Cricket World Cup 2019: team-by-team guide

John Ashdown


AFGHANISTAN

Prospects Their success remains one of the feelgood stories in international cricket but they’re now established regulars in the top international tournaments. That said, they nearly missed out on this World Cup, scraping through in qualifying after defeats to Scotland, Zimbabwe and Hong Kong. The bowling attack is strong but where will the runs come from?

Coach: Phil Simmons The former Ireland coach will have one eye on events elsewhere when his team face Australia in their opener on 1 June: his beloved Spurs are in the Champions League final on the same day.


ICC ODI ranking 10 (as of 6 May)
Captain Gulbadin Naib, left
Coach Phil Simmons
World Cup best Group stage 2015


Fixtures (10.30am unless stated)
1 June v Australia, Bristol (1.30pm)
4 June v Sri Lanka, Cardiff
8 June v New Zealand, Taunton (1.30pm)
15 June v South Africa, Cardiff (1.30pm)
18 June v England, Old Trafford
22 June v India, Southampton
24 June v Bangladesh, Southampton
29 June v Pakistan, Headingley
4 July v West Indies, Headingley









Player to watch: Rashid Khan The world’s best allrounder in ODIs (according to the ICC rankings), still just 20 years old and already closing in on 100 international caps in all formats. Will need to bowl well if/when the flimsy batting lineup fails to fire.

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib celebrates at the Asia Cup

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib celebrates at the Asia Cup. Photograph: Ishara S Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images

AUSTRALIA

Prospects Ominously for the rest it’s coming together at the right time for the five-times winners and holders after a couple of years in the doldrums. Already this year they’ve hammered Pakistan 5-0 (Aaron Finch thrashing 451 runs in series) and won an ODI series in India for the first time since 2009. And they’ve got a couple of high-profile comebacks in their back pocket too.

Coach: Justin Langer Martial artist who says he “often thinks about the meaning of life”. One of his mottos is: “A Vegemite sandwich with family and friends is a million times better than caviar with strangers.”

Australia


ICC world ranking 5 (as of 6 May)
Captain Aaron Finch, left
Coach Justin Langer
World Cup best Winners 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2015


Fixtures (10.30am unless stated)
1 June v Afghanistan, Bristol (1.30pm)
6 June v West Indies, Trent Bridge
9 June v India, The Oval
12 June v Pakistan, Taunton
15 June v Sri Lanka, The Oval
20 June v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
25 June v England, Lord’s
29 June v New Zealand, Lord’s
6 July v South Africa, Old Trafford









Player to watch: David Warner They’re back. Warner and Steve Smith return to the international fold after a year of sandpaper penance. Warner in particular was nothing short of sensational in the IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

David Warner is back in Australian colours

David Warner is back in Australian colours. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

BANGLADESH

Prospects Beat India, South Africa and Pakistan in series following the last World Cup – and, helped by rain, they did for New Zealand and Australia in the 2017 Champions Trophy in England – but results have dried up of late. Mashrafe Mortaza (veteran of more than 200 ODIs) is now an MP and remains crucial, though the batting lineup is still reliant on the mercurial Tamim Iqbal.

Coach: Steve Rhodes A former England international wicketkeeper, the man known as “Bumpy” – a nickname from the Paul “Human” Romaines school – wasn’t exactly first choice when appointed last year.

Bangladesh


ICC world ranking 7 (as of 6 May)
Captain Mashrafe Mortaza, left
Coach Steve Rhodes
World Cup best Quarter-final 2015
Fixtures (10.30am unless stated)
2 June v South Africa, The Oval
5 June v New Zealand, The Oval (1.30pm)
8 June v England, Cardiff
11 June v Sri Lanka, Bristol
17 June v West Indies, Taunton
20 June v Australia, Trent Bridge
24 June v Afghanistan, Southampton
2 July v India, Edgbaston
5 July v Pakistan, Lord’s













Player to watch: Shakib Al Hasan One of the best allrounders in ODI cricket. For so long the mainstay of the middle order, Rhodes has experimented with moving him up to No 3. An injury scare during a warmup game against Ireland is a concern.

