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Top pacers to watch out for in World Cup 2023

The pacers who’ll make batters ‘smell the leather’ in World Cup 2023. Top six pacers to watch out in ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.

CWC 2023: Jasprit Bumrah among the top pacers to watch out in world cup _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Bumrah celebrating a wicket (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Top pacers from various cricketing nations will be showcasing their prowess in the upcoming ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 in India. Many of these pace bowlers shine in the limited overs format, with the goal to fox the batters with their fiery pace and accuracy.


Generally, bowler’s contributions often determine the outcome of the crucial games, making them one of the most valuable assets behind the team’s success. With fierce competition and immense talent on display, the ODI World Cup offers them an opportunity to make new records and etch their names in the history books.


Let’s check out the top six bowlers to watch out for in the upcoming ICC ODI Cricket World Cup 2023:

Asia Cup 2023, Final, IND vs SL_ Mohammed Siraj's 6-21 helps India beat Sri Lanka _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©ICC_Twitter)
Siraj's 6-21 in Asia Cup dismantled Sri Lanka (Images: ©ICC/Twitter)
Mohammed Siraj (53 wickets in 27 innings since 2022)

One of the key bowlers in India’s pace attack, especially in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, has been Mohammad Siraj. In the last two years, Siraj has developed his skills immensely to earn success in all phases of the 50-over game.


Whether it’s taking wickets with the new ball, or breaking a partnership in the middle overs, or coming back at the death overs to stop the opponents from finishing on a high- Siraj has ticked all boxes. Since the start of 2022, Siraj has taken 53 ODI wickets in 27 innings at an average of 17.67 and economy of 4.62, including one five wicket haul with his best bowling figure of 6/21.


Out of the 53 scalps, 32 wickets have come in the power play in 27 innings at an average of 15.87 and economy of 4.16. In 2023, the current top ranked ODI bowler has picked up 29 scalps in 12 innings at an average of 12.86 and economy of 4.62, with two four and one five wicket hauls.


Even in Asia Cup 2023, Siraj was the joint second-highest wicket taker with 10 scalps in five games at an average of 12.20 - with the best performance in the series of 6/21, which demolished the Sri Lanka side in the final.


On his maiden World Cup outing, Siraj with his fiery temperament will aim to dish out phenomenal spells for India.



Shaheen Afridi (33 wickets in 16 innings since 2022)

Ever since making his debut at a young age, Shaheen Shah Afridi has been a nightmare for the batters with his blistering pace, accurate line and the ability to swing the ball either ways.

Being a left-hander, the batters are always afraid of his in-swing delivery that can trap them before the stumps (LBW) or break their furniture. His ability to reverse swing with the old ball is an added threat for batters.


Even though he was injured for most part of 2022, Afridi has bagged 33 wickets in 16 innings - at an average of 21.33 and economy of 5.34 with a best of 4/35. In 2023 so far, Afridi has 24 scalps to his name in 12 innings at an average of 22 and economy of 5.30. Since 2022, he also has 11 wickets in 16 innings during the initial power play at an economy of 4.72, while in the last 10 overs; he has 18 scalps in 10 innings at an economy of 6.97.


Even in the recently concluded Asia Cup 2023, Afridi managed 10 wickets in just five games at an average of 23.50 and at an economy of 5.73. With Naseem Shah possibly getting ruled out of the World Cup and Haris Rauf being unavailable for a few games, Afridi has to shoulder the added responsibilities this time.



Mitchell Starc (24 wickets in 11 innings since 2022)

One of the most vicious sights in modern day cricket has been Mitchell Starc’s ominous swinging deliveries coming at breakneck speeds. Whether it’s in the power play or middle overs or at the death, against both right and left-handed batters, Starc has been just unplayable on numerous occasions.


Since 2022, Starc has been part of 11 games - picking up 24 ODI wickets at an average of 19.16 and an economy of 4.78, including one fifer with his best bowling figure of 5/53. In the same span, Starc had 14 powerplay scalps in 11 innings at an average of 13.28 and an economy of 4.32. He was also the highest wicket taker in both 2015 and 2019 World Cup with 22 and 27 scalps, respectively.


Even though he missed the recent South Africa series due to an injury, Starc has enough experience of playing in India. During their last ODI series to India in March, Starc was the highest wicket taker with eight wickets in three games at an average of 21.12 and economy of 6.07. He will look to repeat the same to help Australia towards their goal of winning the sixth ODI World Cup title.


IRE vs IND, T20I 2023_ India clinch the series by 2-0 as third match interrupted by rain _ Walking wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Bumrah's return to ODI cricket has been smooth since injury (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Jasprit Bumrah (17 wickets in eight innings since 2022)

There aren’t any questions on the ability of Jasprit Bumrah in any format of the game. The Men in Blue were badly missing the spearhead of their bowling attack while he was out due to injury.


Since making his comeback, Bumrah has displayed his newly developed skills in the Asia Cup 2023 - the in-swinging balls which make it tougher for the batters. His pace and rhythm also seemed to be in good shape.


Since 2022, Bumrah has picked up 17 ODI wickets in eight innings at an average of 16.23 and economy of 4.29 - with one five-wicket haul, and also his best figures of 6/19. In the same period, he has picked up nine wickets during the powerplay in eight innings, at an average of 16.33 and economy of just 3.97.


The way he has bowled during the Asia Cup with a proper plan to fox the batters, is a great sign for India. The Men in Blue also benefit immensely with both Bumrah and Siraj in the pace attack.



Mark Wood (7 wickets in 6 games since 2021)

Mark Wood’s wicket column looks rather calm - with just seven scalps in six games since 2021 at an average of 30.14 and strike rate of 4.58. This also includes his best bowling figure of 3/34. However, he could be the biggest asset for England’s pace attack.


The World Cup is being played at the start of the cricketing season in India, and with abundant rainfall in recent times the pitches will likely be full of grass - assisting pacers and offering extra bounce. Wood’s knack of bowling expressly fast (150+ kmph) will make him really tough to deal with on these tracks.


Before getting injured in IPL 2023, Wood had managed to pick up 11 wickets in just four innings at an average of 11.82. Even though he has missed the most part of 2023, England have rightly decided to wrap him in cotton wool to get his services in the all-important tournament.


Trent Boult opts out of the central contract with New Zealand Cricket _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©Getty Images)
Trent Boult opted out of the central contract (Source: ©ICC/Twitter)
Trent Boult (26 wickets in 8 innings since 2022)

Since making himself unavailable for the central contract, Trent Boult hasn’t played a lot of games for the New Zealand side. However, he has flown around the globe to be part of many T20 leagues.


Still, his ability to move the white ball both ways in the powerplay with decent pace is intact. Since 2022, in just eight innings, Boult has picked up 26 wickets at an average of 11.96 and economy of 4.30 - including one five wicket haul, with a best bowling figure of 5/51. 15 of those 26 wickets came during the powerplay at a magical average of 8.86 and economy of 3.50.


Even after coming into the ODI side after a gap of 12 months, in the recently concluded England series Boult managed eight scalps in two innings at an average of just 11. The left-arm bowler has also got the valuable experience of playing in the IPL since 2014 and he will look to take New Zealand one step ahead this time - from the loss in the last World Cup final


Apart from these pacers, there are many others too - Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood from Australia, South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada and more who are eager to showcase their pace and prowess.


It should, therefore, be a tough contest between the batters and bowlers and will likely produce memorable matches. World cup 2023 will begin on October 5 with an encounter between England and New Zealand, the final is slated to be held on November 19 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.


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