The 11th version of the ICC cricket World Cup takes place in Australia and New Zealand in 2015 and it promises to be the best and most competitive tournament ever. 14 teams will line up down under but who are the individual players destined to break through and help their country to lift the trophy?
James Faulkner, Australia
As co-hosts, Australia are favourites at 3.90 with Betfair to win the World Cup and while they have one of the most powerful top orders in the competition, 24 year old all rounder Faulkner could prove to be their crucial player.
Despite his relatively young age, Faulkner is a regular fixture in the IPL where his death bowling and potency with the ball have helped Rajasthan Royals to enjoy a resurgence in the last two seasons. But it’s with the bat where the Tasmanian can really help his country to succeed. Having played 24 ODI’s to date, Faulkner already has a 50 over century to his name while his most memorable performance saw him take 69 from 66 balls to drive the Aussies to an unlikely one wicket win against England at the start of 2014.
Alex Hales, England
Nottinghamshire’s Hales started the year as the number one ranked T20 batsman in the world but the opener was anxious not to be pigeon-holed as a 20 over specialist. After a difficult start to his domestic season, the 25 year old has responded with a string of high scores in first class cricket and his all round performances have finally earned a place in England’s one day squad for the series with India.
Hales has the power to break the rather pedestrian opening pair of Alastair Cook and Ian Bell and if the selectors give him a chance at the top of the order, he should enjoy a prolific world cup.
Quinton De Kock, South Africa
At 21, South African keeper / batsman De Kock is finally showing his huge potential after some disappointing showings in T20 cricket around the World. 2014 has been his breakthrough season, highlighted by three centuries in succession against the Indians.
The Lions man has been a little quieter against weaker opposition in Zimbabwe but a brilliant ODI record now includes five tons in his first 20 matches with an average of above 47 and an impressive strike rate at a shade under 89. In helpful conditions, De Kock is set for a productive tournament in 2015.
Sanju Samson, India
A talented, 19 year old wicket keeper / batsman, Samson is widely seen as MS Dhoni’s inheritor but there is every reason to rush the player into the ODI side right now. Like AB De Villiers and Brendon McCullum before him, Dhoni may need to drop the gloves in order to prolong his international career and despite his tender age, Samson seems ready to step up.
The teenager is explosive in T20 cricket and while his list A average and strike rate show a need for improvement, he has immense potential and deserves a chance in the international set up.
Jason Holder, West Indies
2012 T20 World Champions the West Indies seemed reluctant to release this giant fast bowler on to the international stage but having made his debut in Australia in 2013, the 22 year old has a respectable record with the ball while his batting is improving all the time.
Holder is reminiscent of the golden age of West Indies cricket – a man with genuine pace, bounce and hostility who should thrive on the quick surfaces provided at the 2015 World Cup.