCup2019 @StarSportsIndia @cricketworldcup — Aditya Dharmadhikari (@AddyDharma) May 23, 2019 Having said that, there also exists a feeling of mutual respect and love amongst the people from both the countries for the players who albeit wear different jerseys, are considered the best in the business due to their superhuman efforts in the field through the years. One such fan from Pakistan, namely Shehzad Ul-Hassan, decided to show his affection for the former Indian skipper and veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni by engraving the athlete's name on a green Pakistani jersey. Thankyou @TPLUS for making my day... ðð@msdhoni pic.twitter.com/nsscagDLWw — Shehzad-Ul-Hassan (@shehzad441) May 23, 2019 Such gestures only suggest that regardless of whatever turmoils the two nations share on the political front, there is good in the common people like you and I, who rise above hate to appreciate greatness in the game that we love, regardless of the colours that the athletes wear on their uniform. As soon as Ul-Hassan uploaded this image online, MS Dhoni fans from both the countries took to Twitter to show their appreciation towards his stance: COUNTRY CHANGES BUT THE LOVE OF THALA DOESN'T CHANGE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH THALA — MOHAMMED IBRAHIM (@MOHAMME92244625) May 24, 2019 Cricket Has been beyond boundaries !!! MSD & Virat have a Huge Fans base in Pakistan !!! Great Sportsmans to grace the game of cricket !!! Peace N love always first !!! — à¤à¤¤à¤¿à¤« Aatif عاط٠(@meaatee) May 24, 2019 Countries knew no boundaries to love #MSD! #ForeverMSDian — B.Sharon (@BSharan1) May 24, 2019 MSD is a very unique person who rose up the ranks. That's the reason why we from CSK shower him so much of love to this cricketing living legend. Hats off to you bro for sporting dhoni jersey. — C R SHANKAR (@CRSHANKAR3) May 25, 2019 Bhai un logo kya pta hum pakistani Ms dhoni ko kitne chahte hain. #LovesFromPakistan ðµð° — Msd/Arijit/Muntashirâ (@itx_thakursahab) May 24, 2019 Although, the Men in Blue have had the upper hand against Team Pakistan when it comes to World Cup duels, as they have one every single game, the level of excitement throughout the stadium never seems to dim even a little whenever these titans clash. India and Pakistan are scheduled to lock horns on 16th June 2019.
  10. Ever since making their ICC World Cup debut in 1992, South Africa have struggled to justify their talent. The perennial underachievers of cricket, the Proteas have reached the semifinals on four occasions but just couldn't hold their nerve to go all the way. But, as their hunt for an elusive maiden title goes on, the current crop of players and the new-look South African squad offer great promise going into this year's World Cup. Led by Faf du Plessis, South Africa's 15-man squad is a healthy composition of youth and experience. From batting to bowling, the Proteas have a lot of options to choose from but the key will be to find the right team balance to launch a strong title charge in England & Wales. © Reuters The availability of Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Du Plessis, David Miller, JP Duminy and Rassie van der Dussen in their squad allows the Proteas to forge a strong batting line-up. On the other hand, the likes of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi should make up for a competitive bowling attack. When it comes to all-rounders, the expertise of Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris will also come in handy for South Africa. On paper, the Proteas look solid but a lot will depend on their key players if the Du Plessis brigade aims to break the duck this year. Quinton de Kock © Reuters Arguably one of the most destructive openers in the world, Quinton de Kock needs no introduction to hitting the ball hard and long. The left-handed batsman has made the opening slot his own on the back of consistent performances for South Africa over the years. Going into the World Cup, he will surely be South Africa's first-choice for the opening slot, while Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram will be seen fighting to be his partner. Going by his form, De Kock is coming off a successful IPL campaign with Mumbai Indians (MI) who romped to their fourth title earlier this year. De Kock was key to their success while batting at the top and the Proteas will hope he carries his fine form into the World Cup. Given his batting might, De Kock will be bestowed with the responsibility of getting his team to a flying start and then build on his innings to propel South Africa to a big total (or chase down a target). Faf du Plessis © Reuters One of the most experienced candidates in the squad, Faf du Plessis will be seen leading the charge for South Africa in the World Cup. The 34-year-old has proved his credentials as a potent leader with favourable results for his side over the years. And, in England & Wales, the Pretoria-born cricketer will once again be expected to lead from the front to aid his team's cause. Apart from rallying his troops and making decisive calls on the field, Du Plessis has another key role in the South African side which is chasing the elusive title this year. Du Plessis' experience and craftsmanship with the bat will see him stabilising the middle-order. And, in case of a batting collapse, Du Plessis can surely come in handy to hold fort at one end. Chris Morris © Reuters Chris Morris might have been included in the South African squad as a last-minute replacement for injured Anrich Nortje, but that shouldn't overshadow his capabilities as a proven all-rounder. The 32-year-old possesses the pace and death-bowling skills that adds teeth to the Proteas' bowling attack, while his explosive batting provides the much-needed depth to their batting. Going into the World Cup, Morris will be seen providing adequate support to the likes of Rabada, Steyn and Ngidi in the middle overs. And, his role as a deadly finisher should also help the Proteas to accelerate the innings in the death overs. Kagiso Rabada © Reuters In recent years, no other fast bowler has managed to capture the imagination of fans the way Kagiso Rabada has. At the age of 23, Rabada has already established himself as one of the most consistent fast bowlers in the world. Tipped to be a South African great, Rabada has topped the ICC's bowler rankings in both Tests and ODIs, making him South Africa's key figures at this year's World Cup. Clocking speeds of 150kmph with a languid action, Rabada's ability to swing the ball both ways and delivering yorkers with pinpoint accuracy makes him Du Plessis' go-to man to get a breakthrough in dire situations. If that's not enough, Rabada's scintillating form (25 wickets in 12 IPL matches this year) further makes him a deadly weapon for the Proteas. Imran Tahir © Reuters Aged 40, Pakistan-born South African spinner Imran Tahir might seem old, but the age-factor takes a backseat every time you throw a ball at him. Known for his biggest weapon - the googly, Tahir has earned a reputation for being able to dictate the middle-periods of games while providing vital breakthroughs to his side. And, over the years, Tahir has proved to be a valuable weapon for the Proteas. A spinner whose celebratory run lasts longer than most fast-bowler's run-ups, Tahir has undeniably established himself as one of the best limited-overs leg-spinners of his time. Playing his last ODI tournament, Tahir carries his brilliant form from the IPL to the World Cup. Taking 26 wickets (most in IPL this season) and almost propelling Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to the title, Tahir could very well turn out to be the deciding factor for South Africa in the World Cup.
