We are all waiting for the biggest event in cricket to begin. The 2019 ODI World Cup is expected to be a great contest, with many legendary players eyeing the opportunity to win the mega tournament and get their hands on the coveted trophy. As we have seen the evolution of the game, it is evident that ODI cricket has started favoring the batsmen more and more. The scores have become higher, the number of boundaries and sixes has increased, and we are currently sitting before a tournament expecting new batting records, as that is what entertains the fans.
While the ICC had changed some of the rules which were there in the last World Cup, such as the one which allowed only four fielders at the boundary after the 40th over, the batsmen are still dominating the game. The upcoming World Cup is going to be no different, infact it may turn out to be a complete run-fest.
Here is a look at the key reasons for the same:
Not many prolific bowlers to control the run flow
The current scenario of international ODI cricket probably has the least number of big bowling names in the world. Think about it… How many legendary bowlers do we see playing the game these days, all teams combined? The only name that comes to mind is a rarely fit Dale Steyn.
We do have certain bowlers doing well, but that number is only a handful - Kagiso Rabada, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and Pat Cummins to name a few. There are no teams with bowling attacks that may look truly threatening. To compare with, we can think of the West Indies pace battery in the first few, or the Australian and South African bowling attacks in the last few World Cups.
Emergence of T20 Leagues giving greater range of shots to batsmen
The last four years have been the era of T20 leagues gaining prominence all over the world. Compared to 2015, where there were only a handful of T20 leagues being played, the IPL and the Big Bash, being the major ones, the current scenario has well-structured T20 leagues going on all across the world.
We have everything from the Carribean Premier League, the Pakistan Super League, the Bangladesh Premier League, the CSA T20 Challenge, the Super Smash and even an Afghanistan T20 competition. These T20 leagues have definitely contributed to the range of shots being widened and various batsmen trying innovative shots to score runs, which will come in handy in the 50-over format. These T20 batsmen have also become habitual of scoring at a brisk pace without even looking like taking any risk, which will definitely help them notching up big scores in the upcoming World Cup.
Some great batting line-ups ready to take the charge
One of the key factors for any team posting a big total is a good batting line-up, and this World Cup will have no dearth of it. Even though AB de Villiers has retired, there are still some batting line-ups with a mix of some truly big hitters and some elegant stroke-makers ready to unleash their attack on the bowlers.
To name a few, India have one of the world’s best top three in Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, along with a firing Hardik Pandya and an in-form legend MS Dhoni. Australia have David Warner and Steve Smith back along with Usman Khwaja, Glenn Maxwell and Shaun Marsh. West Indies have Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer and Andre Russell. Above all are England, with a top 6, any of who can score a 50-ball 100 at any point of the match without breaking any sweat. So needless to say, this tournament is going to see some real big hitting.
The batting-friendly pitches in England
One of the most fundamental things which impact the scoring trends for a tournament is the pitches, and when you talk about England, the pitches have undoubtedly been absolute belters. Having seen the highest number of hundreds and average run rate and two of the highest ever ODI totals in the last four years, one has to admit that this tournament could be about the ODI record books being rewritten.
We have already seen England only nearly missing out on the 500-run mark, and with majority of the matches being played in England, a team score of 500, a few more double hundreds, a new record for the fastest century or the highest successful run chase - many such records look to be in danger.
So overall, this World Cup will see heaps of runs being scored.