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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.