Cricket World Cup 2019: Prospects, star players, bolters - team-by-team guide

Paul Radley looks at the prospects, star players and bolters for each of the 10 competing sides

Australia have won it more times than anyone else. West Indies have won it the most times when it has been staged in England. Pakistan won it the last time it was played in this format. And England enter it as the No 1 ranked side.

All of which will count for nought in the final reckoning. New World Cup history will be written over the next six weeks. We assess who are best placed to prosper, and which players might write the most captivating stories for themselves.

England

Ranked: 1

Prospects: Everything had been going so swimmingly. Now, there are nerves. There was the Alex Hales thing. Then the Jofra Archer selection issue. Injury scares to Eoin Morgan and Mark Wood. Still, they will never have a better chance.

Star man – Jos Buttler: In 131 ODIs for England, Buttler has only ever faced more than 100 balls in an innings once. And yet he has eight hundreds to his name.

Bolter – Jofra Archer: A bolter can be defined as "an outsider in a sporting event". He must have felt like exactly that when his future teammates were wondering aloud about the morals of his late call up. Whatever. He is a different class of prospect.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 25: Virat Kohli of India gestures during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up match between India and New Zealand at The Kia Oval on May 25, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

India

Ranked: 2

Prospects: The top two batsmen in the ODI rankings – Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. The No 1 bowler, in Jasprit Bumrah, plus two spinners in the top 10 besides – in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. All bases are covered.

Star man – Virat Kohli: You might have heard of him. Even Champions League final-bound Tottenham striker Harry Kane wanted a selfie with him before this World Cup.

Bolter – Vijay Shankar: A meagre return at the IPL did little to assuage the doubters over his selection in front of Ambati Rayudu. And he had a late injury scare after being hit on his forearm.

CARDIFF, WALES - MAY 24:  Kagiso Rabada of South Africa bowls during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up match between Sri Lanka and South Africa at Cardiff Wales Stadium on May 24, 2019 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

South Africa

Ranked: 3

Prospects: Usually they arrive at World Cups amid much acclaim, then sink painfully thereafter. Under the radar this time, which could suit a talented side.

Star man – Kagiso Rabada: Not many South African cricketers know what it feels like to win a World Cup. Rabada does, after bowling the young Proteas to the Under 19 title in Dubai in 2014.

Bolter – Lungi Ngidi: Well known about, of course, having excelled in Tests and IPL. But the fast bowler is still just 23 and has been absent with injury for much of the recent past.

New Zealand's Trent Boult (C) celebrates bowling India's KL Rahul for 6 runsduring the 2019 Cricket World Cup warm up match between India and New Zealand at The Oval in London on May 25, 2019. / AFP / Ian KINGTON

New Zealand

Ranked: 4

Prospects: They have arguably the best pace options in the tournament, along with India. Runners-up last time, they may have even stronger personnel this time around.

Star man – Trent Boult: No 2 in the world rankings behind India's Bumrah. Boult's dexterous use of the new ball could go a long way to making the Black Caps serious title contenders.

Bolter – Tom Blundell: Played two seasons of English club cricket in 2012 and 2013. Which might come in handy, seeing as he has no ODI experience yet, and might start in place of the injured Tom Latham.

Australia's David Warner warms up before the match during the ICC Cricket World Cup Warm up match at the Hampshire Bowl, Southampton. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. See PA story CRICKET Australia. Photo credit should read: Mark Kerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. Still image use only.

Australia

Ranked: 5

Prospects: Ominous form. A come from behind win in India. A 5-0 sweep of Pakistan in UAE. And they beat on-song England in a warm-up game. Retaining their title would not be a shock.

Star man – David Warner: Difficult to know which of the returning pariahs – he or Steve Smith – will post the most runs in this World Cup. But surely Warner is more likely to attract drama.

Bolter – Jason Behrendorff: The 29-year-old left-arm swing bowler has made a late run to international cricket, having played just a handful of internationals so far, but he is clearly well regarded in the Australia set up.