  11. Despite participating in the tournament since its advent in 1975, New Zealand are yet to lift the coveted trophy. But, under the leadership of Brendon McCullum, the Kiwis came mighty close to clinching the World Cup title in 2015, but a seven-wicket loss at the hands of Australia left them heartbroken. Irrespective of their previous failings, Kane Williamson-led New Zealand has been in good form and are still one of the top contenders for the World Cup title this year. Their 15-man squad is comprised of proven match-winners who are more than capable of powering them to the all-important final of the ICC spectacle. In Tim Southee and Trent Boult, the Kiwis have a deadly seam-bowling combination that is potent enough to trouble opposition batsmen on the seaming surfaces of England & Wales. The spin-bowling department is bolstered with the presence of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi - a duo that has proved its mettle in the past. © Reuters When it comes to the batting line-up, Martin Guptill is an obvious choice for the opening slot, while the likes of Colin Munro and Tom Latham could be seen fighting for the other spot at the top. Captain Williamson is a preferred option at No. 3 and the availability of experienced Ross Taylor is likely to bring stability to their middle-order. The Kiwis have also included three all-rounders - Colin de Grandhomme, Jimmy Neesham and Munro - whose presence doesn't just bolster their batting, but also add teeth to the bowling department. In the last edition, Guptill was the leading run-getter for the Kiwis with 547 runs, including two hundreds and a fifty, in nine matches. On the other hand, Boult was their leading wicket-taker with 22 scalps and an impressive economy of under 5 in nine matches. Going into the mega event, Williamson will need to rally his troops and ensure they click as a unit when they begin their campaign against Sri Lanka on 1st June at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff. Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor.
  12. The buzz around the ICC World Cup 2019 has already started with the first day of warm-up games taking place yesterday, during which South Africa won their match against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan were able to defeat Pakistan in an action-packed run chase. Sure, these games are really exciting but when it comes to the cricket World Cup, the rivalry between India and Pakistan through the years and decades, always comes to mind. And even though the cricketers from both sides have been giving the same politically correct answers throughout history, people still can't get enough of it. In the pre-World Cup, Captains' Press Conference at the Film Shed in London, a reporter asked Virat Kohli and Sarfaraz Ahmed a question about the kind of pressure the 'India-Pakistan' rivalry puts them under. Kohli replied with a very diplomatic answer. He said “India versus Pakistan is always a very anticipated match… but if you ask the players, it is very different from how the fans look at the game compared to how the players play it. Yes, you feel the anticipation and the excitement of the fans when you enter the stadium but when you enter the field, it is professional.” “For us, it is just another game that you need to win as a team. I am sure all the cricketers from both sides feel that as soon as you start playing the game, it eventually is a game of bat and ball, and that's all you need to focus on.” Sounds like a good answer to us. Top marks. Now it was time for the Pakistan captain to answer the same question as the reporters and the camera turned to Sarfaraz Ahmed, expecting him to say something. And like a cunning student who used to wait for the rest of the students to say the answer, Ahmed said: “My answer is also the same. Nothing different. No difference.” Now, we are not making fun of the Pakistan captain and his response, that has all the potential in the world to become a great meme, by the way. via GIPHY No, speaking English is secondary of being able to play a great game of cricket and being of use to your side that is in pursuit of a win against a rival team and the Pak skipper has done his fair share of work to bring his side to the stage they are on today. Full credit to him. The anticipated World Cup clash between India and Pakistan is scheduled to take place on 16th June 2019.
  13. Ever since they made their World Cup debut in 1999, Bangladesh have managed to stick around the quadrennial event. Their best finish at a World Cup, however, came in the 2015 edition, during which they reached the quarterfinals whilst also defeating England once in the group stages. Their journey only came to an end, once they locked horns against neighbouring rivals, India in the quarterfinals. Heading into the ICC spectacle, the Tigers seem to be a well-balanced team and their fierce bowling attack might be their strong point. Here are the five key players of the Bangladeshi team the world needs to look out for: 1. Mashrafe Mortaza © Reuters Captain Mashrafe Mortaza has to be the most valuable cricketer in the Bangladeshi lineup. The amount of experience he has gathered in the past 18 years ever since he made his debut against Zimbabwe in 2001, will come to good use here. It is under his leadership that the talent-laden yet fragile team has done whatever good that they have in international cricket. The right-arm pacer has been a part of 209 ODI matches and has taken 265 wickets with a moderate economy of 4.82. While the fast bowler's numbers have become worse with time and he missed out on a couple of matches thanks to multiple knee injuries, his presence in the roster has to do a lot with his ability to guide the younger players. 2. Shakib Al Hasan © Reuters The ODI tri-series between Bangladesh, Ireland and the West Indies not only saw the team make a comeback to their form after being dominated by New Zealand in February but also saw the rise of Shakib Al Hasan to claim the top spot in the ICC ODI rankings for all-rounders. Having played in 198 ODIs throughout his career, Hasan has scored 5717 runs and has taken 249 wickets too. In 2019 so far, he has played three ODIs, hit 140 runs and has taken two wickets. 3. Rubel Hossain © Reuters The 29-year-old pacer is known for his ability to limit the batsmen from putting up big numbers, especially during batting power plays and death overs. The presence of Hossain in the team gives Bangladesh the high pace that they otherwise lack. Getting alongside Mustafizur Rahman, he can produce some great bowling spells late in the game. Ever since he debuted for his team as a teenager, a decade ago, Rubel has played in 97 ODI games and picked up 123 wickets in the process and is currently ranked at the 63rd spot in ICC Rankings for ODI bowlers. 4. Mahmudullah Riyad © Reuters After Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah Riyad is expected to do wonders both as a batsman and with the ball. Due to the lack of good hitters in the sixth and the seventh spot in the Bangladeshi batting order, Riyad might feel a certain amount of pressure while heading towards the crease if the batsmen ahead of him fail to provide. He has played 175 ODIs till date in which he has made 3757 runs while also taking 76 wickets. IN 2019, Mahmudullah has only participated in six games, during which he has made 120 runs and scalped just one wicket. 5. Tamim Iqbal © Reuters Yet another veteran with World Cup experience in his pocket. After making his debut in 2007, Iqbal was called for the World Cup 2007 and then made a return for the 2015 World Cup. As a vital cog of the Tigers' batting order, Iqbal has spent more than a decade's worth of time on the crease. In 193 ODI games, Iqbal has scored a staggering 6636 runs and is having a great 2019 season during which he has scored 186 runs in just seven innings which includes two half-tons and an 80-run-performance.