Captain Mashrafe Mortaza keeps a close eye on the action

Captain Mashrafe Mortaza keeps a close eye on the action. Photograph: Randy Brooks/AFP/Getty Images

ENGLAND

Prospects The best they have ever been? Generally England arrive at World Cups feeling optimistic they have learned the lessons of past failings and caught up with the rest, only to find everyone else has moved on. This time Eoin Morgan’s team are the trendsetters and ranked No 1 in the world. A few injury, selection and “team value” issues aside, they could not be in better shape.

Coach: Trevor Bayliss This is what he was brought in for, the culmination of four years’ work. Steps down after the summer. Keen to avoid return to estate agent job he left in 2011.

England


ICC world ranking 1 (as of 6 May)
Captain Eoin Morgan, left
Coach Trevor Bayliss
World Cup best Runners-up 1979, 1987, 1992


Fixtures (all matches start at 10.30am BST)
30 May v South Africa, The Oval
3 June v Pakistan, Trent Bridge
8 June v Bangladesh, Cardiff Wales Stadium
14 June v West Indies, Hampshire Bowl
18 June v Afghanistan, Old Trafford
21 June v Sri Lanka, Headingley
25 June v Australia, Lord’s
30 June v India, Edgbaston
3 July v New Zealand, The Riverside 









Player to watch: Jos Buttler Universe Jos has the world at his feet. A couple of thrilling thrashes for Rajasthan in the IPL suggested he was in decent nick and his sensational 50-ball century against Pakistan in Southampton proved it. Thoroughly nice chap to boot.

Jos Buttler celebrates his century at Southampton

Jos Buttler celebrates his century at Southampton. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

INDIA

Prospects Have won the World Cup in England before – in 1983 – though that was back when 260-odd from 60 overs could be considered a par score. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma can be relied upon for spectacular starts but the bowling unit’s ability to keep scores down, in English conditions, might be a worry. Home ODI series defeat to Australia will have stung.

Coach: Ravi Shastri Indian cricket mainstay appointed after the acrimonious departure of Anil Kumble in 2017. Has nailed the most important aspect of coaching India – he gets along with Kohli.


India
ICC world ranking 2 (as of 6 May)
Captain Virat Kohli
Coach Ravi Shastri
World Cup best Winners 1983, 2011


Fixtures (all matches start at 10.30am BST)
5 June v South Africa, Southampton
9 June v Australia, The Oval
13 June v New Zealand, Trent Bridge
16 June v Pakistan, Old Trafford
22 June v Afghanistan, Southampton
27 June v West Indies, Old Trafford
30 June v England, Edgbaston
2 July v Bangladesh, Edgbaston
6 July v Sri Lanka, Headingley









Player to watch: Virat Kohli Indian cricket’s rock star, one half of a couple so celeb they have their own mononym, co-owner of a football team and a wrestling franchise. Also: best batsman in the world with the expectations of 1.3bn people on his shoulders.

Virat Kohli carries the weight of huge expectation

Virat Kohli carries the weight of huge expectation. Photograph: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images

NEW ZEALAND

Prospects Semi-finalists on the three previous occasions England have hosted the tournament. Were sensational in the 2015 edition … until the final, the only game they lost. In Martin Guptill Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson and Tom Latham they have a strong top order, and there’s plenty of nous with the ball, but they have tended to struggle a touch away from home of late.

Coach: Gary Stead Coached the NZ women’s side to the final of the 2009 World Cup. Had to deny suggestions recently that he was “overruled” by Williamson over the inclusion of Ish Sodhi in the squad.

