Richard Mann provides a team-by-team guide to the Cricket World Cup, which begins on Thursday May 30 when England face South Africa at the Oval.
Squad: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Richard Mann's verdict:
In short, England are the team to beat. Their batting is unparalleled, particularly its fearsome middle order, while the emergence of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood's return to fitness means that England finally boast genuine pace to compliment spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali. With the best captain in the competition, Eoin Morgan, marshalling his troops with flair and calmness, only the huge weight of expectation upon the shoulders of the England players stands as a potential negative. Their recent record in knockout matches isn't too healthy either.
Mann's Star Man: Eoin Morgan
The upturn in England's white-ball fortunes in the four years since Eoin Morgan took over the captaincy has been remarkable, the side going from 2015 World Cup flops to 2019 World Cup favourites having dominated this form of this game over the last few years. Morgan's attacking, vibrant brand of captaincy has been embraced by his players and with his own form with the bat as good as at any time of his career, he now looks ready for his biggest test of all, one which could well cement the Irishman's legacy in English cricket.
Mann's Wild Card: Adil Rashid
Adil Rashid is often unheralded in a side packed with marquee names and big personalities. Nevertheless, Rashid has become a pivotal member of Eoin Morgan's side with his ability to act as a strike bowler in the key middle overs changing the way spin bowling is viewed in England in this form of the game. 132 ODI wickets and counting, England will want plenty more from the wrist-spinner this summer.
Fixtures: v South Africa (May 30, the Oval), v Pakistan (June 3, Trent Bridge), v Bangladesh (June 8, Cardiff), v West Indies (June 14, Rose Bowl), v Afghanistan (June 18, Old Trafford), v Sri Lanka (June 21, Headingley), v Australia (June 25, Lord's), v India (June 30, Edgbaston), v New Zealand (July 3, Chester-le-Street)
Squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), JP Duminy, Aiden Markram, David Miller, *Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Rassie van der Dussen.
Richard Mann's verdict:
For so long, South Africa have arrived at Cricket World Cups armed with beautifully-balanced squads packed with pace and laced with world-class batting, yet have somehow failed to win an ICC event. Graeme Smith's heartbreaking and tense interview in the aftermath of his side's capitulation to New Zealand in India back in 2011 perfectly summed up South African frustrations at another chance gone, while Grant Elliott's heroics, again for the Kiwis, managed to end another promising campaign for the Proteas four years later. With no AB de Villiers, Jaques Kallis or Morne Morkel to call upon this time around, the cupboard looks bare with an ageing Hashim Amla needing to recapture his best form with the bat and Dale Steyn hoping his shoulder of metal and screws can afford him one last hurrah. It seems unlikely and South Africa's wait will surely go on.
Mann's Star Man: Quinton de Kock
I would dearly have loved to use these inches to wax lyrical about AB de Villiers ahead of his last World Cup. Instead, we won't get to see de Villiers in a South Africa shirt one last time and a new star will need to emerge if the Proteas are going to go deep here. Step forward Quinton de Kock; a fearless left-handed opening batsman who has drawn comparisons with the great Adam Gilchrist, and not just because he is also a fine gloveman. An ODI batting average of 45.56 tells you that he can play and he now has the biggest stage of all to show the rest of the world.
Mann's Wild Card: Lungi Ngidi
Speed kills. That appears to be the message coming from the England camp having included Jofra Archer and Mark Wood in their final 15. South Africa boost a few rocket launchers of their own, Dale Styen, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi all packing a punch. Ngidi is the lesser known of the trio but he is good, and quick, and his IPL record tells you he can handle the big stage. Hold onto your seat belts.
Fixtures: v England (May 30, the Oval), v Bangladesh (June 2, the Oval), v India (June 5, Rose Bowl), v West Indies (June 10, Rose Bowl), v Afghanistan (June 15, Cardiff), v New Zealand (June 19, Edgbaston), v Pakistan (June 23, Lord's), v Sri Lanka (June 28, Chester-le-Street), v Australia (July 6, Old Trafford)
Squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav
Richard Mann's verdict:
If anyone has the firepower and belief needed to stop pre-tournaments favourites, England, on their home soil, India look most likely. Winners in 2011, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli remain from that fine side, only this time it is the latter who is in charge. In the ensuing years, Kolhi has become the biggest name in the sport, the best all-round batsman on the planet and a leader who has dragged his compatriots up with him, driving a new dawn of India cricketers who are fit and strong and able to match the world's best in the field. As ever, the batting relies heavily on Kolhi and the sublime Rohit Sharma but Kohli would do well to make room for KL Rahul at number four while the bowling is very strong, Jasprit Bumrah leading an attack that has pace, guile and wrist spin. Should they reach the knockout stages, don't underestimate the impact Dhoni's calm and experienced head could have. What a way it would be for him to bring down the curtain on a glittering international career.
