Five bowlers who could light up the 2023 World Cup

The following are five bowlers to watch at the World Cup in India

Five bowlers who could light up the 2023 World Cup PHOTO: REUTERS

MARK WOOD (ENGLAND) Mark Wood's lethal pace made him an integral part of England World Cup-winning side in 2019, taking 18 wickets in the tournament, but injuries have limited him to just eight ODI matches since 2020. However, he has been in great touch in test cricket this year with 14 wickets in three matches and if he can translate that form into the 50-overs format he could once again prove to be a crucial asset for England. 

ADAM ZAMPA (AUSTRALIA) Adam Zampa will be the only specialist spinner in the Australia squad for the World Cup. He has taken 45 wickets in the 50-over format since the beginning of 2022, and played a key role for Australia in their ODI series victory over India in March. While he equalled an unwanted record by bowling the joint-most expensive spell by an Australian in an ODI defeat to South Africa last month, the 31-year-old recovered well, picking up six wickets in his last three matches in the build-up to the World Cup.

SHAHEEN AFRIDI (PAKISTAN) After aggravating a knee injury during last year's Twenty20 World Cup final in Australia, Shaheen Afridi did not play white-ball cricket for Pakistan for several months, only returning to the squad in April. Since his return, he has taken 24 wickets in 12 matches, including a devastating four-wicket haul in a Group A clash against India at the Asia Cup in which the 23-year-old dismissed both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. 

KULDEEP YADAV (INDIA) While India's bowling attack has no shortage of weapons, Kuldeep Yadav could prove to be the difference for the hosts with the wristspinner having taken 33 wickets in the 50-overs format this year. The 28-year-old's miserly bowling can put heavy pressure on batters to score, allowing other bowlers to pick up wickets. He was named Player of the Series at the Asia Cup, boasting an economy of 3.61 and an average of 11.44, even though four other bowlers took more wickets than his haul of nine for the tournament. 

MATHEESHA PATHIRANA (SRI LANKA) Matheesha Pathirana has enjoyed a breakout year since making his ODI debut for Sri Lanka in June, taking 15 wickets in 10 matches. The 20-year-old, who has modelled his round-arm action on compatriot Lasith Malinga but with an even lower release point, took 11 wickets at the Asia Cup to top the charts for the tournament. He is also accustomed to playing in India, taking 19 wickets for the Chennai Super Kings in their title-winning campaign in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL).