As the clock ticks away towards the most-awaited cricketing carnival on the planet, the participating teams and their myriad fans have their first task resolved. With the majority of the sides announcing their 15-member squads for World Cup 2019, cricketing pundits are busy analysing the strengths and chances of each team.
The selection panels of the teams announced their respective squads after taking several factors into consideration. Here is a look at the squads of the first eight teams that qualified directly to the World Cup.
Teams participating in World Cup 2019:
India, England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indies and Afghanistan*.
*It should be noted that Afghanistan and the West Indies had to play the qualifiers to make the cut.
To be led by Virat Kohli, Team India will be entering the fray as one of the favourites to regain the title in 2019. With MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah, and Hardik Pandya among the mix, the men in blue are certainly not devoid of match winners.
Budding all-rounder Vijay Shankar was a notable name among the 15-member squad and so was veteran cricketer Dinesh Karthik. While the omissions of Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant have not gone down well with many experts and fans, chief selector MSK Prasad exuded confidence that they had selected a well-balanced squad for the coveted trophy.
Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
After being down and out for most of the season last year, Aaron Finch and his troops have scripted a brilliant comeback in ODI cricket in 2019. They humbled India and Pakistan in succession, and the men from Down Under now have their eyes set on defending their trophy.
Crowned as the world champions for the fifth time in 2015, Australia will be looking to script history yet again in the upcoming championship. While the exclusions of Peter Handscomb and Josh Hazlewood did raise a few eyebrows, the return of champion cricketers David Warner and Steven Smith seems to have added a whole new zest to the squad.
Aaron Finch (C), Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Alex Carey (WK), Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Lyon
Host nation and pre-tournament favourites England have announced a pretty balanced side for the World Cup 2019. Looking to overcome the horrors of their poor run in 2015, the Eoin Morgan-led side has been packed with multiple match-winners.
While the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan will hold the key in the batting, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid are among the team's stronger bowlers.
All-rounders Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali are the other crucial components of this dynamic ODI squad.
Eoin Morgan (C), Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (WK), Jonny Bairstow (WK), Joe Denly, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Tom Curran, David Willey, Mark Wood
Faf du Plessis will lead the South Africans in the upcoming tournament as they continue the quest for their first World Cup title. After losing their chance by a minor margin to New Zealand in the the semifinal of the 2015 World Cup, the men in green will be determined to shed their "chokers" tag this season.
Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and David Miller are among the bankable batters while Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir are likely to spearhead the bowling front. However, the absence of a quality batsman like AB de Villiers in the middle order might continue to haunt the Proteas in English conditions.
Faf du Plessis (C), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (WK), Aiden Markram, David Miller, JP Duminy, Rassie van der Dussen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Dwaine Pretorius, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje
After getting battered by Australia in the final of the 2015 World Cup, New Zealand will be hoping to go all the way in 2019. Led by Kane Williamson, the spirited Black Caps unit seems to possess a good mix of youth and experience.
The likes of Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Trent Boult and Tim Southee feature as the seasoned campaigners while Colin Munro, Tom Blundell, Jimmy Neesham and Lockie Ferguson bring along the oomph factor.
Kane Williamson (C), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Tom Blundell, Henry Nicholls, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson
The 15-member squad of Sri Lanka is filled with quite a few surprises. While Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella found no place in the squad, Jeevan Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana and Jeffrey Vandersay found their names included in the final cut.
The Board also sprung a surprise by announcing Dimuth Karunaratne as the man in charge of leading the side in England. Significantly, key player Angelo Mathews makes a comeback after nursing a hamstring injury.
Veteran pacer Lasith Malinga has once again been entrusted to lead the pace pack of the Islanders.
Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Kusal Mendis, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera (WK), Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Jeevan Mendis, Jeffrey Vandersay, Milinda Siriwardana, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep
Be it reaching the final of the World Cup in 1999, wining the T20 World Cup in 2009, or lifting the Champions Trophy in 2017, Pakistan have some fond memories when it comes to world tournaments in England.
Considered to be among the favourites by a few pundits, the sub-continent side will be captained by Sarfraz Ahmed in the upcoming championship. The mercurial squad has no place for left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir though, who was a key component in Pakistan's victorious Champions Trophy campaign in 2017.
Sarfraz Ahmed (C & WK), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain
Bangladesh scripted history in 2015 when they reached the knockout stage of the World Cup for the first time. Their dreams of glory were eventually shattered when they were beaten by India in the quarterfinal.
The passionate team will be looking to go a mile further in the upcoming tournament. Led by the ever-reliable Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh come across as a threat to any side this year.
With Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal and Mustafizur Rahman in the wings, the Bangladeshi dream would hope for a better flight in 2019.
Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Mehidy Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed