Ones to Watch
Virat Kohli - India
Because India have a wealth of batting talent, Kohli is not guaranteed a place in the side, with Suresh Raina his main competitor. However, the Delhi-born youngster deserves his chance after scoring 995 one-day international runs in 2010 - second only to South Africa's Hashim Amla. Kohli’s all-round strokeplay is superb but his biggest asset is that he averages 59.85 when India are batting second compared to his overall record of 46.44 in 45 ODIs. Three of the 22-year-old’s four centuries have come during run-chases - proof that he is mentally strong enough to adapt to any situation. He is also generally regarded as India’s best fielder.
Ahmed Shehzad - Pakistan
The destructive opener is another one who may find himself surplus to requirements during the tournament, although his fine century against Bangladesh in a warm-up match may force captain Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis to rethink employing Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal at the top of the order. Shehzad, 19, showed in the one-day series against Australia in 2009 that he is not afraid to attack any bowling unit and, when set, he is fearsome through the leg side.
Ajmal Shahzad - England
After shaking off a niggling hamstring injury sustained during the Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia, the pace bowler has the potential to be England’s star bowler during the competition. Although he is fairly new to international cricket, Shahzad’s skiddy approach and ability to find reverse swing will come in particularly handy on the flat and lifeless sub-continental wickets - especially if he is required during the later overs of an innings. The 25-year-old is expected to bring up the rear with the bat, although a first-class average of 29 suggests he will be no pushover, whilst his energy and wholehearted approach will come as a welcome relief on the field.
Alexei Kervezee - Netherlands
This will be the 21-year-old’s second World Cup and, although he failed to impress in either of his two innings after being thrown in at the deep end against South Africa and Australia in the 2007 competition, he will have gained valuable experience. His ability to score quick runs and an all-round batting talent have led to comparisons with former county team-mate Graeme Hick. After amassing 1,190 runs at 44.07 for Worcestershire in their 2010 LV= County Championship campaign, it is easy to understand why.
Angelo Mathews - Sri Lanka
All eyes will be on Lasith Malinga, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and, in his farewell tournament, Muttiah Muralitharan for their expertise in the 50-over game, but if Sri Lanka do pick up their second World Cup, it may well be down to the balance that Mathews gives the side. The 23-year-old is a true all-rounder given that he is adept at all three facets of the game. Although he is yet to register an ODI century, the right-hander is capable of pacing his innings if his team are in trouble, while he has shown he also has the big shots. He keeps things tight with his medium-pace bowling, whilst his athleticism in the field is also of great benefit to the co-hosts.
Imran Tahir - South Africa
The Pakistan-born leg-spinner has been hailed as South Africa’s missing link in the bowling department and, after he became eligible for the Proteas on New Year’s Day, he was immediately drafted into the one-day squad against India - although he was unused. Because he has not played any form of senior international cricket ahead of this tournament, the surprise element will be his biggest advantage. He is unafraid to attack with the ball: he boasts an economy-rate of just over 4.5 in List A cricket, and an average of 22.74 suggests he does not lose many battles.