One of the highlights of 2023 for cricket fans is going to be the 2023 Cricket World Cup.
The 50 over a side ODI tournament will take place in India between October and November.
England are the defending champions and are also now holders of the T20 World Cup having beaten Pakistan in the final in November at the MCG in Melbourne.
This will be the 13th edition of the Cricket World Cup which was first staged in England in 1975, where the West Indies beating Australia in the final at Lord’s.
This will be the fourth time that the tournament has been staged in India, although they have previously had to share hosting rights with Pakistan in 1987, with Pakistan and Sri Lanka nine years after that, and with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in 2011.
Australia have won the tournament more than any other nation since they have lifted the trophy four times as opposed to two for the West Indies and India. Pakistan and Sri Lanka have each won it once as well as England who are the defending champions.
They beat New Zealand in the final at Lord’s four years ago, which was decided on the number of boundaries scored after the scores were tied after a Super Over.
ODIs’ struggle for relevance
There have been concerns that ODI cricket is slowly dying with fans and players losing interest because of the greater attraction of T20 franchise cricket, which is more appealing to younger audiences and broadcasters.
Players like Ben Stokes – the hero of that England triumph at Lord’s have decided that faced with an ever growing list of cricketing commitments that something has to go – and in his case, he decided to retire from ODIs.
The ICC have already announced that World Cups will be staged in 2027 and 2031, but it remains to be seen what state the format is in by then.
The World Cup will feature ten teams. As hosts, India have qualified by right. For the remaining teams, qualification has been via the Cricket World Cup Super League tournament.
It has already been confirmed that Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan, and England have also qualified for the finals. One other side will qualify by right via this route.
Based on current standings, the West Indies are currently in pole position to claim this last slot, but at least four other teams – Sri Lanka, Ireland, South Africa, and Zimbabwe – will still believe they have a chance of overtaking them.
The World Cup Qualifier
The World Cup Qualifier which will decide the last two remaining places will feature ten teams in all.
They will comprise the bottom five teams from the World Cup Super League, with the top three ranked sides from the 2019 – 2023 World Cup League 2, and the top two teams from the World Cup qualifier play-off.
All matches in the tournament will have full ODI status even if the country involved does not have ODI status.
Pakistan’s participation in doubt
It would not be a World Cup without controversy and comments from the BCCI that they would not travel to Pakistan to play in the Asia Cup when it is staged there certainly caused one, with the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) threatening to boycott the World Cup in retaliation.
Cricket fans will be hoping a solution can be found for the wider good of the game.
Even though the tournament does not begin until October, it is not too soon to discuss potential favourites.
India, as hosts, will have home advantage and will be looking win it for a third time, although their last triumph was back in 2011 when they also staged the tournament.
The defending champions England will also believe that they have a good chance again, especially as they added the T20I World Cup to their white ball trophy collection in November.
Meanwhile, New Zealand, who were the beaten finalists four years ago, are the number one ranked ODI team in the world right now according to the ICC, and have a track record of always doing well in tournament cricket.
And Australia can never be discounted as potential winners of any tournament that they enter.
The remaining slots will be filled by teams which are due to play in a World Cup qualifier tournament, which will take place in Zimbabwe between June and July next year.
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