The grandest event of the game of cricket is just a year away and teams have already begun to assemble their jigsaw pieces to make sure that they go into the competition with the right balance. The World Cup is the perfect Colosseum for the ‘star players’ and over the past 11 tournaments, big names like Steve Smith, MS Dhoni and others have led their nation to glory sumptuously. While some of the stars are expected to deliver once again, there are a few big players who might miss out onthe flight to England & Wales come 2019. Here is a list of 5 high-profile players who could face the axe:
I Suresh Raina| Batsman|India|
Arguably, the greatest under-achiever in Indian cricket, Suresh Raina only recently made a comeback into the national side in the tour of South Africa. However, he last played an ODI in October 2015. The swashbuckling left-handed batsman has been included in the ODI squad for the upcoming series against England. That being said, it is highly unlikely to see him get a game as the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Dinesh Karthik are above him in the pecking order. Furthermore, with Kedar Jadhav likely to return to action soon, it will be a big surprise if the 31-year old gets another call up in the foreseeable future.
II Andrew Tye| Bowler |Australia|
AJ Tye is plausibly one of the best bowlers in T20I cricket at this point of time. His performances though, in ODI cricket, have been abject,putting it mildly. In the recently concluded series against
England, he was taken to the cleaners by the English batsmen and conceded runs at an economy rate of 7.96.
The 31-year old medium pacer is an exceptional bowler on slow and dry pitches but with the World Cup being held on flat English pitches, the Western Australian will find it extremely hard to find his feet for defending the champions. Besides, the big three (Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood) will return back to the starting eleven when fit, and with Billy Stanlake, Kane Richardson and Jhye Richardson exploiting much more out of these batting- friendly decks, it won’t be a shock if Tye’s name is omitted from the Australian side for the World Cup.
III Chris Morris|All Rounder| South Africa
When Chris Morris became a regular in the South African ODI team, much was expected out of his all-round abilities. His noteworthy contributions for the Proteasthough have been few and far between. The all-rounder has a batting average of 19.7 in 34 ODIs and has taken just 35 wickets at an average of 40.43 which is not good enough for a player of his calibre.
The 31-year old had a series to forget against India in the beginning of the year, following which he carried his poor form into the IPL as well, before picking up an injury which eventually ruled him out of the competition. Courtesy of his disappointing outings in the recent past, contrasted with Andile Phehlukwayo’srise, it is more likely that the latter will be picked ahead in the squad.
IV Chris Gayle | Batsman|West Indies|
Chris Gayle has been one of the most destructive batsmen in the modern era.He has amassed 9585 runs in 281 matches, and has carried Caribbean cricket to glory, on his shoulders, in the past decade. But, his form has dipped considerably over the past couple of yearsand he has been knocking the exit door ever since the second match of the World Cup 2019 qualifiers. After scoring a century in the opening match, he only managed to score 42 runs in the next five games.
Even in the IPL, he showed glimpses of the ‘Gayle storm’ in the first few games but his season petered out gradually as the tournament went on.
The 38-year old Jamaican has indeed been a great servant to Windies cricket. But with a young crop of players like Shai Hope and ShimronHetmyerstepping up to the plate, the Windies may look to bid farewell to one of their greatest players ever.
V Ajinkya Rahane| Batsman|India
Perhaps the unluckiest player in Indian cricket of late, Ajinkya Rahane has had a topsy-turvy time in the ODI team. His position in the batting order was consistently being altered almost every series although he was excellent in the two of his most recent series as an opener.
The real problem for him though comes when he bats in the middle order; his inability to rotate strike, coupled with consumption of dot balls has made him a liability in the middle overs which was clearly apparent in the recent tour of South Africa, where he scored a mere 140 runs in 6 matches at a lowly strike rate of 76.92.
The 30-year old didn’t show up in the IPL either, as a result of which, he has been dropped from the ODI setup; and with the emergence of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, Rahane’s bid to enter into the squad for the World Cup is in jeopardy to say the least.
Almost all these players have had a lean patch for quite some time now and with other players outperforming them, it is highly unlikely to see them represent their country in the 12th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup next year.