Analysing South Africa’s 2019 Cricket World Cup Squad- Proteas strengths & weaknesses

Perhaps with the exception of their inaugural World Cup campaign in 1992, never have South Africa gone into a tournament with such low expectations. The Proteas always used to be among the favourites for this quadrennial extravaganza, but the retirement of AB de Villiers, and their own sketchy performances at recent ICC events (they failed to get out of their group at the last Champions Trophy in England), has lowered expectations among their own fans.

What changes did South Africa make to their original World Cup squad?

There was just one- MSL sensation Anrich Nortje withdrew due to injury and all-rounder Chris Morris, who really didn’t appear to be in the Proteas World Cup plans, has been called up as a replacement. There’s plenty of talent in Morris- he has many qualities of what South Africa want in their all-rounder (pace, the ability to bowl a fine yorker, power hitting at will), but seems to be too inconsistent. Gibson initially wanted youngster Wiaan Mulder in the squad, and backed him for most of the last year before deciding that the event came too soon for him.

What is the Proteas weak-point?

It’s essentially the batting. AB de Villiers’ retirement has robbed them of their finest batsman this decade, and with Hashim Amla’s dip in form, a lot will depend on Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis.

Rassie van der Dussen has never played an ODI outside South Africa, David Miller struggles against spin, and JP Duminy is short on match practice, having been out of action for most of the last 12 months.

Unlike previous Proteas World Cup squads, this one also struggles for batting depth. Steyn, Tahir, Rabada and Ngidi is a delightful bowling lineup on paper, but leaves them with a very long tail. Sacrificing one of Steyn or Ngidi for a second all-rounder might be the way to go, but Dwaine Pretorius may become cannon fodder on flat tracks given his gentle pace, and while Chris Morris has the pace, he doesn’t have the consistency. The fifth bowler problem was a big reason for South Africa’s failed 2015 World Cup campaign, and it could haunt them again this year as they struggle to get their balance right.

What are the Proteas strengths?

The form of Du Plessis and De Kock with the bat, and their bowling. However there are some fitness concerns on the bowling front- Steyn and Ngidi seem to get injured too often and there are concerns whether they can last a full tournament, while Kagiso Rabada has been literally bowled into the ground over the last year. South Africa need all of them to be fit and firing- if they don’t, an early exit beckons.

Who could be the unlikely saviour for South Africa?

His international ODI numbers don’t suggest it, but Aiden Markram is a very talented player. Has also been in top form for his English county just before the World Cup. If he can sort out his issues against spin, he could be the key to solving their batting woes. Markram is also the only Proteas player to have won the World Cup as a captain (U19 in the UAE), and has been tipped to take over the captaincy once Du Plessis retires.

South Africa’s fixtures- Tough to start off with, with England, Bangladesh and India as their first three opponents.

Proteas Fixtures World Cup

England Final Cricket World Cup Squad Announced | New Balance CWC 2019 Kit Unveiled

Hosts England have announced their final 15 member squad for the World Cup on home soil later this summer. Eoin Morgan’s side will kick off matters against South Africa on May 30, and will be wearing a New Balance strip that appears to be a throwback to the country’s 1992 kit, with plenty of blue and far lesser red in the uniform.

What are the changes to England’s final World Cup squad?

From the original one named in April, there are three changes. Out go Alex Hales (drugs ban), Joe Denly and David Willey, and in come James Vince, Liam Dawson and Jofra Archer.

England WC Squad 2019

The Willey exclusion is perhaps harsh on the left armer, admitted as much by chief selector Ed Smith, but somebody had to make way for Jofra Archer given his exploits against Pakistan and Ireland, and the 29 year-old Willey was the man.

However given Chris Woakes and Mark Wood’s injury records, Willey might well find himself in the squad later in the tournament. The squad appears to have most bases covered, and the bowling, which was considered a slight weak point, has been given a major boost in the form of Archer, who can easily hit speeds of 145+ and boasts of fantastic variations.

Dawson’s inclusion was owing to a niggle to Adil Rashid, which saw the specialist spinner being chosen by England, rather than Denly, who is primarily a batsman who can chip in with a few overs.

Here are a few pictures of England’s new World Cup kit made by New Balance. NB are a popular name in the football world, and are supplying kits to both England and South Africa at CWC 2019.

The winners of the last two CWC’s- India (2011) and Australia (2015), won it on home soil. England are certainly among the favourites for the 2019 edition and will be keen to improve on their Champions Trophy performance, where they breezed through the tournament before falling to eventual winners Pakistan on a tricky semi-final pitch in Cardiff.

New England World Cup Kit 2019

New Balance England World Cup Shirt 2019

Pakistan Final CWC 2019 15 Man Squad & New AJ Fordham Cricket World Cup Jersey

Reigning Champions Trophy holders Pakistan have revealed their final 15 member squad for the World Cup. The Men in Green have also unveiled their new WC shirt, made by England based company AJ Fordham.

Pakistan Final World Cup Squad 2019

What are the differences between Pakistan’s first squad and the final CWC squad?

Three new players are in the final squad- Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Asif Ali, with Junaid Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Abid Ali making way.

Why has Wahab Riaz been recalled to the Pakistan squad for the 2019 World Cup?

Wahab’s last ODI for Pakistan came in June 2017 against India. He went for 87 runs in his 8.4 overs and it appeared that his international career was over when national coach Micky Arthur publicly criticised him.