  14. The 'TsuNaMo' that struck India yesterday, may have come as a surprise to many, but from what we can tell, the majority of Indian citizens not only expected it to happen, but also ensured that their expectations come to pass by voting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power for a second term. We have seen some big wins this election season, and some even bigger winning margins that politicians have secured against their competitors. Here are the 12 biggest wins of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 and the highest winning margins secured by the candidates: 1. Amit Shah (BJP) - 5.57 Lakh © Twitter BJP President Amit Shah won by a margin of over 5.57 lakh votes from the Gandhinagar constituency in Gujarat, against Congress' C. J. Chavda. 2. Narendra Modi (BJP) - 4.5 Lakh © Twitter Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a sweeping win in the Varanasi constituency by a margin of more than 4.5 lakh votes against the Samajwadi Party (SP)'s Shalini Yadav. 3. Rahul Gandhi (Congress) - 4.31 Lakh © Twitter Congress President Rahul Gandhi won from the Wayanad constituency in Kerala by a margin of 4.31 lakh votes against Communist Party of India (CPI)'s P. P. Suneer. 4. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (BJP) - 3.93 Lakh © Twitter BJP's Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore from the Jaipur Rural constituency won by a margin of 3.93 lakh votes against Congress' Krishna Poonia. 5. Sadhvi Pragya Thakur (BJP) - 3.64 Lakh © Twitter BJP's Sadhvi Pragya Thakur defeated Congress leader Digvijay Singh in the Bhopal constituency by a margin of 3.64 lakh votes. 6. Rajnath Singh (BJP) - 3.47 Lakh © Twitter Home Minister Rajnath Singh won the Lucknow seat against SP candidate Poonam Sinha by a margin of 3.47 lakh votes. 7. Kanimozhi (DMK) - 3.47 Lakh © Twitter Kanimozhi of DMK won by a 3.47 lakh vote margin against BJP's Tamilisai Soundararajan from the Thoothukkudi constituency in Tamil Nadu. 8. Karti Chidambaram (Congress) - 3.32 Lakh © Twitter Karti Chidambaram of Congress won from the Sivaganga constituency against BJP's H. Raja by a margin of 3.32 lakh votes. 9. Tejasvi Surya (BJP) - 3.31 Lakh © Twitter BJP's Tejasvi Surya from the Bagalur constituency in Karnataka won by a margin of 3.31 lakh votes against Congress' B. K. Hariprasad. 10. Gautam Gambhir (BJP) - 3.04 Lakh © Twitter BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir won by a margin of 3.04 lakh votes from the East Delhi constituency against Congress' Arvinder Singh Lovely. 11. Dayanidhi Maran (DMK) - 3.01 Lakh © Twitter DMK's Dayanidhi Maran from Chennai Central constituency defeated PMK's Sam Paul S. R. by a margin of 3.01 lakh votes. 12. Ravi Kishan (BJP) - 3.01 Lakh © Twitter Ravi Kishan of BJP defeated SP's Rambhual Nishad by a margin of 3.01 lakh votes from the Gorakhpur constituency.
  15. Ever since winning the 2015 World Cup, the Australian cricket team has found themselves amidst controversies, bad reputation and spiralling form. The suspension of two of their finest cricketers in Steve Smith and David Warner in the infamous sandpaper gate in South Africa last year, the resignation of Darren Lehmann after the news of a toxic environment in the dressing room broke out and Cricket Australia being reprimanded for forcing the athletes to “win at all costs”, are only some of the problems that shook the core of cricket Down Under in the past year or so. Nonetheless, Australia looked like their old self during their tour to India when after losing two ODIs, they made an unbelievable comeback to win the next three and the series too, and they achieved this feat without Warner and Smith. Now that they are here, they might just be able to give major teams like England and India a run for their money if they want to take away the title from the reigning champions. Here's a list of five Australian key players this World Cup: 1. David Warner © Reuters Let's not kid ourselves here. Despite being suspended for a year, David Warner is probably the best batsman on the Australian roster right now and has enough skills to single-handedly take Australia to a respectable finish this World Cup. Making appearances in 106 ODIs for his country, Warner has scored a total of 4343 runs. Being one of five players with prior World Cup experience, Warner starting the batting order with skipper Aaron Finch will help the team be better. 2. Aaron Finch © Reuters Being the captain of the reigning championship team brings added pressure on Aaron Finch's shoulders. However, keeping in mind his new found form in the ODI format against Pakistan surely gives him a sense of confidence in his leadership. Although Finch had a great opening partner in Usman Khawaja, Warner certainly is an upgrade and will allow Finch to settle in and play in a more composed manner. In his career, the skipper has played in 109 ODIs and scored 4052 runs and has had a great year till now, putting up 634 runs in 13 ODIs. 3. Pat Cummins © Reuters With Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood sitting out of the competition due to injuries, Pat Cummins will be leading the bowling attack with the new ball with which he has been absolutely deadly, bringing in variations in his speed, swing and seam. Having played in just six ODIs, Cummins' bowling performance has been exceptional as he has bagged 17 wickets while giving away a moderate 4.39 runs per over. His middle to lower order batting prowess also adds to the Australian batting muscle and could be useful if his side finds itself in wicket-trouble. 4. Glenn Maxwell © Reuters Be it T20s or ODIs, when the captain of the fielding side sees Glenn Maxwell walk up to the pitch and practice his big shots in the air, he ought to send a couple of his boys to the boundary. Such is the terror of this 30-year-old athlete. In the bowling department, Maxwell is ready to take the charge for the spinners alongside Adam Zampa. His strike rate during the previous World Cup was a scary 182 and has scored 2,700 in 100 matches that he has been a part of throughout his career. In 2019, Maxwell has scored 458 runs in 12 ODI matches. 5. Mitchell Starc © Reuters One of the scariest bowlers of the cricketing world, Mitchell Starc is bound to leave a mark in England and Wales this World Cup. Even though he played his previous ODI in November 2018, his ability to deliver the yorker along with enough skills to hold on to the crease as a lower-order batsman make him a perfect fit for the Australians. Starc has played 75 ODIs and picked 145 scalps including five mind-boggling 5-wicket hauls. He also happens to be the only Australian bowler to make the squad for both 2015 and 2019.
