India are rated as the team most likely to prevent England from winning the ICC World Cup on home soil this summer. Eoin Morgan’s men usurped them as the world’s top-ranked ODI side in May 2018 and they have held onto the mantle ever since. England are the favourites to win the World Cup, according to a Bookmaker review and a look at the tournament odds, but India are second in the betting and have all the tools to break English hearts. They are the most experienced team at the tournament and the squad is bursting with world-class talent. Here are the top five players to look out for:
The Indian captain is the world’s finest batsman and he carries the expectations of 1.3 billion people on his shoulders. He is the favourite to finish the tournament with the most runs, and he is due a strong showing after a largely disappointing campaign four years ago. Kohli is blessed with the technical skills, aggression, confidence and competitiveness to flourish in the World Cup and he will be a real game changer for his team. His ability to put together impressive knocks when chasing is peerless in limited-overs cricket and his mere presence will strike fear into the hearts of India’s opponents this summer. He sits deservedly on top of the ICC world rankings for batsmen in the ODI format and he should thrive at the World Cup.
Sharma is arguably the best opener at the World Cup and he can generally be relied upon for spectacular starts. He was India’s second highest scoring ODI star in 2017 and 2018 and he forms a devastating opening duo with Shikhar Dhawan. Sharma has long been viewed as one of the most gifted batsmen around, and he is particularly dangerous in limited-overs formats thanks to his winning blend of aggression and elegance. He sometimes comes in for criticism for taking the wrong shots, but that is simply a result of his risk-taking approach, which sees him post many spectacular knocks. He is the vice-captain of this team and he will play a key role in England this summer.
Bumrah is the world’s top-ranked bowler and the bookmakers have named him the favourite to finish the World Cup as the leading wicket-taker. He is an indispensable asset for this team thanks to his rapid deliveries, his uncanny ability to bowl Yorkers at the perfect time and his coolness under pressure in death overs. He has an unorthodox style, but it has proved to be extremely effective and he will rip through several teams during the World Cup.
India’s bowling attack is lethal like never before and Kuldeep will have an important role as the team’s leading spinner during the World Cup. His left-arm chinaman deliveries have been bamboozling opponents for years and he is the world’s top ODI wicket-taker since the start of 2018. His intelligent and deceptive bowling will be crucial for India as they bid to topple the likes of England, Australia and South Africa and seize glory at this eagerly anticipated tournament.
Former skipper Dhoni is emblematic of the vast experience India will take into this tournament. The 37-year-old has 158 ODI caps and he world record for the highest number of stumpings by any wicket-keeper. On average, each member of the 15-man squad has played 105 matches. Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul and Dinesh Karthik – selected ahead of precocious youngster Rishabh Pant – are all seasoned campaigners and that could be crucial to the team’s chances of success this summer.