Mann's Star Man: Virat Kohli
Already a World Cup winner, and having conquered England and the Dukes ball with the bat last summer before going on to lead India to a historic Test series victory in Australia only a few months later, it is hard to imagine that Virat Kohli has many more peeks to scale. Becoming a winning World Cup captain is certainly something he would like to tick off the bucket list and despite arriving in England on the back of a modest IPL, 41 ODI hundreds at an average of close to 60 tells you that he won't stay quiet for long. The best chaser in the history of the game, he might yet become the best batsman in the history of the game. As ever, India's key man.
Mann's Wild Card: KL Rahul
India have a history of producing elegant young batsman with some never quite living up to that early billing. Rohit Sharma looked sure to be another case in point until turning his career around and in handing KL Rahul a shock World Cup recall, India might well be handing him an international career lifeline. Test match hundreds in Australia and England demonstrate what a fine player he is, as do his consistently strong IPL returns, and if India give him the green light at number four for the opening match against South Africa, it could be match defining, maybe even tournament defining.
Fixtures: v South Africa (June 5, Rose Bowl), Australia (June 9, the Oval), v New Zealand (June 13, Trent Bridge), v Pakistan (June 16, Old Trafford), Afghanistan (June 22, Rose Bowl), v West Indies (June 27, Old Trafford), v England (June 30, Edgbaston), v Bangladesh (July 2, Edgbaston), v Sri Lanka (July 6, Headingley)
Squad: Aaron Finch (capt), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, *Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Richard Mann's verdict:
Regular followers of my twitter feed might have noted that I proclaimed back in November that Australia had zero chance of winning the 2019 Cricket World Cup, so bad and directionless was their white-ball cricket. Six months on, I have the humble pie warming nicely in the oven as Justin Langer and Aaron Finch continue to build an exciting outfit that has seen a sharp recent upturn in fortunes, winning in India before beating Pakistan in Dubai. This is the same Australia that were mauled by England here last summer but they have regrouped and found a winning formula since, led by an astute Finch and a strong pace attack that centres around the outstanding Pat Cummins. The return of David Warner and Steve Smith could prove the icing on the cake; Australian can most definitely win the Cricket World Cup.
Mann's Star Man: Pat Cummins
They say bowlers win you matches and Australian can lay claim to having the best in the world housed in the their ranks right now. Pat Cummins' rise to the top has seemed inevitable ever since he took seven wickets on his Test debut against South Africa at The Wanderers, aged 18, and although a spate of injuries stunted his progress thereafter, he is making up for lost time handsomely. Cummins has enjoyed a relatively injury free last couple of years and he has developed into a brilliant bowler in all conditions, his searing pace and smart-cricket brain making him Australia's most prized asset. You feel he holds the key to their World Cup hopes.
Mann's Wild Card: Alex Carey
Australia have a history of producing fine wicketkeeper-batsmen, Adam Gilchrist and Brad Haddin the most recent examples. Tim Paine is doing a pretty good job of continuing that trend in Test cricket but he has lost his place in the ODI side to Alex Carey, a reliable gloveman who can bat at the top of the order or score all around the wicket late in the innings. A relative unknown at the time of writing, this might not be the case in two months time.
Fixtures: v Afghanistan (June 1, Bristol), v West Indies (June 6, Trent Bridge), v India (June 9, the Oval), v Pakistan (June 12, Taunton), v Sri Lanka (June 15, the Oval), v Bangladesh (June 20, Trent Bridge), v England (June 25, Lord's), v New Zealand (June 29, Lord's), v South Africa (July 6, Old Trafford)
Squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.
Richard Mann's verdict:
As ever, New Zealand enter this World Cup somewhat under the radar. Nevertheless, they were runners-up in Australia in 2015 and house many of this same personnel this time around with Kane Williamson leading a side that includes Trent Boult, Ross Taylor and Tim Southee. Williamson and Boult are the two key cogs in this line-up but neither enjoyed stellar IPL tournaments recently and both will need their very best if New Zealand are to enjoy another deep run.
Mann's Star Man: Kane Williamson
Captain, number three batsman and talisman. Kane Williamson has become the most important figure in New Zealand cricket, with his white-ball exploits now starting to match his exceptional Test record, but he doesn't arrive in England in good form following a lean IPL. Williamson was troubled by injury early in that tournament but looked well off the pace upon his return to the Sunrisers Hyderabad side. Expect him to fire again very soon but New Zealand will be desperate for Williamson to hit the ground running when the tournament finally gets under way.
