Four years from now, there’ll possibly be about ten teams fighting hard for a World Cup. It is a long-cherished dream for any cricketer to want to lift the glorious trophy. Right from a very young age, cricketers impression the idea of playing at this stage and performing well for their respective team. However, there is a huge fix here.
Age is usually a massive factor and in between every two World Cups, a cricketer gets four years older. Thus, for the players who are already in their mid-30s, it is tough to keep up with the demands of the sport. As a result, for the upcoming edition of the tournament that will be played in India, we might miss a few legends of the game.
Here is the Best XI formed by the players who might possibly not play the World Cup 2023:
1. Mohammad Hafeez | Pakistan
Mohammad Hafeez. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Mohammad Hafeez has been serving Pakistan cricket for quite a long time now. The Punjab-born cricketer has been quite handy both with the bat as well as the ball. Hafeez adapts to different situations really well and has got immense experience.
He has also retired from Test cricket now and is possibly looking to extend his career in limited-over formats. However, he is already 38-years-old now. Moreover, Hafeez did not have the best of times in the World Cup 2019 and it is quite tough to fit him into the opening slot in ODI cricket.
His retirement is just around the corner and there is no chance that he’d play the World Cup 2023. He’d be 42-years-old by then and it will get tough for him to play that tournament. At most, Hafeez might play the T20 World Cup in 2020 and then bid adieu to the game.
2. Shikhar Dhawan | India
Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)
Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan has been an integral part of the side across all the formats since 2013. Along with Rohit Sharma, he forms a wonderful opening pair and they complement each other really well. Since the left-hander is quite aggressive at the start of the innings, he often gets the team off to great starts.
It was quite unfortunate that Dhawan had to miss the World Cup 2019 due to a fractured finger. Especially after that tremendous hundred against Australia, he’d have never wanted to leave England. But destiny had other plans for him and he had to fly back home.
Shikhar is 33 years old now. But the time he plays the next World Cup, he will be around 36 or 37. That is the kind of age where you are tested as a cricketer. Reflexes and movements slow down and it gets tough to survive as an opener. Thus, Dhawan might have already played his last World Cup game.
3. Faf du Plessis | South Africa
Faf du Plessis. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Faf du Plessis is one of the fittest athletes around. Even at 35, he is faster than many of the youngsters on the field. He is supremely agile and flexible making him a terrific asset on the ground. At this point, South Africa will need his services.
Since AB de Villiers and JP Duminy have already retired, he is one of the senior-most players in the batting line-up along with Hashim Amla. With the way he is playing at the moment, it might not take Amla too long to announce his retirement.
Thus, being the leader of the side, the responsibility of building a good side rests of Du Plessis. He might play for another one or two years but he is highly unlikely to feature in World Cup 2023. He will be 39 by then and his retirement is likely to come way earlier.
4. Ross Taylor | New Zealand
Ross Taylor. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Post his eye operation in 2015, Ross Taylor has been right up there with some of the top performers from all around the world. Until then, there was great uncertainty about his future but he has done extremely well to pull himself through till the World Cup 2019.
At this point in time, he still remains one of the most important members in the New Zealand batting line-up. The team is yet to find some reliable and good batsmen in the middle order to give company to Kane Williamson. Since he is doing a fair job now, Taylor might get to play for another couple of years.
But for him to prolong his career for another four years will be quite a tough ask. The current No.5 batsman in ODI cricket is highly likely to part ways with the sport after the T20 World Cup next year. By then, the Kiwis will have to find a reliable batsman in the middle order.
5. MS Dhoni (c)(wk) | India
MS Dhoni dismissal. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
While there were several speculations about MS Dhoni’s retirement after the World Cup 2019, the legendary cricketer seems to have other plans. He doesn’t seem to be interested in bidding goodbye to the game as yet and possibly wants to prolong his career a bit longer.
For now, he has taken a finite break of two months for the game due to an early commitment that he’d serve in his para-military regiment. Thus, he is likely to make a comeback after the Windies tour for the home season. While Dhoni is definitely batting well, his strike rates have been a massive concern.
This off-time will surely help him reanalyse his game and come back strong. However, apparently, he is no more the first-choice wicket-keeper and will have to fight hard for a place. Looking at the way things are going at the moment, he might play the T20 World Cup 2020 as well.