  16. Making their second appearance at the ICC World Cup this May, the Afghanistan cricket team is full of surprises with young talents taking the competition to another level altogether. Even though the Afghanistan Cricket Board shockingly sacked the experienced captain, Asghar Afghan less than a month before the tournament began, they still have a lot of talent in the squad. Here is a list of the five key players of the team who can make a difference during their World Cup journey: Mohammad Shahzad © Reuters The righty wicketkeeper-batsman, Mohammad Shahzad is an explosive batsman who can change the momentum of the game in a hurry. Having made his ODI debut a decade ago in a game against the Netherlands, Shahzad has scored a total of five centuries and 13 half-centuries. Opening the batting order to Afghanistan, a lot will be riding on Shahzad's shoulders with the hopes of providing his side with a flying start, especially under pressure against big teams like India and England. Rashid Khan © Facebook/Rashid Khan One of the top all-rounders of international cricket, Rashid Khan made a staggering start to his ODI career against Zimbabwe in 2015 and has never looked back since. Till date, Khan has played 57 ODIs and picked 123 wickets in his relatively young journey in international cricket with an amazing economy rate of just 3.90 runs per over. Mohammad Nabi © Reuters The most experienced player on the Afghan roster in ODI cricket, Nabi has participated in 111 matches and has scored a total of 2565 runs with the career best individual score of 116 runs. Coming in to bat in the middle of the batting order Nabi is accustomed to playing under pressure and leading his side to victory. In the bowling department, Nabi has bagged 118 scalps with a good economy rate of 4.25 runs per over. Alongside Rashid Khan, Nabi will be leading the Afghanistan bowling attack as well as act as a last resort on the crease, in case things go south for the team. Gulbadin Naib © Reuters Being promoted to the role of the captain of the Afghan side, Gulbadin Naib was put under the microscope. The selectors clearly feel that Naib's medium-fast bowling would fit perfectly with the conditions of the English pitches. Naib is also believed to be comfortable batting on any position across the order which is an added benefit of having him as the decision maker of the squad. Ever since his debut in 2011, Naib has scored 807 runs off 52 matches with a personal best of 82*. As far as his bowling is concerned, the skipper has 40 wickets under his name. Hazratullah Zazai © Twitter/Hazratullah Zazai Making his World Cup debut, the 21-year-old batsman, Hazratullah Zazai is famous for hitting big shots and has come to be known as “the Afghan Chris Gayle”. His the six one-dayers that he has played, Zazai has scored 155 runs with the career best of 67 and a strike rate of 106.89. Opening the Afghan innings alongside Mohammad Shahzad, Zazai may turn out to be that X factor that allows the team to create upsets by defeating at least a couple of top-tier teams.
  17. As the ICC World Cup 2019 approaches, the Justin Langer-coached Australian cricket team has had quite the journey. With the infamous 2018 ball-tampering scandal in South Africa leading to the suspension of two of their greatest assets in Steve Smith and David Warner, and then the struggling stint in Test cricket under the leadership of Tim Paine, the team with the most World Cup titles under their belt are surely the underdogs this year. Thanks to a couple of series between their ban being lifted and the upcoming tournament, and some added help with the twelfth season of the Indian Premier League, Warner and Smith have provided a small boost to the squad, but the Aussies' bowling lineup could become their Achilles heel, especially with Josh Hazlewood missing from the roster. © Reuters Starting out their World Cup campaign against Rashid Khan's Team Afghanistan at the Country Ground in Bristol on 1st June 2019, skipper Aaron Finch's strategy must include taking big wickers in a hurry. The loss of Jhye Richarson to injury along with the off-form of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins with the bat, Team Australia cannot afford to let the opposition score big totals in the 50-over format of the game. Keeping in mind the bad performances put up by the fast bowlers in the 5-game ODI series between Pakistan and World Cup hosts, Team England, Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Coulter-Nile might not be the best bowlers for the five-time champions. Under such circumstances, Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa might be the key players for the team. Spinners with the ability to hit big shots, the duo might turn out to be crucial for a team short on firepower. Maxwell's strike rate during the previous World Cup was a scary 182 and went on to make a name for himself as one of the most terrifying batters from Down Under. © Reuters Finally, the chances of Langer's boys winning the championship look to be extremely slim. While players like Smith, Warner, Starc and Maxwell would have made for an All-Star team, they are being haunted by something or the other, be it bad form, serious injuries or simply the lack of will to win. Hopefully, under the guidance of Langer and a divergence from the 'win at all costs' mentality inside Cricket Australia, the mood inside the dressing room has brightened up a little, especially with the display of consistency by the team of lately. Squad: Aaron Finch(c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey(wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner and Adam Zampa.
  18. The newest team that will have the honour of playing against some of the greatest names in the world of cricket such as Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, Eoin Morgan and others, Afghanistan could take the ICC World Cup 2019 by storm this June. For a squad that recorded their first Test win in just their second game, albeit against Ireland, the Afghan side is full of surprises and can not be overlooked by any of the favourites, if they wish to bring home that title with them. The Afghanistan Cricket Board did create shockwaves internationally by sacking captain Asghar Afghan a month before the World Cup, with Gulbadin Naib taking the high chair. Prior to becoming the leader of the team, Naib struggled to find himself a spot in the roster. What makes his appointment a lot more interesting is the kind of comparisons that were made between Naib and Karim Janat, the younger brother of the former skipper, and he is now no more than a reserve for the final Afghan squad. A few logical reasons that come out of giving Naib the highly prestigious spot in the team are the bowling conditions of the English pitches that are in favour of the 28-year-old medium-fast bowler and his fatal off-cutters. His ability to bat on almost any position down the batting order also adds to his resume. © Reuters A negative byproduct of appointing Naib as the skipper is the weak leadership quality at the top. Inexperienced in leading a senior team, the bowler is bound to face a little bit of turbulence, at least in the beginning, just like the 21-year-old Rashid Khan did, during Afghanistan's World Cup qualifiers against Zimbabwe. Even though Naib will lead the team to England and Wales, the World Cup journey of Afghanistan will major depend on Khan, who is currently the world No 1 ranked one-day allrounder according to ICC Player rankings. © Facebook/Rashid Khan 21-year-old Hazratullah Zazai aka “the Afghan Chris Gayle”, has also made a name for himself for hitting big shots in his short ODI career with the national team. A fine example of his explosiveness was witnessed by the cricketing fraternity in February when he smashed the second highest T20I total, hitting 16 sixes in a 162* run innings against Ireland. Having said that, the team's batting lineup is still a bit raw and highly volatile and in dire need of some balance. This is where Rahmat Shah steps in. A consistent batsman with the highest average in the roster in both ODI and Test formats of the game. While not a lot of people are expecting Team Afghanistan to win the World Cup championship this year, they are still more than capable of ruining the chances of winning for favourites like Virat Kohli's India or Eoin Morgan's England, especially in the 10-team format that quadrennial tournament is following this time over. Squad: Gulbadin Naib(c), Mohammad Shahzad(wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan and Mujeeb ur Rahman.