Mann's Wild Card: Ish Sodhi
Good wrist-spinners have become like gold dust in limited overs cricket over the last few years and New Zealand have got themselves a good one in Ish Sodhi. The 26-year-old has strong Big Bash and IPL experience and signed off from his latest visit to India by taking 3-26 in his last appearance for the Rajasthan Royals. His domestic form prior to that was encouraging, too. New Zealand would do well to make him one of the first names on their team sheet.
Fixtures: v Sri Lanka (June 1, Cardiff), v Bangladesh (June 5, the Oval), v Afghanistan (June 8, Taunton), v India (June 13, Trent Bridge), v South Africa (June 19, Edgbaston), v West Indies (June 22, Old Trafford), v Pakistan (June 26, Edgbaston), v Australia (June 29, Lord's), v England (July 3, Chester-le-Street)
Squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz.
Richard Mann's verdict:
The 2017 Champions Trophy winners can never be underestimated but their recent drubbing at the hands of England illustrates just how much work they have to do. Much to the frustration of coach Mickey Arthur, the fielding remains poor while the bowling has lost some of its potency. As such, Mohammad Amir has earned a late recall but he isn't the force of old while the batting lacks firepower, particularly in the middle order.
Mann's Star Man: Babar Azam
The best batsman Pakistan house in their ranks and someone who should have ambitions to become one of the best players in the world. Babar Azam boasts a white-ball record that has always read well - his strong off-side game helped when the ball doesn't move sideways - and he will look to do a very similar job to that of Joe Root and Kane Williamson at number three. Azam averaged 55.40 in the recent five-match series against England to enhance his reputation even further.
Mann's Wild Card: Wahab Riaz
Not so much a wild card but a wild one. Pakistan's lack of bite with the ball has led to the recalls of Mohammad Amir and even more surprisingly, Wahab Riaz. The veteran left-arm quick is still capable of generating good pace and his ability to bowl yorkers at the death is another reason why Mickey Arthur has had to swallow his pride and bring back a figure who hasn't always seen eye to eye with his coach. Recalling Riaz is clearly a gamble but Pakistan are running low on chips right now.
Fixtures: v West Indies (May 31, Trent Bridge), v England (June 3, Trent Bridge), v Sri Lanka (June 7, Bristol), v Australia (June 12, Taunton), v India (June 16, Old Trafford), v South Africa (June 23, Lord's), v New Zealand (June 26, Edgbaston), v Afghanistan (June 29, Headingley), v Bangladesh (July 5, Lord's)
Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Abu Jayed, Liton Das (wk), Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun (wk), Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal.
Richard Mann's verdict:
Bangladesh are yet to make the big impact on the global stage that many had predicted but they have still produced some fine cricketers along the way. Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim are two such names, the former one of the best all-rounders in the world and the latter a wonderful wicketkeeper-batsman. Both will need to enjoy fruitful tournaments if Bangladesh are the reach the latter stages, and even then, the Tigers might well fall short again.
Mann's Star Man: Shakib Al Hasan
A wily left-arm spinner, Shakib Al Hasan is always hard to dominate while his pugnacious batting has rarely let Bangladesh down. 249 ODI wickets and seven hundreds demonstrates his pedigree, as does the impressive career he has built for himself in franchise cricket around the world. Expect him to lead from the front again.
Mann's Wild Card: Mahmudullah
Often unheralded but generally reliable, Mahmudullah is vastly experienced with 175 ODI caps and counting and has now found himself settled into the Bangladesh middle order. Scores of 19*, 35* and 30* in his last three outings against the West Indies and Ireland suggest he arrives at the World Cup in good touch. His tidy off-spin could also come in handy.
Fixtures: v South Africa (June 2, the Oval), v New Zealand (June 5, the Oval), v England (June 8, Cardiff), v Sri Lanka (June 11, Bristol), v West Indies (June 17, Taunton), v Australia (June 20, Trent Bridge), v Afghanistan (June 24, Rose Bowl), v India (July 2, Edgbaston), v Pakistan (July 5, Lord's)
Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Mendis (wk), Kusal Perera (wk), Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay
Richard Mann's verdict:
Long gone are the glory days of Sri Lankan cricket, the 1996 winners and 2007 and 2011 runners-up having taken a dramatic fall from grace following the retirements of stalwarts Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan. Lasith Malinga remains but he doesn't look the force of old and it no surprise to see him lose the captaincy to Dimuth Karunaratne given how well the latter did with the Test outfit in South Africa earlier in the year. A tough few weeks lay ahead.
Mann's Star Man: Angelo Mathews
He might not have made too many friends with the Sri Lankan cricket board in recent months but Angelo Mathews remains Sri Lanka's best and most experienced batsman. His body has always been fragile but 5381 ODI runs at an average of 42.03 demonstrates what a wonderful servant he has been and his recent domestic form would suggest he is gearing up for one last hurrah.