6. Angelo Mathews | Sri Lanka
Angelo Mathews. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews has been battling several injuries in recent times. He has had to go under the knife multiple times now and is definitely not at his best at the moment. Except for one or two-odd games, he didn’t have a great time in the World Cup 2019.
Moreover, he has hardly bowled in the last two years and has played as a pure batsman. However, Mathews hasn’t quite lived up to the role and has turned out to be kind of a burden for the team. Though, the way Sri Lanka is playing of late has turned out to be an advantage for him.
They need an experienced player like him in the middle order and thus he’s been able to hold onto his spot in the team. Though, him continuing for another four years seems highly improbable. Mathews is still fighting out several niggles and might not play for too long.
7. Mohammad Nabi | Afghanistan
Mohammad Nabi. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Mohammad Nabi has been an irreplaceable part of the Afghanistan team. His records speak for themselves and he adds a terrific balance to the team. In fact, he has featured in each of first 111 ODI games that Afghanistan has played before he missed out in May this year due to IPL commitment.
Afghanistan will want Nabi to play as long as possible and will definitely not put any pressure on him. He is quite a flexible asset to the side given that he can bat anywhere in the batting order. Moreover, he is also capable of bowling at any stage of the innings.
But the age factor might not allow Nabi to play the World Cup in India in 2023. He is not amongst the fittest players around and is already 34-years-old. While there is an outside chance that the veteran will play the upcoming World Cup, he needs to maintain his fitness at a whole different level.
8. Moeen Ali | England
Moeen Ali. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Moeen Ali was a part of the winning England team in the World Cup 2019. However, the batting all-rounder didn’t get to play all the games. He had to compete for spots with Liam Plunkett and as it turned out, the pacer had a better impact with the ball in the middle overs.
Thus, for a majority of the matches, Moeen had to be sidelined. Also, going by the current trends, finger spinners haven’t been able to create a massive impact. The rules haven’t really worked out in their favour and having two new balls in ODI cricket means that there isn’t a great deal of turn on offer.
While he has got age on his side, sustainability is a massive factor for Moeen Ali. There are several young cricketers rising up the ranks and waiting for their chances. Thus, there will be extreme competition and Moeen Ali has got to fight it out extremely hard to get through.
9. Dale Steyn | South Africa
Dale Steyn of South Africa. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
It was heart-breaking to see Dale Steyn miss out on playing the World Cup 2019. The legendary pacer made a comeback into the ODI team after about two years just a few months before the tournament. He was clearly eyeing this competition and wanted to play it.
However, just a few days prior, he aggravated his shoulder injury while playing an IPL game. Unfortunately, he couldn’t recover in time and didn’t get to play even a single game. Looking at how things have gone, Dale Steyn is highly unlikely to feature in the upcoming edition of the tournament.
South Africa has been producing some great fast bowlers of late. In the next four years, the team will look to groom these players for the future. Thus, it might not be too long that one of our favourite fast bowlers and one of the greatest in history will announce his retirement.
10. Lasith Malinga | Sri Lanka
Lasith Malinga. (Photo Source: Twitter)
In a few days time, we’ll see an end of the ‘Slinga’ era. With his unorthodox style of bowling, Lasith Malinga has made a massive impact over the years. He has changed the way the game is looked at and there isn’t anyone better at the yorkers than him.
For many years, he has been the strike bowler for Sri Lanka and they always turned to him in difficult situations. His clever variations of pace even outfoxed some of the best in the business and the opening spell that he bowled in the final of World Cup 2011 will be remembered for a long time.
However, several injuries over the years have hindered his progress. Now, after the three-match ODI series against Bangladesh, he is set to bid adieu to the game. The fans from all around the world will want to see him finish on a high with some great performances.
11. Kemar Roach | Windies
Kemar Roach. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
From the Windies team, Chris Gayle has already announced his retirement. The team is quite young at the moment and they could be lethal in the next four years. Amongst the current lot of players, there aren’t many who would announce their retirement any time soon.
Kemar Roach is one of those players who might potentially not play the World Cup 2023. He wasn’t a part of the plans prior to the World Cup and his selection came as a surprise. However, Roach has been an integral part of the Test team and has done extremely well for the side.
By 2023, he will be 35 years old. Like any other fast bowler, this is the age where there would be several fitness issues that will arise. Hence, the chances of him making it into the squad four years down the line seem to be quite sleek.
- World Cup
- Mohammad Hafeez
- MS Dhoni
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- West Indies
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