Top five underrated players to watch out for at World Cup

We take a look at five players who can burst onto the scene during mega event

Top five underrated players to watch out for at World Cup PHOTO: AFP

The International Cricket Council (ICC) 2019 World Cup is only nine days away and cricket fans around the world are getting excited. Rather expectedly, most of the discussion has revolved around the favourites.

However, Cricket is a game of great uncertainties and beauty of the World cup is in the players that surprise through their outstanding performances. Thus, it is pertinent to look at some of the more underrated players that can make an impact in the upcoming mega event.

Kedhar Jadhav

Naturally, all discussion surrounding the Indian team leading up to any ICC tournament is pertained to their power packed top-order of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and captain Virat Kohli. For good reason too, as this trio was among the top five run-scorers in the 2017 Champions Trophy in England.

Yet, these are not the only batsmen from India that opposition teams need to be wary of. All-rounder Kedhav Jadhav is an aggressive batsman who can keep the run-rate in check as well as play the big shots, at will, when required. He has shown the ability to pace his innings according to the situation of the game, when he scored a match-winning knock of 120 runs off only 76 balls against England to chase a mammoth total of 356 in 2017.

The 34-year-old is also a handy off-spinner who has a knack of breaking important partnerships and can play a crucial role of sixth bowling option for India in the middle-overs. This all-round ability of Jadhav makes him a player to look out for in the mega event.

Haris Sohail

Pakistan left-hand batsman Haris Sohail has had a start-stop career blighted by injuries due to which he is yet to be a permanent member of Pakistan playing XI. However, after his latest comeback from injury in the Australia series, the 30-year-old registered his maiden hundred after 10 fifty-plus scores and put an end to suggestions that he cannot play a big innings due to his fitness issues.

If preferred over the senior all-rounders Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik in the playing XI, the elegant batsman has the ability to play the anchor role and hold Pakistan batting together in the middle-overs. Sohail will be required to form important partnerships with top-order batsmen in-order to set a platform for lower-order batsmen to take Pakistan to totals, which their bowlers can defend.Sohail also has the ability to pick wickets with his left-arm spin and can provide the Pakistan team with an economical part-time bowling option.

Jeevan Mendis

All-rounder Jeevan Mendis provides Sri Lanka with genuine leg-spin, lower-order hitting and brilliant athleticism in the field. Perhaps, this is reason why Sri Lanka Cricket Chief Selector Asantha De Mel described Mendis as a three-dimensional option who brings balance to the side.

Mendis has forced his way into the Sri Lanka one-day international (ODI) side after four years, on the back of some outstanding performances in domestic one-day tournament. He was the joint leading wicket-taker among spinners in Sri Lanka’s domestic limited-overs tournament and scored a quick fifty off just 33 balls in a third-place playoff.

The 36-year-old is an ideal player for shorter format as he can bowl with control, which has helped him in making a name for himself in various T20 leagues around the world. The leg-spinner was the second highest wicket-taker in Mzansi Super League in 2018 and has played for Derbyshire in England, which can work in his favour during the mega event.

Nathan Coulter-Nile

Australia pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile brings variety to the Australia bowling attack, which is missing their premier pacer Josh Hazlewood. Coulter-Nile has the ability to swing the new ball, a well-disguised slower balls and an effective Yorker.

Coulter-Nile has only played 27 ODIs despite making his debut six years ago. The right-arm pacer career has been plagued by injuries, which has hampered his chances of being a regular member of the Australia bowling attack.

However, the 31-year-old is finally back and entering the World cup on the back of a good tour to UAE, where he picked seven wickets in three ODIs against Pakistan. Coulter-Nile’s utility isn’t restricted to his bowling, as he also has an energetic presence on the field and can provide some good cameos towards the later part of the innings with the bat. The right-arm pacer can form a threatening opening bowling pair with left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc and can put the opposition teams under pressure early.

Matt Henry

New Zealand Matt Henry is a slippery pacer who can trouble batsmen with his heavy ball as well as seam movement. Despite playing under the shadow of New Zealand star pacers Tim Southee and Trent Boult, Henry has performed exceedingly well by taking 78 wickets in 43 ODIs at an average of 26.21.

Henry can form a potent pace-attack with Southee and Boult, and can make crucial inroads in the opposition’s batting line-up during the middle overs.

The 27-year-old represented Kent last season in the Division Two of the County Championship and took 75 wickets, which were the highest across both county divisions. His experience of playing in England will certainly help in making an impact during the mega event.