  19. For a team that upstaged the mighty Australians in the final to win the 1996 World Cup, Sri Lanka has, sadly, failed to follow it up at the major ICC events. The Lankan brigade came mighty close to securing their second World title in 2011, only to suffer a brutal heartbreak at the hands of Team India in the final. With their decorated cricketers calling time on their respective careers, needless to mention the deep infighting and disharmony, the Lankans have struggled for experience, with the young guns in desperate need for guidance and experience. Their 15-man squad lacks experience and probably the leadership to bring them all together to launch a title charge in England & Wales. The Sri Lankan selectors faced quite a challenge in finding the captain. Lasith Malinga, undeniably a match-winner for his side, has failed to thrive in the captaincy role and his inability to bring everyone together saw his lose 12 games on the trot. The other option was Angelo Mathews, who led their charge in the last World Cup, but he turned down the offer owing to his differences with coach Chandika Hathurusingha. One might wonder, why they didn't go back to Dinesh Chandimal? But, the fact that he didn't want Malinga in his World Cup squad should adequately answer that question. Thus, in the end, the selectors were left with no choice but to appoint a total outsider - Dimuth Karunaratne (coach Hobson's preferred choice) - as the captain for their World Cup side. And, the fact that Karunaratne played an ODI more than four years ago, pretty much sums up the plight of this Lankan brigade. © Reuters But, that's not the only gamble the selectors have opted for. Their first-choice wicket-keeper - Kusal Janith Perera - is actually a specialist batsman who doesn't inspire confidence in his keeping abilities. More importantly, he is injury prone and the backup option Kusal Mendis doesn't keep wickets, even in domestic cricket. Niroshan Dickwella has been keeping wickets for the Lankans across all formats over the last 24 months, but his inconsistent batting performances saw him getting snubbed from the World Cup squad. But, it's Chandimal's axing that has been hard nut to crack for everyone. Despite his strike-rate in the mid-70s, Chandimal has been a proven keeper and his omission, along with Dickwella's, might come back to haunt them in the World Cup. Lahiru Thirimanne has been a vital cog in their batting department, but in 2017, the selectors got sick of watching the left-hander fail one innings after another. He was kept at bay from the ODIs for the next 18 months, until a hundred in his last domestic game made the selectors feel otherwise. Suddenly, the Lankan think-tank feel that he can propel them into the knockout stages of the ICC event. But, the reality is completely different. © Reuters On the other hand, their decision to fly three spinning all-rounder - Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis and Milinda Siriwardene - to the World Cup, where the English conditions are bound to make them obsolete for their team's cause, is another riddle for us. Apart from De Silva, Siriwardene was tried as a World Cup hopeful and then dumped in October 2017, while Mendis has not played an ODI in more than four years. In totality, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has opted for wholesale changes rather than backing the players who were in the system for the last 12 months. They seem to have also gone back on the policies that were put in place to shape them up for the World Cup. While it remains to be seen how this clueless Lankan brigade fares in the ICC event when they begin their campaign against New Zealand on 1st June, the erratic selections are surely a sign of worry for their fans. Squad: Dimith Karunaratne(c), Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera(wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis(wk), Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardana, Avishka Fernando, Jeevan Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal.
  20. Having won two successive World Cups in 1975 and 1979, West Indies almost came close to securing their third, only to lose the final to India in 1983. Since that fateful day, the Windies have managed to enter the playoff stage only on three occasions - a semifinal entry in 1996 and a last-eight place in 2011 and 2015. Needless to mention, their ODI record, over the last five years, has been abysmal by any standards. Placed at a lowly eighth spot in the ICC ODI Rankings, the Windies might have struggled to match the heroics of their predecessors in the past, but, going into the World Cup, they are as a big a threat as there can be for their rivals, following the script of Kapil Dev-led India's triumph in 1983. Back in the 1983 World Cup, Kapil's Devils were ranked as outsiders who weren't expected to stand a chance against the proven opponents in the tournament, let alone run away with the title. They were consistently underestimated by stronger opponents like England, Australia and West Indies throughout the event - a mistake that eventually cost them all a shot at the World title. © Reuters In 2019, the Windies find themselves in a similar situation. Owing to their dismal form in recent years, no one is expecting them to go the distance. And, quite expectedly, top contenders like India, England and Australia are likely to underrate the Caribbean giants in the upcoming event. But, can the Windies be underestimated? Not a good idea, to say the least. The 15-member squad announced by Cricket West Indies (CWI) for the World Cup is not the one we can underestimate. The power-packed entertainers like Chris Gayle and Andre Russell are more than capable of winning the matches for their side single-handedly. The two superstars will also have adequate backing from swashbuckling Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope and Darren Bravo. © Reuters The Windies also have the luxurious services of Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse and Carlos Brathwaite at their disposal. These men will not only provide depth to their batting but are more than capable of giving the ball a fair tonk. The pace attack, that has been their weapon of mass destruction in the early years, looks intimidating and dangerous with the availability of Shannon Gabriel, Oshane Thomas, Kemar Roach and Sheldon Cottrell. On paper at least, the Windies do look like a side that can not only cause problems to the tournament favourites, but can also potentially reach the final. But, for that to happen, the men from the Caribbean need to perform in their respective roles, and, more importantly, click as a unit. So, can West Indies finally claim their place back at the top of the heap? We'll find out when they begin their campaign on 31st May against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. Squad: Jason Holder(c), Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope(wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Fabien Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Ashley Nurse.
  21. Ever since making their ICC World Cup debut in 1992, South Africa have struggled to justify their talent. The perennial underachievers of cricket, the Proteas have reached the semifinals on four occasions but just couldn't hold their nerve to go all the way. But, as their hunt for an elusive maiden title goes on, the current crop of players and the new-look South African squad offer great promise going into this year's World Cup. Led by Faf du Plessis, South Africa's 15-man squad is a healthy composition of youth and experience. The availability of Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla gives the Proteas three solid opening options. While De Kock is a sure-shot pick for the opening slot, Markram and Amla will possibly have to compete for the other spot at the top. Just like their opening options, South Africa have plenty to choose from for their pace attack. There's Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi who will surely come in handy in the English conditions. They will find adequate assistance from Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo who seem to be making the most of their opportunities lately. Reuters While the surfaces in England and Wales aren't expected to favour spin bowling, but, if need be, South Africa will be more than happy to call upon veteran Imran Tahir who is coming off a spectacular run in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL). More importantly, since the master leg-spinner has announced his retirement after the ICC World Cup, Tahir will be eager to make an impression in his ODI swansong. On the other hand, Tabraiz Shamsi has also been roped in to provide the Proteas a second spin option. The left-arm wrist spinner has been around the circuit for a while now, but the exploits of Tahir has kept him at bay. Going into the mega event, Shamsi can also use it as an opportunity to prove his credentials as a potential long-term replacement for the departing Tahir. Reuters In the batting department, South Africa's top-heavy line-up is followed by a pretty decent, but yet to be tested, middle-order which is comprised of Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller and JP Duminy, with the latter's knowledge and adaptability putting his side in good stead. For those unfavourable times, the Proteas also have the cushion of Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris to accelerate the innings in key moments of the game. All in all, the Du Plessis-led brigade has plenty of options in almost all the departments, but, at the cricket's biggest stage, South Africa will need to find their winning combination, not to mention click as a unit, if they intend to get rid of the 'chokers' tag. Can they really do it? We'll see when they open their campaign against England on 30th May at the Kennington Oval in London. Squad: Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(wk), David Miller, JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi.
