World Cup 2019: David Warner, Fakhar Zaman among the top five players to watch out for

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David Warner is a man with a point to prove.

The countdown to the 2019 ICC World Cup in England is well and truly under way with just over two weeks remaining for the global showpiece to kick off.

The top 10 teams in ODI cricket will be tussling for the glittering trophy with the biggest superstars of the game set to strut their stuff over the course of the six-week long tournament.

Ahead of what is the 12th edition of the World Cup, we take a look at the five players to watch out for in England.

JOS BUTTLER – ENGLAND

It has been a dream year or so for Jos Buttler in international cricket with the 28-year-old putting in some tour de force displays across all three formats of the game.

While Buttler’s incredible hitting power was already known when he initially broke onto the international scene in 2012, it is only over the past 12 months or so that he has really taken his game to the next level.

The right-hander’s consistency has been touching incredible levels of late with an ODI batting average of 107 in 2019.

Audacious, inventive and effortless are some of the adjectives which can be used to describe Buttler’s batting style and it is no surprise that he has now registered the two quickest ODI tons by an Englishman.

That he manages to stand out in an England side littered with big hitters is a feat in itself.

Buttler is the ace in the pack for England.

Buttler is the ace in the pack for England.

DAVID WARNER – AUSTRALIA

He might get a frosty reception wherever he goes during the World Cup but David Warner arrives at the tournament like a man possessed to bury the ghosts of a tumultuous 12 months.

Having served his one-year suspension from international cricket for his role in the infamous ball-tampering saga that occurred at Cape Town, Warner has returned to the game with a vengeance as seen by his IPL displays for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

692 runs at an average of over 69 and a strike-rate of nearly 144 flowed from Warner’s bat in the IPL with the southpaw batting like he had never been away.

There are few openers in international cricket who can take away the game from the opposition in the blink of an eye and Warner has done it umpteen times over the course of his career.

He will understandably face plenty of stick from England fans but expect Warner to dish out equal punishment through the blade of his bat.

Warner is a man possessed at the moment.

Warner is a man possessed at the moment.

CHRIS GAYLE – WEST INDIES

The 2019 World Cup will bring down the curtain on the international career of one of the greatest limited-overs players of all time, with Chris Gayle set for one last hurrah.

The veteran Windies opener is showing no sign of slowing down despite nearing 40 and looks to be in the mood to bow out in style. In 2019 alone, Gayle has registered two centuries and as many fifties in just four innings (all against England) with his average touching 106.

That he is coming off the back of an excellent individual IPL campaign that saw him score nearly 500 runs at a strike-rate of more than 153 should also strike plenty of fear into the opposition bowlers.

The added responsibility of being given the vice-captaincy for the World Cup will only give more incentive to the Jamaican to make a big statement before he bows out of the international game.

The Windies veteran will look to sign off on a high.

The Windies veteran will look to sign off on a high.

FAKHAR ZAMAN – PAKISTAN

Returning to the scene of his stellar breakthrough display in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy is Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman.

Since that superb match-winning ton against India in the final of the Champions Trophy, Fakhar has only being going from strength to strength with a terrific 2018 which saw him become the first Pakistan batsman to register an ODI double hundred.

Like Warner and Gayle, the Pakistan left-hander is as marauding an opener as they come in international cricket and is difficult to contain once he gets into gear.

After a brief lean period in international cricket, Fakhar looks back to his very best as shown by his recent ton against England where he nearly pulled off a record run-chase for Pakistan at Southampton.

Fakhar is back in form at just the right time for Pakistan.

Fakhar is back in form at just the right time for Pakistan.

VIRAT KOHLI – INDIA

Virat Kohli’s ODI credentials need no introduction with the India skipper arguably already establishing himself as a legend in the format.

The No1 ranked ODI batsman in the world is a ton-making machine who is perhaps at the peak of his powers currently. Fifteen of Kohli’s 41 ODI tons so far have come since the turn of 2017, with the right-hander on course to overhaul Sachin Tendulkar’s tally (49) in the next 12 months or so at his current rate.

While there is no doubt that Kohli will break all records there are to break in the 50-over game by the time he retires, leading India to their third World Cup title might very well end the debate surrounding his ODI GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) credentials.

Over 11,000 ODI runs and counting at a stellar average of nearly 60 is what Kohli brings to the table for India and he will be determined to put on a show in England after a relatively disappointing individual 2015 World Cup campaign.

Kohli has a chance to cement his ODI legacy.

Kohli has a chance to cement his ODI legacy.

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