However the struggles of Pakistan’s bowlers in English conditions- they conceded over 300 in every game, has made the selectors feel the need for an out and out pacer, and Wahab, who can easily hit 145+, fits that bill. It’s a controversial selection no doubt, and Junaid Khan and even Usman Shinwari could count themselves unlucky. Junaid even took to Twitter to voice his displeasure, releasing a photo of his mouth taped and saying “Sach Karwa hai” (Truth is bitter).

Junaid Khan Sach Karwa Hai Tweet

Amir’s selection, despite his recent struggles, is perhaps more understandable. His CT final spell has almost earned him legendary status in Pakistan and the selectors will be hoping that he can come back into form, with the World Cup also being held in the same country as the Champions Trophy.

Amir didn’t play the England ODI’s because of chickenpox, but it appears staying away from the carnage has elevated him up Pakistan’s bowling hierarchy.

Shadab Khan was a major doubt after contracting hepatitis, but has apparently recovered in time for the World Cup.

Pakistan don’t have a reserve wicket keeper

The squad announced has only one specialist keeper- skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed. While Inzamam Ul Haq has stated that Mohammad Rizwan and Abid Ali will both be in England on standby, the latter’s omission from the squad means that Pakistan will be hoping that their keeper doesn’t break down.

Pakistan’s new Cricket World Cup kit- photos

New Pakistan World Cup 2019 Shirt

Back of Pakistan WC Kit 2019

New Australia Cricket World Cup 2019 Jersey Released by Asics

This is the new Australia CWC 2019 shirt, the uniform to be worn by the Australian cricket team at this summer’s World Cup in England. The Aussies are the reigning world champions and appear to be peaking at the right time in the 50 over format after impressive away series wins against India and Pakistan. They came from 2-0 down to beat Ravi Shastri’s men 3-2 in India, and followed it up with a stunning 5-0 whitewash of Pakistan in the UAE.

Made by Asics, the new Australia CWC kit was officially unveiled on April 9, 2019. The jersey’s predominantly yellow, with green featuring on the collar, shoulders and sides.

Australia have warm up games against England and Sri Lanka in Southampton before officially beginning the defence of their title against Afghanistan at Bristol on June 1.

All-rounder Glenn Maxwell is here seen modelling the new Australian CWC uniform.

New Australia Cricket World Cup Jersey 2019

Australia have reached the finals in five of the last six World Cups. Continue reading “New Australia Cricket World Cup 2019 Jersey Released by Asics”

Australia’s Player Ratings vs India- ODI Series 2019

You can never write Australia off before a World Cup! Just months before the quadrennial event, the defending champions showed that they would not give up their crown without a fight by coming from 2-0 down to inflict a stunning 3-2 defeat on pre-WC favourites India. This was Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s first home series loss as captain. Australia’s last ODI series win came nearly two years ago, and with the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood all likely to be added to the squad, few will underestimate the Kangaroos at the World Cup.

Here’s how Australia’s players rated in the PayTM ODI series against India.

Aaron Finch (capt) 5/10

As a batsman, Finch had an ordinary series- only 157 runs in 5 matches at an average of 31.40 as his poor test form continued into the shorter formats. His 93 in Ranchi showed signs of him leaving his lean run behind, but on evidence of this series, his starting spot could be in serious jeopardy when Warner and Smith return.

He however led his team remarkably well, and has achieved something many visiting skippers have been unable to do- an ODI series win in India.

Usman Khawaja- 9.5/10

An absolutely fantastic series for Uzzy, with 383 runs in 5 matches at an average of 76.6. Was remarkably consistent as well- scored his maiden ton in Ranchi which set the tone for the visitors’ comeback, and followed it up with 91 and 100 in Chandigarh and Delhi respectively. Outscored Virat Kohli in a series where the latter scored two back to back centuries!

Rightly declared the Player of the Series.

Usman Khawaja

Shaun Marsh-1/10

29 runs in 3 matches at an average of 9.66

A horrendous series for SOS given his normally high standards in this format, and might have just kissed his World Cup hopes goodbye. Was axed for the decider in Delhi after being heralded as a potential saviour for the visitors’ batting on Indian pitches when he was brought into the squad- an indicator of how badly his stocks fell in this series. Continue reading “Australia’s Player Ratings vs India- ODI Series 2019”

India vs Australia Delhi Fifth ODI Match Report-2019

Usman Khawaja continued his superb form with the bat by scoring yet another 100, as Australia defeated India by 35 runs in the fifth and final one day international at Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi on Wednesday. Continue reading “India vs Australia Delhi Fifth ODI Match Report-2019”

India vs Australia Delhi Fifth ODI Match Preview-2019 March 13

After a stunning win in the fourth one day international at Mohali, Australia would be eyeing a shock series victory when they take on India in the fifth and final one day international at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi on Wednesday. The Aussies looked down and out after losses in the first two games at Hyderabad and Nagpur but fought back to win in Ranchi and Mohali to set up this winner takes all clash in the national capital.

The two teams have played each four times at this venue, with India prevailing on three occasions and Australia winning just once. The last such meeting was a decade ago, when India comfortably chased down 230 with six wickets to spare. Continue reading “India vs Australia Delhi Fifth ODI Match Preview-2019 March 13”

India vs Australia Mohali Fourth ODI Match Preview-2019 March 10

After suffering defeat in Ranchi, India would be aiming to bounce back and seal the ODI series when they take on Australia in the fourth one day international at Mohali on Sunday. Continue reading “India vs Australia Mohali Fourth ODI Match Preview-2019 March 10”