  22. Following a heavy dosage of Twenty20 (T20) action in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), the cricketing action now moves on to the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) in arguably the biggest spectacle - ICC World Cup - the sport has seen. Slated to begin from 30th May, the 12th edition of the ICC spectacle promises to be an exciting affair with the participating nations vying for cricket's biggest honour. One of the highly-anticipated sporting events in the world, the quadrennial cricket event garners public interest and captures the imagination of enthusiasts like no other. Four years after the first-ever ODI match was played, the organisers blessed the cricket fans with the maiden World Cup that was held in England in 1975. Comprised of eight teams - Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and West Indies (the six Test nations at the time), the first World Cup was won by the Windies who got the better of the Aussies in the final at Lord's. It was for the very first time the fans got a taste of exciting competition in cricket. And, since then, there has been no turning back for this massive event. © Reuters Unlike the 2015 tournament where 14 teams were seen participating via two groups, this year will witness only 10 teams who'll compete in a single group. As per this year's format, each team will be seen playing with the other nine sides once, and the top four at the end of the group stage will progress to the semifinals. Having dominated the tournament with a record five title wins, Australia will be eager to defend their crown when they begin their campaign this year. However, they'll have to fend off strong title contenders including the likes of India, hosts England and New Zealand. After 10 warm-up games, the coveted tournament will kickstart with England taking on South Africa at Kennington Oval in London. A total of 45 games will be played before the tournament ascertains its semifinalists, who'll square off in a bid to secure their berth for the all-important final on 14th July. Schedule Date Match Venue Time 30-May England vs South Africa Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 31-May Windies vs Pakistan Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 1-Jun New Zealand vs Sri Lanka Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 3:00 PM 1-Jun Afghanistan vs Australia County Ground, Bristol 6:00 PM 2-Jun South Africa vs Bangladesh Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 3-Jun England vs Pakistan Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 4-Jun Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 3:00 PM 5-Jun South Africa vs India The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 5-Jun Bangladesh vs New Zealand Kennington Oval, London 6:00 PM 6-Jun Australia vs Windies Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 7-Jun Pakistan vs Sri Lanka County Ground, Bristol 3:00 PM 8-Jun England vs Bangladesh Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 3:00 PM 8-Jun Afghanistan vs New Zealand The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 6:00 PM 9-Jun India vs Australia Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 10-Jun South Africa vs Windies The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 11-Jun Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka County Ground, Bristol 3:00 PM 12-Jun Australia vs Pakistan The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 3:00 PM 13-Jun India vs New Zealand Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 14-Jun England vs Windies The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 15-Jun Sri Lanka vs Australia Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 15-Jun South Africa vs Afghanistan Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 6:00 PM 16-Jun India vs Pakistan Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 17-Jun Windies vs Bangladesh The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 3:00 PM 18-Jun England vs Afghanistan Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 19-Jun New Zealand vs South Africa Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 20-Jun Australia vs Bangladesh Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 21-Jun England vs Sri Lanka Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 22-Jun India vs Afghanistan The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 22-Jun Windies vs New Zealand Old Trafford, Manchester 6:00 PM 23-Jun Pakistan vs South Africa Lord's, London 3:00 PM 24-Jun Bangladesh vs Afghanistan The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 25-Jun England vs Australia Lord's, London 3:00 PM 26-Jun New Zealand vs Pakistan Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 27-Jun Windies vs India Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 28-Jun Sri Lanka vs South Africa Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 3:00 PM 29-Jun Pakistan vs Afghanistan Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 29-Jun New Zealand vs Australia Lord's, London 6:00 PM 30-Jun England vs India Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 1-Jul Sri Lanka vs Windies Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 3:00 PM 2-Jul Bangladesh vs India Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 3-Jul England vs New Zealand Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 3:00 PM 4-Jul Afghanistan vs Windies Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 5-Jul Pakistan vs Bangladesh Lord's, London 3:00 PM 6-Jul Sri Lanka vs India Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 6-Jul Australia vs South Africa Old Trafford, Manchester 6:00 PM 9-Jul TBC vs TBC, 1st Semi-Final (1 v 4) Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 11-Jul TBC vs TBC, 2nd Semi-Final (2 v 3) Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 14-Jul TBC vs TBC, Final Lord's, London 3:00 PM Participating Teams Afghanistan © Twitter/@ACBofficials For a team that, earlier this March, recorded their first Test victory in only their second game, Afghanistan seems to be making the most of the opportunities on the field. The young Test-playing nation is full of surprises and, on their day, they are more than capable of beating any team in the world. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) did turn a few heads when they sacked long-standing captain Asghar Afghan in April. The decision led to the appointment of three specialist captains across formats. Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan and Rahmat Shah will be seen in the leadership roles for ODIs, T20Is and Tests respectively. It'll be interesting to see how Naib fares as Afghanistan's captain when they start their World Cup campaign against Australia at the County Ground, Bristol on 1st June. Squad: Gulbadin Naib(c), Mohammad Shahzad(wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan and Mujeeb ur Rahman. Australia © Twitter/@CricketAus They might have been leading the list of most title wins in the ICC World Cup, but the Aussies know it fairly well that their campaign in England & Wales is surely going to be an uphill battle. The defending champions lack confidence especially after the infamous 2018 ball-tampering saw two of their biggest stars getting suspended for a year. Since that episode, Australia have been trying to rediscover that winning mentality that successfully aided their predecessors over the years. The return of David Warner and Steve Smith following their suspensions is a major boost to the Aussies, but their absence from international cricket for a year could see them struggle early in the tournament. On the other hand, the bowling department could turn out to be an area of concern for Australia, especially in the absence of Josh Hazlewood. They'll kickstart their World Cup campaign against tricky Afghanistan at the County Ground, Bristol on 1st June. Squad: Aaron Finch(c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey(wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner and Adam Zampa. Bangladesh © Twitter/@BCBtigers Ever since making their World Cup debut in 1999, Bangladesh have been a familiar face at the ICC spectacle. But, their best finish came in the last edition where they surprised everyone by reaching the quarterfinals stage. They won three games including the famous triumph over England in the group stage, but found their nemesis in India in the quarterfinals. Going into the tournament, Bangladesh looks like a balanced side. Mashrafe Mortaza has proved his worth as a potent leader in the past and Shakib Al Hasan has enough experience in international cricket to be his deputy. Mushfiqur Rahim is another experienced campaigner who's not only great behind the stumps, but his presence will also bolster his side's batting line-up. They'll need the senior players to step up when they face South Africa in their opening clash at the Kennington Oval, London on 2nd June. Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza(c), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim(wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Mithun (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman and Abu Jayed. England © Twitter/@ECB_cricket The mighty Englishmen might have given us the sport that we've come to know as cricket, but the cricketing giants are yet to taste success at the ICC World Cup. In the decorated history of the tournament, England have bottled away three chances to lift the coveted trophy. They lost the 1979 final to West Indies before enduring successive heartbreaks in 1987 and 1992 to Australia and Pakistan respectively. But, the upcoming edition could be their chance to redemption, especially when they have the luxury to play at home, in familiar conditions. Led by the experienced Eoin Morgan, the hosts pack a punch with a team that is comprised of potential match-winners. Though they'll have to fend off threats from the likes of India and Australia, the Englishmen might just prove a tad too difficult for the opposition to handle in the tournament. The 'Three Lions' will be seen in action when they lock horns with South Africa in the tournament opener at the Kennington Oval, London on 30th May. Squad: Eoin Morgan(c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow(wk), Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood. India © Twitter/@BCCI The two-time World Cup champions are undoubtedly one of the biggest contenders to lift the coveted trophy this year. The team has enjoyed a brilliant run over the past year with favourable results in both home and overseas series. Led by the pragmatic Virat Kohli, Team India had a problem of plenty in the build-up to the ICC spectacle. The selectors had a tough time figuring out the 15-man squad, best suited for the English conditions to deliver the goods. After careful deliberation, the omission of in-form Rishabh Pant did spark some backlash which later saw him getting included in the list of stand-bys. From batting to bowling, the Indian team looks pretty solid on paper with a couple of all-rounders also in the fray. But, the long-standing No. 4 conundrum is still a chink in their armour. All the questions might get answered when they launch their title charge on 5th June against South Africa at the Rose Bowl, Southampton. Squad: Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni(wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Dinesh Karthik (wk), KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja. New Zealand © Twitter/@BLACKCAPS Despite participating in the tournament since its advent in 1975, New Zealand are yet to lift the coveted trophy. The Kiwis came mighty close to clinching the World Cup title in 2015, but a seven-wicket loss at the hands of Australia left them heartbroken. Despite their previous failings, Kane Williamson-led New Zealand are still one of the top contenders for the World Cup title this year. The team is full of proven stars who are more than capable of turning the tide in New Zealand's favour. The likes of Tim Southee and Trent Boult will spearhead their pace attack, while Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi will add teeth to the spin department. The Kiwis have also included three all-rounders - Colin de Grandhomme, Colin Munro and Jimmy Neesham - who will play their part in the tournament. Williamson's men will begin their campaign when they take on Sri Lanka at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on 1st June. Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor. Pakistan © Twitter/@TheRealPCB The 1992 World Cup champions, Pakistan, continue to remain an unpredictable brigade which is more than capable of crashing someone's party on their day. The ultimate underdogs at the ICC spectacle, Pakistan might have a fairly inexperienced squad going into the World Cup, but a mercurial side of their calibre still promises to go the distance. The youthful pace duo of Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Afridi, who can clock 90mph at will, is expected to be a vital cog in Pakistan's impressive pace battery. But, the notable omission of Mohammad Amir, who has been sidelined due to suspected chickenpox, remains a big blow. The likes of skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez will surely come in handy when it comes to guiding the youngsters in the side with their vast experience. Beginning their campaign on 31st May against West Indies in Nottingham, Pakistan will be eager to build on their spectacular 2017 ICC Champions Trophy win with a similar performance in England and Wales. Squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed(c/wk), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Hasnain. South Africa © Twitter/@OfficialCSA Ever since making their ICC World Cup debut in 1992, South Africa have struggled to justify their talent. The perennial underachievers of cricket, the Proteas have reached the semifinals on four occasions but just couldn't hold their nerve to go all the way. But, as their hunt for an elusive maiden title goes on, the current crop of players and the new-look South African squad offer great promise going into this year's World Cup. Led by Faf du Plessis, the Proteas boast of three solid opening options in Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla. Similarly, in the bowling department, the availability of Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi provide them with great options. But, it's going to be a problem of plenty for the Proteas and, right from facing England in the opening encounter on 30th May, they'll need to find their winning combination if they intend to get rid of the 'chokers' tag. Squad: Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(wk), David Miller, JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi. Sri Lanka © Twitter/@OfficialSLC For a team that upstaged the mighty Australians in the final to win the 1996 World Cup, Sri Lanka has, sadly, failed to follow it up at the major ICC events. The Lankan brigade came mighty close to securing their second World title in 2011, only to suffer a brutal heartbreak at the hands of Team India in the final. With their decorated cricketers calling time on their respective careers, the Lankans have struggled for experience, with the young guns doing their best to settle in quickly. Going into this year's tournament, Sri Lanka will rely on the experience of their veteran stars Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Kapugedera, Lasith Malinga and Thisara Perera to spearhead their challenge. They'll kickstart their campaign against New Zealand on 1st June at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. Squad: Dimith Karunaratne(c), Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera(wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis(wk), Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardana, Avishka Fernando, Jeevan Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal. West Indies © Twitter/@windiescricket Having won two successive World Cups in 1975 and 1979, West Indies almost came close to securing their third, only to lose the final to India in 1983. Since that fateful day, the Windies have managed to enter the playoff stage only on three occasions - a semifinal entry in 1996 and a last-eight place in 2011 and 2015. Needless to mention, their ODI record, over the last five years, has been abysmal by any standards. But, despite all that, no team in the tournament would like to take them for granted, especially when West Indies boast of proven match-winners. Led by Jason Holder, the Windies are going into the World Cup, full of firepower. The likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Shimron Hetmyer and Carlos Brathwaite are more than capable of single-handedly running away with the game. But, opening their campaign against Pakistan on 31st May, the Windies will need to find a way to click as a unit if they intend to go the distance this year. Squad: Jason Holder(c), Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope(wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Fabien Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Ashley Nurse.
