Best Fast Bowling Attack in ICC World Cup 2023, and The 13th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup is around the corner, and it promises to be a thrilling event, particularly for fast bowling enthusiasts. Traditionally, India has been known as a spinners‘ paradise, but recent years have witnessed a significant shift in the role of pace bowlers. In this article, we’ll explore this transformation and highlight the top five teams with the best fast-bowling units for the upcoming World Cup.
Over the past decade, the numbers tell a compelling story. From 2010 to 2018, pacers had an average of 37.4 and a strike rate of 39.2. However, since then, these figures have dropped to 33.2 and 34.7, respectively. This shift has redefined the importance of fast bowlers, making them key wicket-takers during the middle overs. As a result of this major paradigm shift, the upcoming World Cup is expected to be dominated by sides with strong pace bowling units.
1. Australia – The Fast Bowling Powerhouse
One of the strong favorites for the World Cup, Australia are probably the only team to have all their departments stacked with incredible talent. Moreover, they have one of the best and most experienced fast bowling units in the world right now. Each of their bowlers also has a lot of experience bowling in Indian conditions.
The trio of Starc-Hazlewood-Cummins is arguably the best in the world, both in terms of ability and performance. Known for delivering at the biggest stages, Starc will partner with the ever-reliable Hazlewood. The skipper Pat Cummins, with his robot-like accuracy, will take care of the middle overs along with all-rounders Stoinis and Marsh. The backup, in the form of Sean Abbott, is more than capable of breaking into the first-choice XI of any other lineup.
2. Pakistan – The Lethal Trio
Known for their rich fast bowling reserves, Pakistan has been terrific in recent ICC events. They narrowly missed out on a semifinal spot in the last World Cup. With a realistic chance of lifting the cup this time, much of Pakistan’s chances depend on how their in-form pace unit delivers.
Shaheen Afridi is one of the best new-ball bowlers in the world at the moment. He will have a huge burden on his shoulders, with many expecting him to succeed in conditions similar to his home conditions. Naseem has shown great control and consistency with the ball and forms a lethal new-ball par with Shaheen. Rauf is known for his hit-the-deck bowling with raw pace and awkward bounce. The trio is capable of bowling at high 140s on a consistent basis, getting in pin-point yorkers, and swinging the ball at will. That is a combination every team dreams of.
One of Pakistan’s star pacers, Naseem Shah, also suffered an injury during the Asia Cup game against India. It was later revealed that he had complained of a shoulder injury. Unfortunately for Pakistan, the probability of Naseem playing at the upcoming ODI World Cup 2023 is low as well. Reports are suggesting that Zaman Khan could be added to Pakistan’s squad for the ODI World Cup.
3. India – The Hosts’ Strength
India, as the host nation, relies on its rejuvenated pace of attack. With Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Mohammed Siraj in their ranks, India’s fast bowlers have the potential to dismantle any opposition. Two-time champions and hosts for the 13th edition, India will be going into the tournament with a pace attack that is capable of running through any opposition.
With Bumrah back in action after major injuries, their pace attack looks at full strength again and is arguably one of the best in the tournament. Siraj was the top-ranked ODI bowler not long back, and he and Bumrah are expected to share the new ball. Shardul, with his knack of picking crucial wickets, will likely be able to bowl at any stage required. Shami is a proven veteran, with his pace troubling most batters, while Pandya has shown glimpses of brilliance in middle overs with his bounce. The pace attack for the hosts covers all bases except for having a left-arm seamer in their ranks.
4. New Zealand – Dark Horses
Perennial dark horses New Zealand lost the final of the World Cup four years back by the barest of margins imaginable. The Kiwis would like fortune to smile on them and get third time lucky this time, after being runner-ups in the last two editions of the World Cup. And for that to happen, they need their fast bowling unit to fire in unison.
One of the best new ball pairs in the format, Boult and Southee will be seen together in the World Cup one last time. They would love to end it with the trophy in their hands. The Kiwi pace attack covers all bases, and most of the bowlers have good exposure to Indian conditions. Boult, Henry, and Southee can make the new ball talk, and Ferguson and Neesham can rattle any lineup with raw pace in the middle overs.
5. South Africa – The Pace Variety
The Proteas had a forgettable outing in the 2019 World Cup. But going into the 13th edition, they have an enviable pace bowling unit that has enough variety to make a mark in the Indian subcontinent. South Africa has rebuilt its fast bowling unit and now boasts a diverse array of pacers. This variety could be a game-changer in the Indian subcontinent.
The likes of Rabada, Nortje, Ngidi, and Jansen, who will most likely be the first-choice bowlers, have enough experience in Indian conditions. While Rabada and Ngidi can take care of the new ball, Jansen and Nortje can be lethal weapons in the middle overs.
The 13th ICC Cricket World Cup promises an exciting showcase of fast-bowling talent. The shift in the game’s dynamics has elevated the importance of pace bowlers, making them crucial to their teams’ success. As these top five teams prepare to battle it out, fans can expect thrilling contests dominated by the speed merchants of the cricket world.