Pakistan's Babar Azam reaches his century during the ICC Cricket World Cup Warm up match between Pakistan and Afghanistan, at The Bristol County Ground, in Bristol, England, Friday May 24, 2019. (Nigel French/PA via AP)

Pakistan

Ranked: 6

Prospects: It is difficult not to trot out the usual lines about not knowing which Pakistan side will turn up. It being a long group-stage could work in their favour, though. It gives them time to get over a crisis or two.

Star man – Babar Azam: There are flashier players in the tournament. But, in a side well-known for its destructive capabilities – in both a positive and negative sense – he is a pillar of reliability.

Bolter – Mohammed Hasnain: At the start of the Pakistan Super League, he wasn't even the most talked about rookie who could bowl 150kph. Haris Rauf's run was too late, though, while 18-year-old Hasnain has timed his nicely.

FILE - In this Saturday March 10, 2018 file photo, Bangladesh's' Tamim Iqbal plays a shot against Sri Lanka during their Twenty20 cricket match in Nidahas triangular series in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The 2019 Cricket World Cup starts in England on May 31. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, File)

Bangladesh

Ranked: 7

Prospects: Coming off the back of their first ever win in an ODI series final. It might have been a low-key, warm up series involving Ireland and West Indies, but it was well-received by their adoring public.

Star man – Tamim Iqbal: Five scores in excess of 50 in his past eight innings on Bangladesh duty show the left-handed opener is in fine touch.

Bolter – Mosaddek Hossain: Mosaddek, who played at the Under 19 World Cup in UAE in 2014, had a breakout performance with the bat when the Tigers beat West Indies in the warm up tri-series in Ireland.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Shai Hope of West Indies bats during the One Day International match between Australia and West Indies at the Ageas Bowl on May 22, 2019 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

West Indies

Ranked: 8

Prospects: Might not even be here at all, were it not for a dodgy LBW dismissal in the fateful World Cup Qualifier fixture against Scotland. Now they are, it would be folly for the rest to underestimate them.

Star man – Shai Hope: The glue for a batting line-up not short on pyrotechnics, with the likes of Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer and Andre Russell knocking around.

Bolter – Oshane Thomas: He got a Caribbean Premier League gig after impressing Gayle while still a schoolboy net bowler. He promptly bowled Gayle out for a duck the first chance he got. Young, and rapid.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Sri Lanka v England - Second one-day international - Dambulla, Sri Lanka - October 13, 2018. Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga celebrates after taking the wicket of England's Liam Dawson (not pictured). REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/File Photo

Sri Lanka

Ranked: 9

Prospects: Sri Lankan cricket is apparently in freefall. There has been a corruption purge. On field results have been poor. Afghanistan and Bangladesh beat them at the Asia Cup. Expectations could not be lower.

Star man – Lasith Malinga: Age and injuries might have withered him. Ten overs a day sometimes looks an effort, let alone the marathon shift awaiting with nine group games. How he copes will be vital for Sri Lanka.

Bolter – Dimuth Karunaratne: It seems paradoxical to consider a captain a bolter. But he has just 18 ODIs to his name, and – before the build up to this tournament – none since the 2015 World Cup.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27: Rashid Khan of Afghanistan bowls during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up match between England and Afghanistan at The Kia Oval on May 27, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Afghanistan

Ranked: 10

Prospects: Unlikely to be short of confidence, even if everyone else does write them off. A tie with India and a strong showing at the Asia Cup in UAE will fuel their optimism.

Star man – Rashid Khan: The first truly global star to emerge from Afghanistan. The leg-spinner has been a phenomenon in ODI cricket, with 125 wickets in 59 matches so far.

Bolter – Hazratullah Zazai: Just eight ODIs to date, but the 21-year-old opener is not a new name. He made global headlines when he hit six sixes in an over in the Afghanistan Premier League in Sharjah last winter.

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