  23. After the epic conclusion of the twelfth season of the Indian Premier League, all eyes are on the ICC World Cup 2019 which will begin from 30th May 2019 with the first match between England and South Africa at the Oval, London, England. The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup is the 12th edition of ODI Cricket World Cup, scheduled to take place in England and Wales between 30 May 2019 to 14 July 2019. The tournament will consist of a single group of 10 teams, with every team getting the opportunity to play against each of the other nine teams at least once. The top four at the end of the group stage will go on to compete against each other in the semi-finals. ICC World Cup 2019: Team India Schedule: DateVersusLocation 5/6/2019 South Africa Rose Bowl Cricket Ground, Hampshire, England 9/6/2019 Australia The Oval, London, England 13/06/2019 New Zealand Trent Bridge, West Bridgford, England 16/06/2019 Pakistan Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Stretford, England 22/06/2019 Afghanistan Rose Bowl Cricket Ground, Hampshire, England 27/06/2019 West Indies Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Stretford, England 30/06/2019 England Edgbaston, Birmingham, England 2/7/2019 Bangladesh Edgbaston, Birmingham, England 6/7/2019 Sri Lanka Headingley Carnegie, Leeds, England All the league matches will start at 3:00 pm IST. India's History At ICC World Cups: India got to lift the World Cup trophy for the very first time under the captaincy of the great Kapil Dev in 1983. The victory was not only a great achievement for the 14-man-squad of the time but also for the countless generations to come as it added immensely to the popularity of the game in the country with more and more people not only wanting to watch cricket but also trying to get selected in the national team. 2011 was the year when Mahendra Singh Dhoni led the Men in Blue to winning the ICC World Cup for the second time, this one being in our own home-ground. With Sachin Tendulkar nearing his retirement, Dhoni in his prime and Virat Kohli just beginning to show his talents as a batsman, the 2011 Indian roster consisted of three of the most successful cricketers to ever play in the country's jersey. Now, with Dhoni taking Tendulkar's place as the team veteran and Virat Kohli in his top form and the leader of the squad, Team India will once again try to bring home the greatest glory there is in the world of cricket. 15-Man-Squad, Team India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dinesh Karthik (reserve wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, K. L. Rahul, Kedar Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal How can I watch Team India's World Cup matches? Star Sports Network have the rights to officially broadcast every match of the 2019 ICC World Cup. You can also catch the games like on the Hotstar website or mobile application.
  24. Nearly 50 games into the tournament, the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is already proving to be a big success. For one of the biggest T20 leagues in the world, the ongoing season did suffer a minor hiccup with the general elections raising security concerns. But, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the IPL Governing Council have done well to segregate the tournament in phases to avoid problems. Keeping that in mind and of course the dew factor, the Indian cricket board has announced the revised timings for this season's Playoffs and the all-important final. Like last year, the BCCI has now decided to advance the 8:00 pm (IST) start to 7:00 pm (IST) for the knockout stages of this year's edition. NEWS: Change of Timings for #VIVOIPL Playoffs and Women's T20 Challenge Full details here https://t.co/KsukeSIpCA ðð pic.twitter.com/bJIP8Rq8ov — IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 29, 2019 Meanwhile, the BCCI also confirmed that the Qualifier 1 will be played at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai on 7th May. It will be followed by the Eliminator on 8th May at the ACA VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam. Further, the Qualifier 2 will also take place in the Visakhapatnam stadium on 10th May, while Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium will host the IPL 2019 final on 12th May. On the other hand, the timings and dates for the Women's T20 Challenge have also been revealed. Comprised of some of the biggest names in women's cricket, three teams - Supernovas, Trailblazers and Velocity - will be seen competing against each other. The games will be held from May 6 to May 11 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, in Jaipur. While the matches scheduled on 6th, 9th and 11th May will start at 7:30 pm (IST), the second game, scheduled on 8th May will commence at 3:30 pm (IST). Schedule for IPL Playoffs & Final 7th May – Qualifier 1, Team 1 vs Team 2 at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai 8th May – Eliminator Team 3 vs Team 4 at ACA VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam 10th May – Qualifier 2, Winner of Eliminator vs Loser of Qualifier 1 at ACA VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam May 12 – Final at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad Timings – All Matches Will Start At 19:30 IST Schedule for Women's T20 Challenge 6th May – Supernovas vs Trailblazers 8th May – Trailblazers vs Velocity (3:30 pm IST start) 9th May – Supernovas vs Velocity May 11 – Final
  25. Born in the locality of Behala in Kolkata, Sourav Chandidas Ganguly has been one of the most successful Indian cricketers, period. His aggressive batting style along with his eventually developed bowling and his relentless methods of leading a team as prestigious as the Men in Blue has left no doubt in the minds of the cricket-mad people of the country and those abroad. However, when 'Dada' decided to take up the role of a 'Special Advisor' to the Ricky Ponting-coached Delhi Capitals ahead of the 2019 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) little did he realise that his secondary role of being the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal might become somewhat of a hurdle of him being actively involved in the biggest cricketing league within India. Concerned about the possibility of 'conflict-of-interest' given the former Indian skipper's dual-role within the cricket fraternity of India, three fans of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) had written to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Ombudsman and Ethics Officer, DK Jain. The trio demanded a convincing justification from the former KKR captain with regards to the move he made in March. © Twitter/@IPL According to the Press Trust of India (PTI) , this is how the cricketer responded: "In my respectful submission there is no direct or indirect interest, compromising roles, commercial conflict, prior relationship or position of influence within the meaning of the BCCI Constitution which may deter my involvement with the Delhi Capitals." Having said that, ever since Ganguly has assumed the role of the 'Special Advisor' to the Delhi-based franchise, no one has been able to articulate what exactly is the legend going to be doing in his new journey with the Capitals. When Dada has first joined the team, Times of India reported that he would be working closely with the head-coach Ricky Poting. And recently when TOI asked the Australian about his relationship with his former rival, Ponting said that the two think in a similar fashion. "We have got very similar ideas and views on the game which has made us work well together. I love working with him." Even then, not even the head-coach himself, could describe Ganguly's role with the team. The closest to what felt like an actual contribution by the Bengali cricketer, according to Poting, was that Ganguly was spending time with all the southpaw batsmen of the team such as Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant, getting them ready for the Eden pitch, but is that it? © Twitter/@IPL What's worse is that not even the official website for the franchise acknowledges him as a member of the team, neither as one of the coaches nor as a staff member. Jeopardising an honourable role, one that of the president of a cricket board of a region, therefore doesn't quite settle in with the lack of recognition Dada is getting in return.
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