England look to extend white-ball dominance as ICC’s Cricket World Cup begins in India next week

Since 2019, One-Day International cricket has looked increasingly to be in decline.

But with the World Cup beginning today, there are plenty fascinated by what this tournament could deliver.

Having won the 50-over World Cup in 2019 on home soil and despite Australia’s victory in the Twenty20 World Cup in 2021, England achieved the feat of holding both World Cup’s at once after their successful T20 World Cup win last year – a feat no team had ever managed before.

Coming into this World Cup, the long-awaited return of the 50-over format, England look to retain their title – something they have personally never managed to do – which would extend their unprecedented World Cup dominance until at least the summer of 2024 when the T20 World Cup visits North America.

However, hosts this year’s India have looked particularly strong in the format recently, winning the 50-over Asia Cup earlier in September.

They’ll be eagerly awaiting their chance to break their run of underachievement’s in ICC events, having not won one since 2011 – winning the ODI World Cup at home that year.

Since England brought cricket over to India in the 18th century, the sport has risen hugely in popularity becoming a massive part of Indian heritage. The love and adoration its people have for the game will be on show for all to see in this year World Cup.

In context of the ICC hosting two T20 World Cups since the last ODI World Cup, this upcoming tournament has been hotly anticipated, especially since the 2019 edition finished with one of the greatest endings to a tournament ever seen – as England won on boundary count after the final went to a super over against New Zealand.

The Super Over in the 2019 Cricket World Cup final between England and New Zealand

However there has been plenty of speculation around the current relevancy of the 50-over format, given the recent development of national franchise T20 leagues around the world – most notably the Indian Premier League (IPL).

In terms of the cricketing international schedule, the ODI format has certainly been neglected to an extent. The calendar has seen consistent regular Test series’ alongside increasingly common T20i series’, with T20 franchise leagues filling in the gaps.

Here’s the probable T20 League calendar in 2023.
byu/chirag886 inCricket

But here we are, with another ODI World Cup on the horizon.

There have been numerous ODI series’ in the lead up to this World Cup – resulting in some fascinating and perplexing games. For example, the recent Australia vs South Africa series saw whopping scores of 392 and 416 made by the Proteas and likewise there’s been some magnificent individual efforts, with India’s Shubman Gill making a double-century in January and Englishman Ben Stokes making 182 earlier this month to break England’s highest individual ODI score.

On the whole, despite 50-over cricket being overshadowed, the format is still highly popular among cricket purists, despite the increasingly influential T20 flair of high scoring rates becoming more common.

But even if the format is increasingly phased out or fading in popularity, it will at least have one last dance in the form of the ICC’s seven-week carnival this autumn, showcasing the talents of bowlers and batsmen across the world.

England – who are looking to defend their title – look a remarkably strong side with Jos Buttler leading the line, backed-up by the incredibly experienced Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid – who were all part of the victorious 2019 team last time around.

Pakistan’s pace duo of Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf will provide great challenges to every team, although talented youngster Naseem Shah, who is out injured, will be a big miss.

However, under the leadership of captain Babar Azam, the No.1 ranked batsman in the format, Pakistan will still fancy their chances of building on their 2nd place finish in last year’s T20 World Cup.

Australia have had mixed fortunes of late, losing their last five-consecutive 50-over matches, however, with veteran Steve Smith back in the side, they are sure to be a force to be reckoned with in this year’s group stage.

South Africa, as mentioned, have posted some mammoth totals of late and if their form continues then it is definitely possible for them to break their deadlock in ICC events this year, with the 1998 Champions Trophy their sole ICC success so far.

New Zealand will be seeking revenge from their Super Over defeat to England in 2019, where they lost ‘by the barest of margins’, however their recent series against England did not go well – losing 3-1.

But captain Kane Williamson is set to re-join the squad, having been in rehab for a injury he sustained in March – he will undoubtedly be a huge boost.

But all eyes will be on India, with the last three ODI World Cups being won by the host nation. Their team is littered with quality throughout and with home crowd atmospheres at every match, beating the favourites will be an incredibly difficult task.

The World Cup squads – as confirmed last week:

Despite concerns about the future of the 50-over format, this World Cup is sure to have numerous storylines up its sleeve. Every team is littered with quality and the possibility of being ICC World Champions is still very much a huge ambition for all cricketing nations.

Whether it be one last dance or the birth of a new era for the format, the next 7 weeks of cricket will undoubtedly be a fascinating affair.

The tournament’s opener, a replay of the 2019 final – England vs New Zealand – kicks things off on Thursday at 8.30am GMT.

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