Mann's Wild Card: Kusal Perera
Sri Lanka don't have too many secrets from anyone nowadays with little mystery spin or unorthodox batting to worry about. However, those of us lucky enough to see Kusal Perera's unbeaten 153 blast Sri Lanka to a famous Test victory over South Africa in Durban earlier in the year will know what a dangerous player he can be. Perera has yet to really deliver on his undoubted talent in this form of the game - now would be the perfect time to put that right.
Fixtures: v New Zealand (June 1, Cardiff), v Afghanistan (June 4, Cardiff), v Pakistan (June 7, Bristol), v Bangladesh (June 11, Bristol), v Australia (June 15, the Oval), v England (June 21, Headingley), v South Africa (June 28, Chester-le-Street), v West Indies (July 1, Chester-le-Street), v India (July 6, Headingley)
Squad: Gulbadin Naib (capt), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Richard Mann's verdict:
Given what the country and this team has had to endure in recent years, Afghanistan's very appearance at the Cricket World Cup is cause for great celebration and something all involved should be immensely proud of. However, this talented outfit aren't in England to make up the numbers and in wrist-spinner Rashid Khan, they boast one of the best white-ball operators in world cricket. Reaching the semi-finals should be a bridge too far at this stage but the World Cup debutants have enough firepower to claim a few scalps along the way.
Mann's Star Man: Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan will need little introduction to anyone who has witnessed this brilliant wrist-spinner take the Big Bash and IPL by storm in recent years. Not an overly big spinner of the ball, Khan is deceptively quick and boasts a fine googly that has proven almost impossible read. Like all good spinners, he rarely takes a backwards step and will be desperate to show up well in what is such a huge event for his country.
Mann's Wild Card: Mohammad Shahzad
Never mind wild card, if Mohammad Shahzad bats for any length of time the bowlers are usually wild with fury and the crowds wild with delight. Don't be fooled by his portly waistline and almost amateur appearance, Shahzad is a seriously talented top-order batsmen who attacks from the off and is one of the stalwarts of Afghanistan cricket. Six glorious ODI hundreds already, it will be some spectacle if he can add a seventh in the next few weeks.
Fixtures: v Australia (June 1, Bristol), v Sri Lanka (June 4, Cardiff), v New Zealand (June 8, Taunton), v South Africa (June 15, Cardiff), v England (June 18, Old Trafford), v India (June 22, Rose Bowl), v Bangladesh (June 24, Rose Bowl), v Pakistan (June 29, Headingley), v West Indies (July 4, Headingley)
Squad: Jason Holder (capt), Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (wk), Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas.
Richard Mann's verdict:
It is hard to imagine a Cricket World Cup without the flair and panache of Caribbean cricket and I won't have been the only one relieved to see the West Indies qualify along with Afghanistan. As we saw with the Test team against England last winter, captain Jason Holder looks to be driving West Indies cricket back to the top and as ever, they possess some of the most dangerous limited-overs performers on the planet. Chris Gayle, appearing in his last World Cup, remains one of the most intimidating opening batsmen in the sport and the likes of Shia Hope, Kemar Roach and Shimron Hetmyer will be desperate to send the 'Universe Boss' into international retirement with a World Cup winners medal around his neck. They can be bad, they can be brilliant, but the West Indies can never be completely ruled out.
Mann's Star Man: Kemar Roach
In a tournament that seems sure to be dominated by the bat, the bowlers who are able to thrive in England could go a long way to deciding the fate of their respective countries. West Indies are no different, a side packed with batting talent but one likely to concede plenty with the ball. In Kemar Roach, their most experienced bowler, they have an operator who can be as deadly as accurate when on song. He might not be quite as quick as he once was, but as England found to their cost last winter, he is still very good.
Mann's Wild Card: Evin Lewis
All eyes will be on Chris Gayle at the start of every West Indies batting innings but he tends to take his time early on nowadays and expect the initial fireworks to come from the other end and from the blade of Evin Lewis. Gayle's fellow left-hander isn't short of confidence himself and his talents have already seen him feature for the Mumbai Indians at the IPL. A brisk half-century against Australia in a recent warm-up game suggests he is ready to make his mark.
Fixtures: v Pakistan (May 31, Trent Bridge), v Australia (June 6, Trent Bridge), v South Africa (June 10, Rose Bowl), v England (June 14, Rose Bowl), v Bangladesh (June 17, Taunton), v New Zealand (June 22, Old Trafford), v India (June 27, Old Trafford), v Sri Lanka (July 1, Chester-le-Street), v Afghanistan (July 4, Headingley)