The Cricket World Cup returns to the UK for the first time in two decades

The Cricket World Cup returns to the UK for the first time in two decades this summer. Ten teams will play across 12 venues, with England earmarked as hot favourites on home soil.

England and Wales will host the six-week tournament, which starts with England vs South Africa on May 30th and ends with the final at Lord's on July 14.

Each team will play each other once in a round-robin format, with the top four progressing to the semi-finals in the first week of July.

The Teams

Afghanistan:

Last CWC: Group stage

Best Finish: Group stage (2015)

Coach: Phil Simmons

Captain: Gulbadin Naib     

Afghanistan have qualified for their second-ever World Cup but their synonymy with instability is still hard to shake. Coach Phil Simmons has already confirmed he will step down post-tournament regardless of results.

Former captain Asghar Afghan was unceremoniously booted from the squad to be replaced by the little-known Gulbadin Naib in what has been labelled a “political change” by former coach Kabir Khan. It isn’t all bad though after securing a principal partnership with Indian dairy brand Amul to take up branding on the team’s playing jerseys.

Australia

Last CWC: Champions

Best Finish: Champions (1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2015)

Coach: Justin Langer

Captain: Aaron Finch

Four years on from winning the Cricket World Cup on home soil in Melbourne, Australia no longer look to be the all-conquering cricket machine of the past. The one-year suspensions for Steve Smith and David Warner for ball tampering come to an end just in time for the World Cup but the question will remain are they on top of their game. The scandal saw Cricket Australia lose the support of the Magellan Financial Group and Qantas Airlines but as the body tries to move on and change culture it received a boost by securing a new shirt sponsor on the eve of the World Cup.

Bangladesh

Last CWC: Quarter-finals

Best Finish: Quarter-finals (2015)

Coach: Steve Rhodes

Captain: Mashrafe Mortaza

Bangladesh have qualified for their fifth consecutive Cricket World Cup and will be full of confidence heading into the tournament. The team defeated the West Indies in the final of the tri-nation series in Ireland to secure their first ever ODI international tournament. There was some furore when Bangladesh released their kit for the tournament and it was predominantly green, the same colour as rivals Pakistan, and lacked the red colours that can be found on the nation’s flag. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) quickly rectified the error.

England

Last CWC: Group stage

Best Finish: Runners-up (1979, 1987, 1992)

Coach: Trevor Bayliss

Captain: Eoin Morgan

Since England’s dreadful showing four years ago when they didn’t even make it out of the group stage, the ODI team have been rampant. Now the world’s number one ODI team, having smashed 400 runs on four occasions, you would be brave to bet against them. The addition of Jofra Archer merely makes the thought of England even scarier. "I'd rather be favourites than non-contenders," said England captain Eoin Morgan in a bullish statement ahead of the tournament

India

Last CWC: Semi-finals

Best Finish: Champions (1983, 2011)

Coach: Ravi Shastri

Captain: Virat Kohli

Indian will be looking to secure a third Cricket World Cup title and will be hoping they don’t have to wait as long for the third as they did the second. With captain Virat Kohli, the world’s best batsman, India will fancy their chances.  Following the 2019 Pulwama attack, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) called for the boycott of the group match fixture between India and Pakistan, wanting to ban the Pakistan team from playing in the tournament, a suggestion that was rejected by the ICC. Tickets for the fixture at Old Trafford in Manchester sold out within 48 hours.

New Zealand

Last CWC: Runners-up

Best Finish: Runners-up (2015)

Coach: Gary Stead

Captain: Kane Williamson

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has faced a mass of financial issues in the four years since finishing as runners-up in 2015. In 2017 the governing body recorded losses of NZ$9.3 million and has had various stand- offs with local districts to cut spending. The ICC also changed its payment plan to NZC which has resulted in the body missing out on some NZ$2 million already in 2019. The New Zealand national team is said to account for 90 per cent on NZC’s income, so a good performance at the World Cup would boost any potential revenue incomings.

Pakistan

Last CWC: Quarter-finals

Best Finish: Champions (1992)

Coach: Mickey Arthur

Captain: Sarfaraz Ahmed

Pakistan secured AJ Sports as their technical supplier in a move described by AJ Sports director Syed Ibne Haider as “a matter of great pride and honour.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has also made to the decision to ban the families of players from travelling to the World Cup so as not to distract the players as they look to win the tournament for this first time in nearly three decades.

South Africa

Last CWC: Semi-finals

Best Finish: Semi-finals (1992, 1999, 2007, 2015)

Coach: Ottis Gibson

Captain: Faf du Plessis

Since their debut in 1992, South Africa have been the perennial nearly-men, so close yet so far having reached the semi-finals on four separate occasions. The retirement of cricketing great AB de Villers has ushered in a new, youthful team who are hoping to go under the radar and cause an upset. "You can't control history," South Africa captain Faf du Plessis is not planning on letting his nation's previous shortcomings impact his efforts to win the tournament

Sri Lanka

Last CWC: Quarter-finals

Best Finish: Champions (1996)

Coach: Chandika Hathurusingha

Captain: Dimuth Karunaratne

Sri Lanka are in poor form heading into the tournament having suffered eight games in whitewashes to New Zealand and South Africa and overall lack of consistency. Performance analyst Sanath Jayasundara was also charged with breaching the ICC’s anti-corruption code over alleged bribes.

West Indies

Last CWC: Quarter-finals

Best Finish: Champions (1975, 1979)

Coach: Floyd Reifer

Captain: Jason Holder

The West Indies have had a less than relaxing build up to the World Cup. Back in November, Nic Pothas took over as coach from Stuart Law after the former left to coach Middlesex. Pothas then left his role in January to be replaced by Richard Pybus but Pybus lasted just three months before being replaced by current coach Floyd Reifer. Cricket West Indies (CWI) hope to have a full-time coach in from September. Chris Gayle has confirmed he will retire from ODI cricket after featuring in his fifth Cricket World Cup

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