The Cricket World Cup gets under way at the Oval on Thursday, with 10 teams slugging it out for the title.
Let’s take a look at five bowlers to watch.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
Rashid Khan’s rise has been spectacular. The wily leg-spinner made his international debut at the tender age of 17, shortly after his team’s first appearance in the 50-over World Cup in 2015. Four years on, he is a globetrotting white-ball superstar who is highly sought after in franchise competitions. Khan, who tops the world Twenty20 bowling rankings and lies third in the 50-over standings, is Afghanistan’s go-to bowler with 125 wickets in 59 ODI matches.
Jasprit Bumrah (India)
Currently top of the ICC ODI rankings, Jasprit Bumrah arrives in England with the wind in his sails. He has just enjoyed another productive Indian Premier League campaign, playing a key part in Mumbai Indians’ fourth record title in the T20 tournament. Genuinely sharp but with a neat line in slower balls and an unorthodox sling-arm action, he is at his best in the death overs. Bumrah, 25, averages an impressive 22.15 at an economy rate of 4.51 in 49 ODIs.
Pat Cummins (Australia)
Australia’s one-day side has been struggling for much of the past two years but is coming good at the perfect time. In Pat Cummins they boast a new ball bowler capable of extracting life from flat pitches and taking clusters of wickets. His history of injury suggests he may need to be managed carefully but if that part is handled with care the job of ruffling feathers in big games can safely be left to the 26-year-old.
Imran Tahir (South Africa)
At 40 years of age and with retirement beckoning, Imran Tahir might seem a less likely hope for South Africa than charismatic paceman Kagiso Rabada. But Rabada’s back problems leave a question mark against him on the eve of the tournament, while Tahir has worked himself into a nice groove at the IPL. The veteran wrist-spinner comes into the big event on the back of 26 wickets — one better than Rabada and top of the bowlers chart — for runners-up Chennai Super Kings in the glitzy T20 league.
Jofra Archer (England)
Jofra Archer has been the focal point of much of the talk around World Cup favourites England. Adil Rashid’s leg-spin could be crucial but the Barbados-born Archer looks like playing a role at the key moments — whether it be it with new ball in hand at the start of the innings or hurling down the old one in the final overs. India skipper Virat Kohi called him the “X-factor” for England.