With the advent of two new balls in ODI cricket, the game has titled heavily in favour of the batsmen. Fast bowlers have not been able to successfully generate reverse swing – a big weapon in the arsenal of pacers in the 90s and early 2000s. As a result, we have witnessed a steep rise in the number of 300-plus scores posted by the teams in the last few years.
Coming to the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales, thedry pitches and hot weather will make it even more tough for the bowlers,especially pacers, to contain the batsmen when they look to send them on aleather hunt.
While it is obvious that batsmen will find it relativelyeasy to score runs, the fielding captains will be looking at their strikebowlers to bring in new variety to outsmart the batsmen and keep them undercheck.
IANS looks at the top five bowlers who can pose a threat tobatsmen in England during the showpiece event:
Jasprit Bumrah (India)
Rated by many as the best bowler in the world at present,Bumrah will hold the key to India's chances of winning the World Cup for thethird time. The number one-ranked ODI bowler is known to be a death-oversspecialist. His unorthodox action, along with his ability to generate pace andbounce, can be highly tricky for the batsman to score runs.
Bumrah has been in top form in recent times, picking up 19wickets in 16 matches in the recently concluded IPL which the Mumbai Indianswon.
Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)
The 23-year-old has taken centre stage ever since he madehis international debut in November 2015. Rabada's raw pace and his ability togenerate bounce and swing on any given track provides skipper Faf du Plessiswith an opportunity to pick wickets at any given stage of the game. Rabadaplayed a vital role in Delhi Capitals reaching the playoffs as he picked up 25wickets in the 12 matches he played. A stiff back saw him being ruled out ofthe tournament in the business end.
He is on his way to recovery and if South Africa are to getover their 'choker' tag, he alongside Dale Steyn and Chris Morris will have toperform a very important role in the World Cup.
Mitchell Starc (Australia)
The left-arm pacer is arguably one of those players who willbe closely followed by cricket fans during the World Cup. Starc will have toplay a big role in leading the Australian bowling attack in their bid to defendthe title they won in 2015 at home.
The 29-year-old was in sensational form in the last editionof the World Cup in Australia and was named the Player of the Tournament afterhe picked 22 wickets in the showpiece event.
However, since then, Starc has not been able to replicatehis performance. He has suffered from a lot of injuries in the last four yearsand also has lost the raw pace with which he used to threaten the batsmen.
Even then, he will be at the centre-stage and will hold keyto Aaron Finch's chances of raising the trophy at the Lord's balcony come July15.
Trent Boult (New Zealand)
The New Zealand left-armer has been leading the bowlingattack since many years for his team. He, alongside Starc, was the leadingwicket-taker in the 2015 World Cup.
One of the key aspects which separates Boult with otherpacers is his control and accuracy. He can swing the ball day in day out on anypitch across the world.
A veteran of 61 Tests and 79 ODIs, Boult has not been in thebest of forms in the recent past. Even in the IPL, the 29-year-old didn't getmuch opportunity to play and picked up five wickets in the five matches heplayed for Delhi Capitals.
Kane Williamson would be desperately hoping that Boult comesto his own in the World Cup and leads the pace battery from the front.
Hasan Ali (Pakistan)
The 24-year-old Hasan Ali rose from a talented bowler to amatch-winner by delivering some dazzling performances during the 2017 ChampionsTrophy. Ali, who was adjudged the Player of the Tournament in the ChampionsTrophy, played a pivotal role in Pakistan clinching their maiden title bypicking up 13 wickets.
Ali is capable of bowling a variety of deliveries and canconstantly bowl over 90 mph and remains the go to fast-bowler for Pakistanskipper Sarfaraz Ahmed whenever they are in search of wickets.With 77 ODI wickets in 44 games, the right-armpacer will be expected by both coach Mickey Arthur and Sarfaraz to replicatehis 2017 performance in England and help the Men in Green add another World Cuptitle to their kitty.