New Zealand


ICC world ranking 4 (as of 6 May)
Captain Kane Williamson, left
Coach Gary Stead
World Cup best Runners-up 2015


Fixtures (10.30am unless stated)
1 June v Sri Lanka, Cardiff
5 June v Bangladesh, The Oval (1.30pm)
8 June v Afghanistan, Taunton (1.30pm)
13 June v India, Trent Bridge
19 June v South Africa, Edgbaston
22 June v West Indies, Old Trafford (1.30pm)
26 June v Pakistan, Edgbaston
29 June v Australia, Lord’s (1.30pm)
3 July v England, The Riverside









Player to watch: Trent Boult If the left-armer can hit his straps – as he did when taking five for 21 against India in Hamilton this year – then New Zealand are in the hunt. Didn’t get much of a look-in with Delhi in the IPL but his new-ball partnership with Tim Southee will be crucial.

Trent Boult will be a key factor for New Zealand

Trent Boult will be a key factor for New Zealand. Photograph: François Nel/Getty Images

PAKISTAN

Prospects As ever, it’s a question of which Pakistan side will turn up. Will it be the chaotic, baffling team that scraped through the 2017 Champions Trophy group? Or the chaotic, baffling side that gloriously romped past England and India in the semi-finals and final of the same competition? Your guess is as good as our’s, though a lack of firepower at the top of the order is a concern.

Coach: Mickey Arthur Unassuming but widely-respected former South Africa and Australia coach, whose autobiography “Taking The Mickey” has one of the laziest titles in the sporting canon.

Player to watch: Hassan Ali Fakhar Zaman’s century in the Champions Trophy final was a thing of rare beauty but it was Hassan’s bowling that set up that triumph and his death-bowling will be key. Fond of a gym-based Instagram selfie.

SOUTH AFRICA

Prospects A mixed bag. Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada all come in on the back of excellent IPL campaigns but Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Dale Steyn have all had injury problems in the leadup to the tournament and Hashim Amla has been in poor form. Results have been strong – they arrive in England having won nine of their last 11 ODI series.

Coach: Ottis Gibson Knows all about English conditions after two spells as England bowling coach. Needs to produce: “He was hired to win the World Cup‚” says Cricket South Africa’s Thabang Moroe.

Player to watch: Quinton de Kock Rivalled only by Jos Buttler for the title of Best Wicketkeeper-Batsman in World Cricket™. He and Faf du Plessis will be relied upon to provide the runs in an otherwise flaky batting lineup.

South Africa’s JP Duminy show his athleticism in the field

South Africa’s JP Duminy show his athleticism in the field. Photograph: Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images

SRI LANKA

Prospects It feels like years of slow decay have finally caught up with Sri Lankan cricket. They come into the tournament with one win in their last 11 ODI series and a captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, their fourth captain in eight months, appointed in April despite not playing an ODI since 2017. They’re in a mess. The good news? Their shirts are made from recycled ocean plastic.

Coach: Chandika Hathurusingha The hodge-podge of a squad is matched off the field. Hathurusingha is coach but Ashantha de Mel is manager and selector-on-tour. Which will definitely not create any issues, no sirree.

Player to watch: Angelo Mathews Sacked as captain in September but at least he makes the squad – unlike his initial replacement Dinesh Chandimal. Bowling far less these days but still a matchwinner with the bat.

Lasith Malinga is still part of the Sri Lanka squad at the age of 35

Lasith Malinga is still part of the Sri Lanka squad at the age of 35. Photograph: Anesh Debiky/AFP/Getty Images

WEST INDIES

Prospects Haven’t actually won an ODI series since 2014, which doesn’t exactly bode well, but the shoots of recovery seemed to be there in the tied series against England this year. Shimron Hetmyer has emerged as a real talent, while Shai Hope blasted centuries in warmup games in Dublin. Jason Holder remains one of the great leaders in world cricket. And there’s always the Universe Boss.

Coach: Floyd Reifer Named interim head coach in April, replacing the previous interim head coach. Also had a spell as interim head coach last year. Permanence is a rare commodity in West Indies cricket.

Player to watch: Chris Gayle Two centuries against England this year served as a reminder, as if it was needed, of his talent. A terrifying, brooding presence at the crease. All the vim, energy and pace of a second-hand bedside table in the field.

Chris Gayle remains a formidable figure at the crease

Chris Gayle remains a formidable figure at the crease. Photograph: Randy Brooks/AFP/Getty Images