The 2023 ODI World Cup will be played in India from October 5 to November 19. The World Cup will kick-off with a rematch of the 2019 final between England and New Zealand at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 5. The previous ODI World Cup was held in England, and the conditions are expected to be vastly different in the 2023 World Cup to be played in India. So, who are the favorites heading into the latest ICC ODI World Cup? We analyze the form and squads of the teams to try and figure out the same.
India, England, Australia the favorites
Playing at home, Team India will undoubtedly be one of the favorites. But that is not the sole reason why they are being touted as one of the strongest sides in the competition. Unlike some of the past ICC events during which there have been genuine concerns around the Men in Blue, the current setup looks well-settled and finely balanced.
They have exceptional talent in the batting department, which has a nice mixture of youth and experience. There are tried and tested performers like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, while young Shubman Gill has displayed terrific form with the willow. In the bowling, India possesses unarguably one of the most dangerous attacks comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya’s success with the ball augurs really well for India ahead of the World Cup. His presence when he bowls adds much-needed balance to the side. In Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur and R Ashwin, the Men in Blue have three genuinely good all-rounders.
Defending champions England won’t have it easy in India. But one thing is for sure – they won’t die wondering. The Englishmen have an extremely explosive batting line-up, which can put any opposition bowling to the sword. Skipper Jos Buttler will be hugely confident, having tasted a lot of success in India during the IPL. If the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone get going, they have the potential to be unstoppable.
The talismanic Ben Stokes marked his return to the ODI fold by notching up the highest individual score by a male England batter against New Zealand. Dawid Malan, too, has been in excellent form, while the seasoned Joe Root will be expected to deliver the goods.
England have some fine talent in the bowling and all-round department as well. Moeen Ali can contribute significantly with the bat and chip in with his off-spin if needed. There is Sam Curran, who was the Player of the Final when England won the T20 World Cup last year. On his day, he can win games on his own, particularly with the ball in hand.
Among bowlers, a lot of eyes would be on speedster Mark Wood after his Ashes heroics. If fit, he can be England’s X factor at the World Cup. Chris Woakes will be relied upon to deliver the goods with the ball in hand. Left-arm pacer Reece Topley has made an impact in ODI cricket, while leg-spinner Adil Rashid has the experience to make a significant contribution.
A full-strength Aussie squad has the potential to make life difficult for any team in the World Cup. They would be praying that their main players are fit for the mega event.
If we look at Australia’s 15-member squad for the World Cup, they have proven performers like Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis in the batting department. Each of these players are capable of winning games on their own, with the last three having the ability to contribute with the ball as well.
Wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey has also played some wonderful knocks and could be the five-time champions’ X-factor in the batting department. If he is fit, Cameron Green will provide a good balance to the Aussie playing XI as he can bat and bowl. He can perform a similar role to what Pandya is doing for India.
Australia also have a high-class bowling attack that can knock over the best of opponents on their day. Apart from skipper Pat Cummins, there are Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc in the pace department and Adam Zampa in the spin department. Nothing really needs to be said about them, for their performances and their records speak for themselves. The progress in the ODI World Cup could, however, depend on how fit their key players are.
Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa the dark horses
Among other teams, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa can be termed dark horses for the World Cup. Babar Azam and co. might be back to their unpredictable ways, but they remain as dangerous as ever. With the likes of Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Rizwan in the team, you can never write them off.
New Zealand were unlucky not to lift the World Cup in 2019 due to a bizarre boundary-count rule. They are also battling some injury issues. If their main players are available, they should come up with a good showing in the World Cup. As for South Africa, they do not have the tag of favourites this time, but they have enough potential in their team to go all the way if they are at their very best.
Sri Lanka the potential joker in the pack
If we had to pick a joker in the pack, it would have to be Sri Lanka. A bit like Pakistan, they could blow hot or cold, but it cannot be denied that they have the potential to upset the best if they get their act right.